Interest in ballet competitions have amplified in the last twenty years in a global scale. The global trend, the strong influential nudge from social media and perhaps Candice Adea's sparkling win in the 2010 UIBC have inspired our Filipino dancers to become brave enough to go beyond their comfort zone and into the artistic combat arena. Nowadays children as young as 7 years old are being prepped to compete internationally. Despite the boost, Philippine representation in international ballet competitions is still considered a small number. I can count with my two hands the number of people who have joined the four notable career changing competitions in the world (which in my opinion are: Prix de Laussane, USA International Ballet Competition, Varna International Ballet Competition and Moscow Ballet Competition) in the last decade. 2018 is a game changer.
Recently, Lisa Macuja and Ballet Manila spearheaded a fundraising event for all the dancers competing internationally this 2018. Presented to the audience was a legion of dancers that suddenly blurred territories and affiliations turning them all into one brave TEAM PHILIPPINES. It was quite lovely to feel the synergy of support from the audience. I would say that the event was a true mark of "bayanihan". Giving audiences the chance to support "The Filipino Artist" as one body is such a gift to the community. Not only does it paint a beautiful picture of unity, it also shows that the potential of our dancers is something to be proud of. If the performances were any indication of their showing in their respective competitions, I would say at a minimum our dancers will leave a mark for their exemplary artistry.
At this time, the first group of Pinoy competitors have started their USA International Ballet Competition journey in Jackson, Missisipi. Often times it's called the Olympics of ballet because of the level of difficulty in the process of elimination. To survive the application round is ready an achievement.Round one of competition is a display of classical technique. If you survive that round, you will get to perform your prepared contemporary number. After that is a third round where you will be asked to perform 1 classical number and 1 contemporary number. Competition at this level is brutal. With this in mind, TEAM PHILIPPINES is really up for combat. In historic fashion, the three major ballet companies in the Philippines will be ably represented by their artists. Ballet Manila will be sending Nicole Barosso and Yulian Rey to compete in the Junior Category. They are the first Filipino pair to ever qualify and compete in the Juniors division.They will be 2 out of 153 contestants.
The senior category has 65 competitors. Ballet Manila's resident guest artist Katherine Barkman will be competing in the senior category with non-competing partner Joseph Philips. Rising star Veronica Atienza who will be representing Philippine Ballet Theatre. Denise Parungao Jr. Principal Dancer partnered by non-competing partner Garry Corpuz will be performing for Ballet Philippines. Filipino dancers Eunice Suba from New Jersey Ballet and Derek Drillon are also contenders in the Seniors Category. The phrases "more chances of winning" and "strength in numbers" provides hope that a handful will come home victorious. Get to know our TEAM PHILIPPINES for UIBC
Nicole Barosso and Yulian Rey have been partnered together for quite some time. Both are no strangers to competition. Barosso placed 1st in the CCP National Ballet Competition in the Juniors Divion in 2016. She also got 2 silver medals from Asian Grand Prix in 2015 and 2016 . Yulian Rey placed 5th in the Asian Grand Prix 2017. At the Philippine Dance Cup he was 2nd Place in the 2012 Junior Division Solo Category and 6th Place in the 2014 Senior Division Solo Category. This promising pair is slithers with elan and appropriately playful in the spotlight.
Katherine Barkman is obviously not a Filipino but she's lived in Manila for three years and have quite frankly captured the hearts of many. Just like in basketball, let's call her the "import" or "kabayan". She's a polished performer who practically glistens in bravura choreography. Sure-footed, she is able to play with her artistry and enjoy her moments on stage. She won the Gold At the 2015 Asian Grand Prix. This is her second time to join UIBC.
Denise Parungao is Manila's adagio princess. Her silken elasticity is what sets her apart from others. She often excites audiences with controlled extended balances and generous extensions. She previously won the Luda Adameit Award in the 2011 Junior NAMCYA competition and won first prize in the 2014 CCP National Ballet Competition.
Veronica Atienza is an unstoppable force of nature. From ambuiguity she introduced herself to the dance industry with a glorious performqnce in the Junior World Ballet Competition by placing 4th. She has since then consistently pleased audiences with her fusion of glorious femininity and youthful athleticism. Her endless lines or multiple pirouettes are always delivered effortlessly.
Derek Drilon is not based in Manila but has performed in the Philippines a couple of times. I have not seen him live but from what I've seen he can very well be our very own Pinoy Roberto Bolle. He has a princely aura and a natural charm. His classical lines are impressive. He won the Gold in the Youth American Grand Prix San Francisco Qualifier and placed 6th in the overall final competition.
|Sourced from Drilon's Facebook|
Eunica Suba lives in New Jersey and has been competing since she was a child. She was even featured briefly in the famous tv series "Dance Moms". Her latest achievement is winning gold at the Valentina Kozlova International Competition . Her style is minimalist but she is strong, crisp and moves with oriental mysterious flare.
|Courtesy of Eunice Suba|
With the birth of Team Philippines, I hope that the dance community will display once again the act of bayanihan. With blurred lines and territories, I hope everyone says a little prayer and sends an unlimited supply of light and love to all our competitors as they start their journey. At the end of the day aren't we all proud of them ready?
To TEAM PHILIPPINES. May you receive the blessing of a charmed experience. May you take home what you need to soar to greater heights.