Ballet Manila dancers join Russian festival

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Four Ballet Manila (BM) dancers will join the Dance Open International Ballet Festival, April 16-25, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

BM junior company members Nicole Barroso, Marinette Franco, Alvin Dictado and Joshua Enciso join the prestigious festival, which highlights the Russian Vaganova method.

Barroso is 14 and the youngest in the group. She’s a silver medalist (Junior B category) of the 2015 Asian Grand Prix in Hong Kong, where Franco, 16, was also a finalist.

“Having trained exclusively in the Ballet Manila School, they both exude the style and technique of the Vaganova-trained dancer,” said BM artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, also BM school director. “However, as individual artists, they are complete opposites when it comes to strengths. Whereas Marinette is tall and long with beautiful lines and extensions that go up and away, Nicole is a compact soubrette who is fast, charming and a turner.”

BM co-artistic director Osias Barroso chose the male dancers and said both Dictado and Enciso had “marvelous stage presence.”

Enciso, 16, was an Asian Grand Prix finalist and was described to have “a wonderful ballon.”

Dictado, 15, according to Barroso, “is light on his feet.”

“Although they are young, these boys have a good working attitude and they deliver onstage,” said Osias Barroso, former BM principal dancer.

“I am confident that they will treasure this experience and strive harder to improve on whatever physical limitations they may possess.”

Dance Open is now on its 15th year.

Gracing the festival are ballet stars Tyler Angle (New York City Ballet); Alicia Amatriain (Stuttgart Ballet); Elena Algado (Ballet Nacional de España); Silvia Azzoni (Hamburg Ballet); Yonah Acosta (English National Ballet). Participating companies include Bolshoi Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Vienna State Ballet.

Feature of Dance Open is Master Class program for young dancers, which gathers students from around the world for a week of rigorous training in the Russian ballet school tradition.

“Our BM kids will gain invaluable experience training under legendary ballet professors such as Gennady Selyutsky and Elvira Tarasova, who are both esteemed National Artists of Russia,” said Elizalde.

She said two of the coaches - Igor Petrov of the Mariinsky Theater and Veronika Ivanova of the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet - were her contemporaries when she was studying and dancing in St. Petersburg.

On April 24, BM delegates will join others in performing at the “Young Stars Gala” at the historic Hermitage Theater, the very same stage where ballet icons like Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky took flight over a century ago.