Paying tribute to Dad

Paying tribute to Dad

With the celebration of Father’s Day today, seven Ballet Manila artists take a breather from their classes and rehearsals to talk about that one man who has played such a huge part in their lives. They share their memories with him and the lessons he has imparted to them in these personal tributes brimming with love, respect and gratitude.

Principal dancer Mark Sumaylo on “Noynaks” Antonio Sumaylo

Mark Sumaylo takes his father, Antonio, to a basketball game which is a shared interest of theirs. The two would play basketball as Mark was growing up.

I call my father Papa, or sometimes “Noynaks.” His nickname is Nonoy which became “Noynaks,” a cool way that his friends call him. Later on, I would also call him that as a joke. Hahaha.

He is a very hardworking man. Strict but he is loving and caring. He just wants the best for me. He supports me in all that I do as long as I have respect for others and do things with dignity and value.

Mark is an only child who welcomes his parents Antonio and Sulieta’s every visit to him in Manila from their hometown of Cagayan de Oro.

Being an only child, it was fun; but there were times that I felt quite lonely because every time I would see my neighbors playing with their siblings, I’d get jealous. But my parents, especially my father, always made time for me and would even bring me out even if it’s just as simple as riding in his pedicab or playing basketball.

My father supported me in ballet. He was very proud telling his friends that I dance. They assumed it was hiphop, which he was really good at, but to their surprise, it was ballet. I always remember him dancing at home all the time to Michael Jackson’s music. He didn’t actually talk to me about ballet but he was always in the audience when I performed.

He has taught me many lessons. One is to go for what you believe in and commit to it and always do it with love and respect. Another is not to take people for granted and appreciate what you have.

Soloist Nicole Barroso on “Papa” Omar Barroso

From the time that Nicole Barroso started in ballet at the age of five, her Papa Omar has always been by her side to support her and cheer her on.

Siya ‘yung cool lang na dad, loving and supportive and maingay! Haha. He's always game sa lahat ng bagay. He always encourages me, kuya and ate to just keep on striving for better things in life.

If ballet is Nicole’s passion, Omar Barroso’s is basketball and his daughter has supported him in this interest through the years as seen in these photos.

Even though hindi kami nakatira sa isang bahay, he finds time and nag-e-effort siya para sa mga outdoor bonding namin, mga dates namin together. And nu’ng time na malayo po kami sa studio nila Mama nakatira, siya ‘yung nagpupursigi sa akin to attend my ballet classes. So sinusundo niya po ako palagi then travel kami almost two hours para makapag-ballet class ako.

The most important lesson I learned from my Papa is to not give up. I've seen his ups and downs, mga panahon na struggle talaga, and hindi siya sumusuko. Tuloy ang laban. Kung ako po ballet talaga ‘yung passion ko, siya naman never siya nag-give up sa pagko-coach niya sa basketball. After all ng trials and errors niya, now he's part of this team called Filipino Basketball Academy.

I am so proud to have a father like him. He is a strong person, na laging andiyan for me lalo na sa mga down moments ko, And sinasabi ko rin sa kanya na forever din ako nasa tabi niya no matter what life throws at us! Happy Father's Day, Papa!

To never give up is the most important lesson Nicole learned from her father.

(He is a cool dad, loving and supportive and noisy! Haha. He’s always game in all things. He always encourages me and my siblings to just keep on striving for better things in life.

Even though we don’t live in the same house, he finds time and makes the effort so we can have our outdoor bonding, our dates together. When we lived far from the studio with Mama, he was the one who was insistent that I continue attending my ballet classes. He would always pick me up then we would travel for almost two hours just so I could attend my ballet class.

The most important lesson I learned from my Papa is to not give up. I’ve seen his ups and downs, the time when he really struggled, and he didn’t give up. The fight continues. If ballet is really my passion, his is basketball coaching which he never gave up. After all his trials and errors, now he’s part of this team called Filipino Basketball Academy.

I am so proud to have a father like him. He is a strong person who’s always there for me especially in my down moments. And I also tell him that I am also just by his side forever no matter what life throws at us. Happy Father's Day, Papa!)

Company artist Alvin Dictado on “Erpat” Gabriel Dictado

Having a sense of humor is a trait that Alvin Dictado got from his father Gabriel whom he says likes to joke around.

Masaya po siyang kasama. Nandiyan po siya lagi sa aming pamilya.

Ang lagi niyang sinasabi, kailangan palaging masaya kapag may problema. Dapat ‘wag damdamin kasi po mas lalong sasama ang problema kung palagi kang problemado.

Alvin says his father is happy that he and brother Anselmo are into ballet.

Palabiro siya. Minsan po kasi pag nanood siya ng ballet, sasabihin niya sa akin nagkamali ako, (pero) ang galing ko daw, ang taas ko tumalon. Haha. Okay naman po sa kanya na dalawa kaming magkapatid na nag-ballet. Masaya naman po siya sa pagsasayaw namin. Wala naman pong problema. At saka siya po ang nag-push sa akin para sumayaw. Kasi po nu’ng una nahihiya po ako.

Nagpapasalamat po ako sa Tatay ko kasi nandiyan siya lagi. Hindi niya kami iniiwan. Thank you, ‘Tay, sa pag-alaga sa amin at pagtitiyaga sa amin.

(He is fun to be with. He is always there for our family.

He always tells us, we always have to be happy even if we have problems. We shouldn’t sulk because we will feel even worse if we dwell on our worries.

He likes to joke around. Sometimes, he will watch ballet and if I make a mistake, he will say that I’m so good I was able to jump high. Haha. He’s okay that two of us siblings are into ballet. He is happy with our dancing. There’s no problem about it. And he was the one who pushed me to dance. Because at first, I was so shy.

I’m thankful to my father because he’s always there. He doesn’t leave us on our own. Thank you, Dad, for caring for us and for being patient with us.)

Company artist Sayaka Ishibashi, on “Otousan” Masamichi Ishibashi

Sayaka Ishibashi as a toddler with her “Otousan” Masamichi

Growing up, Sayaka remembers her father always telling her to try her best in everything she does.

I call him Otousan (that means “Dad” in Japanese; this is the typical way to call your father in Japan). He is quite shy and quiet, doesn’t talk a lot but so thoughtful, kind and caring.

It is very hard to pick only one lesson that I have learned from him. He has taught me so many things by showing me, telling me, just being himself. But what I remember very well is that he’s always telling me, “Always try your best in things with your powerful will, then it will come true one day if you keep trying; never give up.”

But also he always says to me, “Be kind to yourself, watch your health well. Value your feelings and body.” He always cares about my health condition. He’s very caring. I hope he cares about his own health as much as he cares about my health.

He always supports me 100% and roots for me as a dancer. He’s not a very big fan of performing arts like ballet but he always came to watch my performances when I was in Japan and roots for me from his heart. I really can’t thank my parents enough for everything that they do for me.

One of Sayaka’s happiest moments was when her parents Masamichi and Nahoko came to Manila last October to watch her in Le Corsaire and to celebrate her birthday.

I was so glad that my parents and grandparents got to see me perform in Manila last March! I felt relaxed in the shows having them in the audience. It was such a wonderful feeling for me to have gotten to show them what I do and work on every day in my life and the best part is they really liked and enjoyed the performances!

My favorite part of having my dad watching me perform since I was little is that he always gives me his very honest feedback and opinion about my dancing afterwards! Haha.

Trainee Loraine Gaile Jarlega on “Daddy” Anthony Jarlega

Gaile Jarlega, seen here at age 11, is definitely Daddy’s girl.

He’s the most loving, caring and very supportive dad we know. He drives me to my ballet class even though it’s a one and a half to two-hour drive from Silang, Cavite to Pasay City (where the Ballet Manila studio is) from Tuesday to Saturday. Even with my brothers, he’s always there for them ready to listen to their needs.

Gaile, now 13, says she is grateful that her father Anthony and mother Arline are supportive of her being in ballet.

He puts his family first and I know he loves us without condition. He works hard and tries his best to provide us with everything we need. I’ve learned from my dad to always do our best in what we love to do; that it’s fine to make mistakes as long as we learn from them.

He says the best gifts he could give us are not material things but the memories we share as a family which he hopes we’ll continue to do when we have families of our own. Though sometimes my schedule does not meet with my brothers’, we still try to go out as a family on weekends and I’m always excited and look forward to it.

Sometimes my dad would also say, just enjoy your life while you’re still young, live your life to the fullest, you don’t need to worry about anything. Your mom and I are always here to support you because we will always love you.

Company artist Emma Harris on “Dad” David Harris

David Harris was there when daughter Emma took her first ballet steps.

Emma says that while her Dad misses her, he has let her go wherever ballet takes her even if it’s far from their home in the US.

My Dad has always been relaxed but he has taught me discipline. He has taught me to always count my blessings and not to take things for granted. He has taught me the importance of family. He has always believed in me and has always been there for me. He is and always will be an inspiration for me to keep pursuing the things I love.

It always cracks Emma up when her father tries to copy a ballet pose and shows it to her. Here he is mimicking Russian prima ballerina Altynai Asylmuratova.

He is very supportive of me doing ballet, but I know that he really misses me! When I started my serious ballet training in San Francisco, my dad (and mom) would drive me every day for two hours (sometimes more, depending on traffic) to my school for my ballet lessons.

I have been living away from home (in the US) for a little over four years now, but he has always been supportive and lets me go wherever ballet takes me.

My Dad likes to imitate ballet and show me. He is not a dancer at all and really doesn’t have any natural dancing abilities (sorry, Dad!), but he never ceases to make me laugh when he does this! Dancers are very much in their heads all the time, but moments with him like that remind me not to take myself too seriously and to always remember why I enjoy dancing – because I love it, like how he loves to make me laugh!

Guest principal dancer Rudy De Dios on “Papa” Django De Dios

Django takes son Rudy to the zoo.

A young Rudy De Dios gets a ride on his father’s motorcycle. Rudy has always thought of his father Albano as “badass”, having a nickname like Django.

My father’s name is Albano Visto de Dios aka Django. When I was a kid, I really had no idea why his kumpares of bus drivers and the people he worked with at our barangay as a tanod (watchman) and even my mother called him by that nickname. All I know is that it sounded like a “badass” character as I grew up. When I watched the film by Quentin Tarantino, Django, I realized that that nickname really suits him well. From his high-waist black pants, paired with black polo and boots to his very cool big motorcycle (that I have tried riding just once) and his black “cowboy hat” that completes the badass look.

As a toddler, Rudy enjoyed many bonding moments with his Papa who would take him on many outings.

My father really likes physical activities. I remember having in our house some small gym equipment or strength-training equipment. He often encouraged us to join him go jogging and riding the bicycle early in the morning. I could say that at a very young age, he already taught us that being physically fit is very important. He also loves sports, especially boxing. My father had this two sets of boxing gloves. The first pair he put on to my fists, and the other pair of gloves on my playmate and like a referee in a fight, he then told us: “Go on, you two, sparring!” But I refused and let my guard down saying to my father, I don’t want to be a boxer, I want to be become a ballet dancer. Just kidding, I didn’t know yet about ballet that time. Does that sound like Billy Elliot? But it’s true about the sparring. It didn’t go on because I didn’t want to hurt my friend. Not that I chickened out.

As I grew up and became a professional ballet dancer, I thought it was really an opposite thing from his “brusko” image that I would engage in an art that some think of as feminine. That’s why I never really asked or invited my father, my Papa as I call him, to watch me in my shows. Except for that one show in Star Theater. And that was Carmen. I was thinking he might like it because it’s more of a short story ballet where my character, Don Jose, kills the woman he loves in the end.

Rudy knows this of his father: “He didn’t judge us, his children, for who we are and what we have become.”

Anyway, the most important lesson I learned from my Papa is that all my life from my entire childhood up to the time when my Mama was still alive, I never saw him lay a hand on my mom. When my Mama and Papa quarreled, it was my Papa who would just leave for a while or keep silent.

I’ll give my all to be like him. Except for that “cowboy” outfit. Haha. I really love and respect my Papa for being a good father to us. He didn’t judge us, his children, for who we are and what we have become. And I believe he will not worry about us because he knows he raised us well and loves us very much.

Ballet Dictionary: Écarté Derrière

Ballet Dictionary: Écarté Derrière

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