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!

Video clip: stage tita files


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


With partner Mark Pineda as Birbanto


More photos from the Berry dance archive!


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


Dancing the opening prayer at a family event 2012


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

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–, 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–


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.


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–



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.


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


Shopping at our Tutu Girls Easter popup



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– 

For a list of classes and upcoming workshops– 

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 <>, 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–


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–


A young Jacqui and Lucas, at the barre

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


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.


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

On the drawing board: posters

As fashion-forward as alternative spaces can be, the concept of The Studio artlessly lies in the housing of creative work. -JJ



Our poster campaign is underway, and while we have been steering clear of premature delineation to allow The Studio to naturally progress into what it can be, we find ourselves needing a personality to communicate. And so in this first instance, we feature the studio itself, the physical structure, the four walls and the open space and what happens when people occupy this space.

The challenge in going this route is that our infrastructure is unfinished, which leaves us with having to borrow images taken mostly at TEAM, the main studio from which this more personal space has branched out. Here are some of the material we have on the drawing board–

workshop ad trial 5 copy with wordpress

workshop ad trial 1b copy


The Studio may be spanking brand new when it opens its doors in April, but it is not starting from scratch. It is firmly rooted in over 30 years of dance education and production, and is a collection of the wealth of experiences lived by the artists and the family that make up “the TEAM”. View the TEAM website at


workshop ad trial 3 copy

This draft would have been a beautiful option, however, it is set in the FEU dance studio, and may cause confusion if we were to decide to use it. Still it is worthwhile sharing here as this image was taken during the filming of Ang Sayaw Ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa in 2011, for which TEAM Artistic Director Eli Jacinto did the choreography and TEAM’s performing group did the major dance sequences. The shot is a picture-perfect depiction of what we do in the studio, the breadth of the open space that houses an energy and creative atmosphere that begets creative work, albeit a space not our own.