by ROWENA PAPASIN, ABS-CBN NEWS, VANCOUVER
VANCOUVER, B.C. — Several dancers from Lisa Macuja’s Ballet Manila were invited as guest artists in this year’s upcoming performance of the holiday classic, “The Nutcracker.”
Goh Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” has been running for eight seasons now, but this is the first year that three ballet dancers from manila were invited to perform.
Director Chan Hon-Goh, former principal dancer of the National Ballet of Canada, says that when she is casting for the classic Christmas production show, she always tries to bring top talent to Vancouver.
She has seen some of the Philippines’ top dancers in festivals and circuits, including those from Ballet Manila.
“I got in touch with the director, and Lisa was so supportive and really wish to expand the reputation of Ballet Manila, and also the artistic growth of her dancers,” Hon-Goh said. “So we found very much a common artistic vision, so she sent three of her dancers to us.”
Performing the Pas de Deux, the roles of “Snow King” and “Snow Queen” are Rudy De Dios, a graduate of the Philippine High School for the Arts, and 19-year old American Katherine Barkman, who is the youngest principal dancer for Ballet Manila.
Soloist Mark Sumaylo, who hails from Cagayan de Oro, will be the “Nutcracker Prince.”
All three dancers are no strangers to performing in different countries, yet are very excited to be in Vancouver.
“Unang una, first time po namin and then ang dami po kaming naririnig na maganda dun sa Canada, so sobrang masaya po kami na nabigyan po kami ng pagkakataong makasayaw dito sa Vancouver,” said De Dios.
“Magical yung dating kasi nga sa nutcracker, may version kaming nakikita yung snow, pero hindi siya real snow. Dito sa canada, talagang totoong snow tapos ang babait pa ng mga tao,” said Sumaylo. “Tapos ang production ng nutcracker ng goh ballet, sobrang magical din.”
The three were handpicked by Macuja — including Barkman, who was already dancing lead roles in manila.
Barkman says she chose Ballet Manila when she left the US a year ago, because of its faithfulness to the Russian classical ballet.
“Ballet manila has very strong root in Russian classical ballet, which is something very close to my heart,” she shared. “In choosing ballet manila, I’ve really been given a lot of opportunity and experience as a young dancer.”
For his part, De Dios says he is happy whenever they dance abroad, because it is a chance to show their audience that the Filipino dancer is world-class.