Scholasticans bag gold in the 2017 ABAP Ballet Competition
Six ballerinas from the St. Scholastica’s College Integrated Dance Program (SIDP) won first place (gold) in the Open Ballet Contemporary, Group Category at the 2017 Association of Ballet Academies, Philippines (ABAP), Ballet Competition on 19-20 August 2017, held at Maybank Performing Arts Theater, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. They are the following ballerinas:
- Renemicaela Kristin C. Nuguid (Caela); 7 years old; Grade 3 — St. Ethelburga
- Reese Gabrielle Y. Alvia (Reese); 11 years old; Grade 5 — St. Boniface
- Anielka Ysabel D. Gamboa (Nika); 11 years old; Grade 6 — St. Odillo
- Mikhaila Paulene V. Alcala (Khaila); 12 years old; Grade 7 — Labora
- Chareina P. Matel (Reina); 14 years old; Grade 9 — Assertiveness
- Shannyne Blythe V. Lualhati (Shannyne); 14 years old; Grade 9 — Community
David conquered Goliath
These girls entered in the “open” division as underdogs and literally the “unknowns” where they competed against 10 other groups of senior and competition-veteran dancers. This is their first ever ballet competition. They literally looked like “David” with their size and youth, battling against Goliath-like dancers who were bigger and much more experienced and confident. But David conquered Goliath! The girls, like David, no matter how small, knew that if they did their best and trusted in God, and believed in themselves, they would be able to beat the seemingly insurmountable odds. They danced gracefully, full of passion, and literally owned the stage with their pinpoint accuracy of execution, winning the hearts of the crowd the moment their bodies moved with the music. And of course, they won the hearts of the judges, too, with scores of 8.5, 10.0 and 9.5 from the three judges, winning by an overwhelming margin! They were the only group that received a perfect score from any judge.
The winning piece, “Ader” by Grace Nono, depicts the courtship tradition of the indigenous Maguindanaons. With their bare feet and minimalist costume, every movement and facial expression caught the audience’s and judges’ attention, while their parents and teachers held their breath as they marvel in that moment of pure art and near perfection. It was also quite gratifying to hear and see the appreciation from parents and families and friends of other competitors. Indeed, a performance for everyone to enjoy and appreciate, no matter who you are rooting for! Credits to the main choreographer, Anton Alvia, the son of SIDP Director Abigail Alvia, and to the contributing coaches/choreographers such as Dingdong Selga and Eva Hayden.
To say that all their hard work and sacrifice paid off is an understatement. The girls had to invest countless number of hours of training (including cross-training in gymnastics), conditioning and rehearsals, not to mention performances in between, to amply prepare themselves for the competitions. They had to sacrifice their weekends and holidays, and after school on weekdays for training, and still find time to attend to their school tasks and homework.
Motivation and Parental Support
As the girls get into the grind of training and rehearsals for long hours, exhaustions and not being able to spend their supposedly free time on things they would rather do, like play gadgets, mall, movies etc., they could easily lose their focus and motivation to contribute with the training program. That is where the parents come in. The parents made sure the kids were in good health while going through the grind. They cooked and brought sumptuous lunch on weekends and light snacks on weekdays. And for nutrition and sufficient hydration, they were provided with free-flowing supply of homemade ”magic juice” specially made for ballerinas. The ingredients and preparation of the “magic juice” and are well kept secret within SIDP. Aside from keeping the tummy happy, parents also stayed (in most cases) with the girls during training and rehearsals, even dancing and singing their competition pieces for some laughs and giggles to provide for a light atmosphere during the grind.
It was gratifying to know that these girls showed some character and amazing display of camaraderie and oneness when they told each other in their own huddle during the competitions that, “it doesn’t matter if we don’t win any award in the solo categories. As long as we win the group category everybody wins.” Thus, winning in the solo categories was more of consolation. The group mattered most to them.
Nika participated in the Junior 4 division of Ballet Contemporary Solo where she competed against ballerinas 2 years her senior (mostly 13 years olds). She won bronze medal for finishing 6th place out of 19 competitors. She also entered in the Junior 3A division of Ballet Classical Solo and finished 12th out of 43 participants. Reese won bronze medal for finishing 6th place in a field of 35 participants in the Junior 3 division of Ballet Contemporary Solo.
Caela ranked 7th out of 25 competitors in the Junior 1B division of Ballet Classical Solo while Shannye and Reina finished in the middle of the pack of 19 competitors in the Junior 5 division of Ballet Contemporary Solo.
Meanwhile, Alyssa Estoria, a senior high school student at the Lyceum of the Philippines, who also represented SIDP in the competition, won medal for finishing 5th place in the Senior division of Ballet Contemporary Solo.