As someone who has the grace of a bull in a china shop, I’ve always admired dancers. Whenever I watch the ballet or other performances, I am always entranced at how they move their bodies, moving with such fluidity that they resemble a gentle stream. I wish I could move as elegantly as Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, but I have accepted my role as voyeur in the universe of dance.
And it is a wide universe. In the Philippines, we are gifted with incredibly good dancers, covering styles as varied as ballet, hip-hop, pole, and contemporary. Many of our dancers are recognized abroad, like Macuja-Elizalde, the first foreign soloist in the esteemed Kirov Ballet in Russia, and the Jabbawockeez, the dance group that won the first season of America’s Best Dance Crew. Five of its members are Filipino.
Of course, there are many more accomplished dancers who chose to bless Filipinos with their talents. And for International Dance Day on April 29, Macuja-Elizalde and Ballet Manila gathered the country’s best to share their struggles, their triumphs, and the reasons why they keep on pushing forward.
The collaboration video features “Mr. Pure Energy” Gary Valenciano and his son Gab Valenciano, The Maneuvers’ Jason and Joshua Zamora, pole dance advocate Ciara Sotto, and celebrity choreographer Nesh Janiola. Together, these legends have come together to celebrate the art of movement and share the passion.
I find the video beautiful because even if I have three left feet, the virtues of enthusiasm, dedication, and going all in is applicable to anyone pursuing their passion. And for me, that’s writing. Sometimes doubt creeps in at the darkest of nights, but the next time that happens, I’ll remember Valenciano’s words, “Unless you are absolutely sure that dancing is not for you, unless you are absolutely certain that there’s another calling for you, don’t give up. Just keep on.”
This initiative is spearheaded by Ballet Manila, which has been an active proponent of the International Dance Day. It is the country’s premiere classical dance company and also runs The Lisa Macuja School of Ballet Manila where the next generation of Filipina ballerinas are trained.