BM dancers join ballet competition in Bangkok

BM dancers join ballet competition in Bangkok

BM co-artistic director and coach Osias Barroso (second from left) heads the delegation to the ATOD Ballet Competition in Bangkok. The group is composed of (from left) Alvin Dictado, Brian Sevilla, Shaira Comeros and Elyssabeth Apilado. Photo courtesy of Osias Barroso

Four dancers representing The Lisa Macuja School of Ballet Manila are competing in the Australian Teachers of Dance (ATOD) Ballet Competition in Bangkok, Thailand from February 9 to 11.

Elyssabeth Apilado, Shaira Comeros, Alvin Dictado and Brian Sevilla make up the delegation which is headed by BM co-artistic director and coach Osias Barroso.

“We have brought these dancers to this competition to expose the Vaganova training in Ballet Manila,” says Barroso.

The BM dancers will compete in ATOD’s classical ballet category, interpreting their respective numbers – Apilado and Dictado, the Harlequinade pas de deux; Comeros and Sevilla, the Satanilla pas de deux.

The delegation in front of the AKSRA Theater where the competition is being held. Photo courtesy of Osias Barroso

Barroso believes the dancers’ training, sustained by daily classes, and their experiences in both performing and competing have prepared them well for this ballet event.

In 2017, the four were among the BM competitors at the Asian Grand Prix (AGP) in Hong Kong who made it to the finals. Sevilla eventually scored the silver in the Junior B Category. He also won the bronze in the Junior Category of the CCP Ballet Competition in 2016.

Barroso noted that in the 2016 AGP, Comeros was given the Most Promising Female Award while Dictado placed sixth in the Junior B Category.

Though the lead time for the ATOD competition was quite limited, the dancers believe they are ready. “We were only given a month of preparation so it's very important for us to focus. I took every class seriously as well as the rehearsals. I listened and applied the corrections given by Sir Shaz,” notes Comeros.

For his part, Sevilla says it’s natural for any competitor to get nervous, underscoring the need to be physically and mentally prepared. Having done well in previous competitions, he acknowledges feeling the pressure to do even better.

Sevilla shares, “Pero lagi ko pong sinasabi sa sarili ko na kahit ano man ang mangyari, kailangang maging grateful pa rin ako. Kahit hindi man po ako manalo, okey na, basta alam ko po sa sarili ko na ginawa ko ang best ko (But I always tell myself that whatever happens, I will still be grateful. Even if I don’t win, it’s okay, as long as I know that I did my best).”

The four dancers try out some Thai moves before the competition begins on February 9. Photo courtesy of Alvin Dictado

For Brian, learning is the best takeaway from any competition. “Para po sa akin, bonus na lang po kapag nanalo ako. Ang mahalaga po kasi ay ang experience at kung papaano ka natuto sa experience na iyon (For me, winning is just a bonus. What’s important is the experience and how you learn from that experience),” he says.

The four dancers are all products of Ballet Manila’s Project Ballet Futures scholarship program which prepares young talents for a career in dance. Currently, Comeros and Dictado are BM 2 members while Apilado and Sevilla are BM trainees.

BM artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde originally learned the Vaganova method from her Russian mentors at the Leningrad Choreographic Institute where she studied from 1982 to 1984.

Upon establishing BM in 1995, Macuja-Elizalde and Barroso espoused the Vaganova as the training method for its dancers. The Vaganova is also used in The Lisa Macuja School of Ballet Manila which conducts year-round classes as well as summer workshops.

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