Meet our hiphop teachers: Jiro and Jom

Our hiphop teachers sample their wares in theStudio, at our hiphop workshop last summer 2O17. Remarkable how the beautiful sisters Jiro and Jom, often mistaken as twins and sometimes even as one and the same person, move easily together but still with distinct individual styles. Watch the video!

Thank you teacher Jom and teacher Jiro. Until next summer! Or maybe even sooner!

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Review: Opera. A Rebirth in Arabesque

Ballet Philippines does Barredo’s Opera | From @thejacquis’ POV

I was initially thinking of writing this ‘From a dancer’s point of view’, but changed my mind almost immediately as all my dancer friends and nonfriends who watched the final show of BP’s Opera last night came to mind. I seldom share, and more so I never want to impose.

 

I like the dancing

During intermission, the gruff old man seated next to me who had been asleep for most of Act 1 turned to me and asked “How do you find it so far?” “It’s a lot to take in,” I replied. “But I like the dancing. We’re dancers, see (pointing to me and Erica, who was so kind as to share her media pass with me)? So we’re looking at the dancing, too.”

I confess along the way that I’m not a fan of contemporary dance, but am not able to explain it. I’ve always had an aversion to contemporary dance in general and now I realise why. Contemporary dance has always appeared to me an antithesis of hard-earned dance technique, or a filter of sorts where one who is not able to dance well hides behind. I’ve watched local shows with choreographic vocabulary looking like moves straight out of the latest episode of The Walking Dead – aimless free walking, dragging feet, hanging head, a quick spin and drop to the floor like if you wacked a zombie in the face. I’ve been to shows that offer just vocabulary, as in just talking, maybe a bit of hand flicks and shoulder ticks here and there. Sometimes, or more often than I would want to, I find myself asking, where’s the dancing? I hear of horror stories of a nondancer who puts together well-attended shows and gets away with not being a dancer by writing a sound synopsis, hiring the best lights and tech people, renting a harness, and waving a scarf around for most of the performance. Nevermind the dancing because in its entirety it is still considered dance, because it is contemporary dance. There’s a witty concept, an outpouring of emotion, objects held (or ignored) in the dancing space, sound/s, a cool video playing in the background.

Yes the multimedia nature of this collab production between Ballet Philippines and contemporary art powerhouse Silverlens was inescapable. The two video screens placed on each far side of the stage, something new and perhaps aiming for revolutionary, made me wonder though how one was supposed to take that in as well, on top of the a-show-in-itself art installation set and the a-show-in-itself dance.

Wall eye vision challenge aside, the dancing was just good. As it should be. As expected from the top ballet company in the country. And Redha’s choreography was choreography – Death’s spotlight solo at the very beginning, the breaking away in groups, the repetition of enchainments in clever doses, the purposeful action-reaction of the pas de deuxs and sometimes pas de trois, the demand of the steps for whatever level of attack or restraint was called for. Even the standing around and posing as if modeling lingerie did not bother but somehow amused me, and the subtle walking around was far from aimless and was evidently necessary.

And amidst the plethora of mannequin torsos, mannequin legs, oversized heads, steel scaffolding, giant eyeball drop lamps, despite the consuming tendencies of contemporary art as so generously lent by artist Gabriel Barredo to this production, the dancing was not incidental. It was front and center.

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Photo credit: Erica Marquez Jacinto #artaturningpoint

 

Addendum: Please do touch the artwork

I use front and center figuratively, as literally the dancers and the dancing happened not just in front of the installation but behind, above, below, inside and weaving through it. Dancers emerged from ribcages, crawled whilst encased in a cocoon placenta, descended from multi-tiered skeleton closets. At times the artwork was brought along across and around the stage like street lamp posts on wheels or IV racks.

My generation first learned to appreciate art from behind the rope, from outside the glass casing, within the formidable walls of a museum or gallery. But, as I observed firsthand when I spent some time working in a gallery a few years back, the visual arts has since seen a movement towards increased accessibility, form as well as functionality, and a more interactive psyche. Opera, BP’s highly charged, intense, final full length offering of the season, was accessibility, form and functionality, and interactive art manifest. -JJ

New schedule! Ballet classes at TheStudio

new back to school schedule with purple

We’ll be seeing our ballet kids coming to the studio straight from school in their school uniforms! With tights and leotards in tow. Happy back-to-school everyone and have a great schoolyear ahead!

Class level guide: Pink Baby Ballet – ages 4 to 6; Peach Primary A – ages 6 to 8 new students; Peach Primary B – ages 6 to 8 recitalists; Purple Inter 1 – ages 8 to 15 with or without ballet background; also available Adult Beginners Ballet ages 16 up

In photo: some of our Pink and Peach students (incomplete unfortunately!). Photo taken last summer.

Video clip: stage tita files

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I have been dancing with my now 6-year old niece, Berry, in our annual productions for both TEAM Dance Studio and Hampton Court Ballet, literally ever since she could walk. Of course that’s counting the time I brought her in with me on stage as one of Clara’s guests in a production of the Nutcracker that we did when she was just 1. That’s about 5 or so years of dancing alongside our little superstar, watching her from the wings, witnessing precious moments off stage and during rehearsals, guiding her and coaching her from the sides when she forgets her steps. I never thought I could enjoy it any other way, until I watched her dance in her first recital without me. Last Sunday June 14, at Hampton Court Ballet’s staging of Le Corsaire, I shared Berry’s recital experience not on stage but in the audience, as a first-time stage aunt.

As soon as Berry came on stage with her group to perform my all-time favorite pirates dance*, everything I knew about theatre audience etiquette went out the window. I whipped out my phone to take pictures and videos, called out “Go, Ber!” quite a number of times, and during the final bow cheered and clapped no end with all the moms and dads and grandparents and nannies as if we had just watched Lisa Macuja complete 32 fouettes.

Here’s one of the more tame videos I took last Sunday, with Berry dancing front and center. The little pro that she is, with a lifetime of dancing experience under her belt, Berry had the presence of mind to pick up someone’s headdress from the floor before they exited. Spoken like a true stage aunt, I know. Enjoy the video! –JJ

*Postscript: Incidentally, I had also just performed in Le Corsaire 2 years back with PBT, dancing the exact same part as Berry. Which made watching her dance it all the more amusing.

Market scene

Market scene

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With partner Mark Pineda as Birbanto

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More photos from the Berry dance archive!

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With Berry’s cousin Sasha at Hampton Court Ballet’s Don Quixote 2013

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Dancing the opening prayer at a family event 2012

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The Jacintos and Berry at age 2, at production week of PBT’s Swan Lake 2011

Stretching for the Nondancer

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The first in a series of dance and dance-related classes to be introduced for teens and adults, TheStudio opens a stretching and body conditioning class designed to offer what recent fitness and workout trends do not.

The program pulls from a long-time tradition of taking care of the dancer’s body, and brings together body conditioning for different dance disciplines and athletics, and simple body smarts, in a holistic session that covers tension relief, expanding range of movement, posture development, proper warm up and cool down, and strength-building. Students should leave the class with a better understanding of their own body, and an appreciation of the importance of stretching in their regular day-to-day activities. It should also lead to the fostering and achievement of personal lifestyle goals and general well-being.

The program essentially starts from a ballet dancer’s perspective, but application is targeted to the nondancer. “Ballet is hardly about breaking your bones and joints, doing splits on the floor and being able to kick your leg up to your ear. Sadly, not even many dancers know that,” shares Jacqui Jacinto, studio director and teacher. “There is so much more to stretching, such as relieving tension and aligning the spine, that could easily turn the average sluggish person into one with a lighter and happier disposition.”

This stretching class is open to dance enthusiasts, nonprofessionals and hobbyists, retired or out-of-shape ballerinas and athletes, teens and young adults looking to adopt a more active lifestyle, and absolutely anybody who just wants to streeeettchhh.

Join us on Sundays at 5pm to 630pm, and explore what proper stretching can do for you.

Call ahead to confirm availability of your chosen date/s –Mobile: +63 917 8471651 ; Email: thestudio.ph@gmail.com

Fees: 500pesos for one session; 1500pesos for one month

*TEAM alumni get 30% discount

The Studio is located in 7 Waling Waling Rd. Pilar Village Las Pinas (for map and directions, click here– https://visitthestudio.wordpress.com/how-to-reach-us/ )

Video clip: Jacinto’s works at IDD2015

Everyday and any day is a good day to dance. But when one day of the year is declared International Dance Day, it is almost a sin not to spend that day dancing with the rest of the world.

And dance we did, together with over 30 performing groups and dance schools from all over the Metro, at Ballet Manila-NCCA’s International Dance Day Festival last April 29 at the Aliw Theatre. The Company of Dance Artists, made up of dancers from TEAM and sister school Hampton Court Ballet (more on CODA here– http://www.teamdancestudio.co/#coda), rendered two works by Eli Jacinto. The classic folk-ethnic Giri has been performed many times in the past in different venues including a Folk Dance Convention, and once also reconfigured for film, but always well-received. Pangilin, a dance of faith and inspired by Filipino lenten traditions practiced in Jacinto’s native hometown, is a work from 2006, an old choreography made new. Here is a clip of a section of Pangilin, danced by Jacqui Jacinto and sisters Frances and Irene Canto–

The BM-NCCA IDD Festival was a whole day affair, coinciding with other IDD events organised and participated in by other dance groups in the Philippines, and chiming in with worldwide celebrations. It was indeed a day to celebrate, but for us it was just another chance to dance.

Video courtesy of Frances Canto; photo courtesy of Nikki Lim

photo by Nikki Lim

Giri. Choreography by Eli Jacinto

An Easter open house: celebrating with friends and family

Our open house last Easter Sunday, April 5, was graced by friends and family, students old and new, and was the perfect chance to celebrate the formal opening of The Studio. The second floor, which houses the dance studio, was opened for the first time for public viewing, with the walls painted, mirrors and glass windows installed and polished, and the special wood floors finally in place. Two weeks back we had family over for dinner, and they caught the construction in its last stages of finishing–

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Banzon preview, March 25, after Dad’s birthday dinner

It’s funny how in all the photos, Tito Baby, in the barong with his arms crossed over his chest, looks like he’s at a site inspection of some big development project, which he probably does a lot of for work. Peace, Tito Baby 🙂

And here is the studio now–

Photo from Erica Jacinto's Instagram @emjacinto

From Erica Jacinto’s Instagram @emjacinto

The Instagram post caption reads:

Congratulations @thejacquis!!! Sneak peak at studio #4 🙂 #havenforthearts #thestudio #teamdancestudio #riversideacademy #hamptoncourtballet

The well-wishes for that day were tremendous. But more so were the presence of the people behind this realised venture.

First to arrive were the TEAM seniors, our students who have been with us since they were in Baby Ballet. Now Attorney-at-Law Frances brought donuts as a “housewarming” gift which spruced up the already hearty snack table of homemade cookies and cupcakes.

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Details, again c/o Erica

Pre-icing! Fresh baked cupcakes

Pre-icing! Fresh baked cupcakes

The TEAM seniors watched videos of our past recitals and shows, and saw themselves dancing as young giddy ballerinas, doing their first solo variations en pointe, discovering other dance forms such as jazz, modern and contemporary.

Currently watching: Teacher Joelle and Teacher Lucas' Corsaire pas de deux, at TEAM's 25th anniversary show

Currently watching: Teacher Joelle and Teacher Lucas’ Le Corsaire pas de deux, at TEAM’s 25th anniversary show

The girls could have spent the whole day going through the TEAM video archive but had their respective Easter family affairs to go to. But of course before leaving, a photoshoot at the brand new studio was in order (click on photos to view slideshow)–

This time with Ace, Frances and Irene’s younger brother who served as the day’s designated chaperone, driver and photographer–

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Outtake

With teacher Jacqui!

Also at the open house was the Berry family – Lucas, Erica and Berry. Here they are at the front gate, testing our new doorbell–

DIY signage with doorbell

Berry was a most gracious host, entertaining our new students who came by to see the finished studio. As a baby ballet veteran (Berry started ballet with her mom Erica as early as age 2, and is now 6!), she was very encouraging of our shy and young starters, showing them how to use the expanse of the studio space, and introducing them to the mirrors and barres. She also showed off our friendly dog Hugo, petting and hugging him, and assuring our little guests that they had no reason to be scared or wary. Berry has always felt at home here, in the studio, and in any studio for that matter, and it was apparent that she wanted others to feel the same.

Practing her balance pas de bourrees

Practicing her balance pas de bourrees

It was a full day of answering inquiries, touring the grounds, fitting ballet uniforms and chattering away about ballet and dance education. Just when things were winding down, we were happy to have another wave of guests come over – family! Bearing food, heart-warming gifts, and critical eyes. Every nook and cranny of the studio was inspected, perhaps even more thoroughly than our earlier guests. But the suggestions for improvement were very much welcome and the overwhelming support invaluable.

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Tito Rene and kids test our new barres while Tito Greg documents

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Shopping at our Tutu Girls Easter popup  www.facebook.com/tutugirlsballetbags

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Buttressed by well-wishes, trust and a positive response from our family, friends, and the community, we look forward and are excited to open for our first day of ballet classes this Saturday April 11. A big thank you to everyone, and see you at the studio! -JJ

Registration is still ongoing. For information on how to reach us– https://visitthestudio.wordpress.com/how-to-reach-us/ 

For a list of classes and upcoming workshops– https://visitthestudio.wordpress.com/pick-a-class/ 

Artist Challenge: Dig up your first dancing photos

The goal of the recently trending 5-day Artist Challenge on Facebook is to “fill our news feeds with images” of Artists’ works, and it has done exactly that, and more. The last two weeks for the local dance community was met with a barrage of dance photos, on stage, in the studio, during off days, some old photos and some new, some carefully put together and others just oddly random. Some posts may have been blase, but the unearthed pictures that were either breathtakingly beautiful, or historically note-worthy, or both, completely made up for it.

My brother, Lucas, former premier danseur now full-time corporate executive, dad, and occasional dancer for TEAM’s performing arm, CODA <http://www.teamdancestudio.co/#coda>, is entering relatively late in the Artist Challenge game. He finally found some time over the weekend to look through our family archive of photos and came up with this, his first post–

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TEAM Nutcracker photoshoot, in front of the Philam studio, circa 1980s

That’s him and me, as the Nutcracker Prince and Clara/Sugar Plum Fairy. The flood of likes on this post seems to suggest that this gimmickry is serving its purpose. As of writing, at least 108 people have seen this photo of scrawny little ballet boy Lucas, with his first ever partner (not by choice), scrawny little me. And how’s about that scrawny little Nutcracker at the center, which was handcrafted -carved and painted- by our dad and first ever ballet teacher, Eli Jacinto.

Lucas was actually looking to post a different photo, but when he got hold of the one which he originally had in mind, he had already given up and posted this instead. So as not to let that photo go to waste, I am sharing it here as well–

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A young Jacqui and Lucas, at the barre

And while I’m at it, let me just throw in a few more sibling photos.

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In the Sisterhood, Basilio Villaruz tribute 2014

In a recent repeat of In the Sisterhood, a dance made for me and Joelle by our dad, inspired by the love-hate relationship we have as sisters, I used as backdrop an old photo of us singing “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile” from the movie Annie. I used that same photo from our musical childhood as a first post to my own Artist Challenge.

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TEAM in concert circa 1990s

And here is Joelle with her first ever dance partner, our other brother Quincy. Dancing their first ever grand pas de deux, from Le Corsaire.

Yes we are a dancing family. And we have a lot of pictures. Let’s see what Lucas posts next, if he even follows through in the 4 days left of the challenge. -JJ