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Cultural Potpourri | I-Sayaw’s Beatles’ Classics @ Abreeza Ayala Mall

It was a surprise for me to watch dance maestra Cecile Dioquino-Hidalgo’s “I-Sayaw’s Beatles’ Classics to Classics” at the Entertainment Centre of the Abreeza Mall fully filled with excited young dancers accompanied by their equally excited stage moms, dads, lolas and lolos, family members plus yayas and drivers last May 23.  Oh yes, Abreeza Mall’s Entertainment Center was hot that day as I sat myself beside Violeta Lu-Kong and some retired dancers of the LCB Performing Arts Center (myself included).  We are truly supporters of teacher Cecile who was so stressed weeks before this annual I-Sayaw recital.

I-Sayaw Dance Studio’s 5th Summer Workshop, the Beatles’ Classics to Classics at the Abreeza Mall’s Entertainment Center

“I am just happy that the show exceeded everyones expectations. My very decision to limit the number of students definitely paid off.  I believe that I-Sayaw’s show was well directed.  The students were called in for rehearsals and run-throughs a week before the show.  The show featured the students talents in dancing ballet, tap, hiphop, and jazz to the lively music of the 60’s legends the Beatles as the first part of the programme which then culminated with the Classical Ballet repertoire,” narrated teacher Cecile, who, by the way, is also a licensed architect of the Philippines like her husband, Francis “Kiko” Hidalgo.  We met each other while we were students at the College of Architecture at the University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, Quezon City.  Yes, Cecile caught my attention once when this reed-thin young lady with a frizzy hair courageously walked down the school corridor wearing her bailerina outfit like it was a most natural thing to do.  Nowadays, you barely see the traces of the once starved-looking ballet dancer in her.  But I still adore her, wide girth and all.

Classical repertoire soloists

The Babies Beginner’s Ballet 1A class gamely showed off their skill in ballet strutting out in their vibrant red costumes dancing to Penny Lane and Pizzicato Polka by Johann Strauss II, while the Beginners 1B galloped in bright yellow costumes dancing to Yellow Submarine and The Musical Snuff Box of Anatoly Lyadov.  Ballet 2 gracefully tiptoed in with their baby pink costumes interpreting All You Need is love and Annen Polka by Johann Strauss II featuring a promising danseur, Vonn Valdez.  Ballet 3 walked in character performing to With A Little Help From My Friends as well as Clara from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.  The promising Intermediate Ballet, all in white, danced to Lady Madonna and Shostakovich’s Ballet Suite No. 3 Part 1/6.  The remaining Advance Students, Iyah Cruz and Yonex Daymiel danced to We Can Work It Out with 2 other gentlemen Pat Labirua from the Intermediate level and Vonn Valdez from Ballet 2.  Selected dancers were assigned repective classical solos.

Hiphop with teacher Aris Dequit

Come Together mashed up with Mark Ronson’s Uptown Funk with Bruno Mars as the featured artist gathered the Hiphop Students in red tops and maong jackets around their waists.  Hiphop teacher, Aris Dequit, fielded in a Hiphop number entitled Urban Remix with 4 of his members from the Rejects Dance Crew.  Jazz was introduced this summer as an experiment.  The dance form caught a few kids who were interested in learning it, joining selected I-Sayaw main dancers and Teacher Paul Quiachon.  Obladi Oblada was the Jazz Debut of I-Sayaw.

Tap 1 performed to Twist and Shout while Tap 2 did Happy Together with Teacher Paul Quiachon, ending the Beatles portion with the iconic Beatles on Abbey Road.  Teacher Cecile’s choreography was kept simple to adjust to her students’ level.  Definitely, her well chosen music pieces plus the colorful and well-designed costumes enhanced the I-Sayaw students’ performance.

Tap Abbey Road

“Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of visitors who came to watch the show. I-Sayaw is slowly reaching out to its target audiences.  People applauded the dancers as they showed off their dancing skills. It was a bittersweet summer for me though as some of my best students found themselves pursuing other talents and summer activities.  One is the very talented Erika Almaden, who with the help of I-Sayaw, is now a scholar of Ballet Philippines at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.  The other, Anya Mercader, who ended up as the only Production Assistant backstage.  I, although sad about letting go of these students, remain supportive of their endeavors,” said teacher Cecile.

I-Sayaw’s Jazz Dance Debut

But as we all know, when doors close, windows open, now the Intermediate class have stepped up to the challenge.  Teacher Cecile selected Classical dances for selected dancers, most of them performing their first solos on stage and went the extra mile and proved their worth in dancing and improving their ballet skills:  Brazzie Acosta did the Invocation – God Will Make A Way; Julianne Simbulan danced to Lise’s Variation from La Fille Mal Gardee; Reign Siapno danced as Princess Florine, Bluebird from The Sleeping Beauty; Reana Parrucho danced as Kitri from the ballet Don Quixote; Eliza Labial, Aimee de Castro and PR Labirua danced the Reed Flutes Pas de Trois from The Nutcracker.  Her Advanced students Yonex Daymiel leaped as Aminta from the ballet Sylvia and to cap the Classical portion  was Iyah Cruz, the only remaining student on pointes, who danced as Princess Aurora from The Sleeping Beauty Ballet.

I-Sayaw’s Working Staff (l-r): Paul Quiachon, Anya Mercader, Kiko Hidalgo, Cecile D. Hidalgo, Aris Dequit with Jaycee Batchar, Cheska Tabaco and Toffer Alegado

The Beatles’ Classics to Classics is I-Sayaw’s 5th Summer Showcase with Hiphop Teacher Aris Dequit, Tap and Jazz Teacher Paul Quiachon and Principal and Ballet Teacher Cecile Dioquino-Hidalgo.  Photo credits to Mr. Rey Alba and Mr. Dexter Arcenas.  I-Sayaw is located at Unit 207 Mc Pod Bldg., Mc Arthur, Matina.

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