Ballet Manila’s Joshua Enciso takes top senior male prize in CCP competition
By Susan A. De Guzman
Photos by Giselle P. Kasilag
Ballet Manila company artist Joshua Enciso won first prize in the senior male category of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Ballet Competition 2018 Saturday night, duplicating the feat of BM 2 member Godwin Merano in 2016.
Enciso, 18, gave such a powerful performance of the Acteon variation from Diana et Acteon for his classical piece that there was already audience buzz immediately after his number that he was likely to win.
“There was no hesitation. He nailed every move and hit every note,” observed Ballet Manila co-artistic director and ballet mentor Osias Barroso.
Displaying confidence and maturity, Enciso followed up with another strong performance for his contemporary piece. His interpretation of Kitikiti, by BM principal dancer and resident choreographer Gerardo Francisco, was a fascinating display of movement.
Barroso said Enciso’s self-assurance onstage was likely the result of his experience at the USA International Ballet Competition in June where he and then BM company artist (now soloist) Nicole Barroso pitted talents with the world’s best.
It was the first time that Filipino dancers had been selected by USA IBC organizers to participate in the junior division of the competition held in Jackson, Mississippi.
For his contemporary piece, Joshua interprets Gerardo Francisco’s Kitikiti, a study on movement.
Enciso has also competed several times at the Asian Grand Prix in Hong Kong, landing in fifth place in the senior category in 2017.
Backstage at the CCP’s Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino shortly after the awarding ceremony last Saturday, a dazed Enciso could only say of his victory: “Hindi pa nag-si-sink in.” (It hasn’t sunk in yet.)
Enciso’s first-place finish in the seniors comes on the heels of Ballet Manila’s sweep of the junior male titles last Thursday, with BM 2 members Brian Sevilla, Rafael Perez and Alvin Dictado taking first, second and third prize, respectively.
Ballet Manila was also represented in the seniors by Pia Carmina Romo, Angelika Joie Tagupa and Jefferson Balute.
In the audience, Barroso was moved to tears after the classical performances of Enciso and Balute. He praised Balute, saying the dancer had made an impressive improvement in the months leading up to the competition.
Also named winners in the CCP Ballet Competition’s senior category were: for the females, Jhoy Anne Maverick Chavez (first); Akira Lydia Abao (second); and Ma. Alexa Andrea Torte (third) and, for the males, Marveen Ely Lozano (second) and Luigie Barrera (third).
The winners received certificates and prizes in cash and in kind. All competitors were given certificates of participation.
The competition’s jury was composed of: Qi Huan, ballet tutor at the New Zealand School of Dance; Myra Beltran, independent Philippine contemporary dance pioneer; Mia Monica Mañosa, formerly with the Atlanta Ballet; Melanie Motus, former principal dancer of Philippine Ballet Theater and former soloist of Ballet Manila; and Raul Leopoldo Sauz, formerly with Dance Concert Company and Dance Theatre Philippines.
The CCP Ballet Competition, first staged in November 2014 and held every two years, showcases the country’s best dance talents in junior and senior categories.
In 2016, Ballet Manila romped off with the first prize in both juniors and seniors, won by Nicole Barroso and Godwin Merano, respectively. At the time, competitors were only divided into age groups.
This year, the competition opened categories for male and female dancers in the two age groups.
In 2014, Ballet Manila’s Rissa May Camaclang won the third prize in the juniors.