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Dance Theatre Arts Philippines to compete in Asia Pacific Arts Festival in Vietnam

Get ready your cheers and chants for our kababayans as a group of young Filipino ballet dancers is set to fly in Vietnam to compete in the 2019 Asia Pacific Arts Festival (APAF) under the dance division.


Students from the Dance Theatre Arts Philippines (Photo: Ginno Alcantara/Philippine Canadian Inquirer)

Seventeen girls and six boys, whose age ranges from five years old to 18 years old, from the Dance Theatre Arts Philippines will proudly carry the Philippine flag beginning on Friday, January 18, until Monday, January 21.

Among those who will be competing are as follows: Sophia Marie Lily Lucito, Herbie Amber Bobier, Nasia Mabelle Castillo, Chloe ZiQian Chen, Bianca Denise Magbatoc, and Jamela Beatriz Napao.

In an exclusive interview with Philippine Canadian Inquirer (PCI), Pamela Ortiz-Bondoc, DMD, ACBA., the directress of the Dance Theatre Arts Philippines, shared that her ballet school was one of the institutions in the country that the APAF committee heads invited to represent the Philippines in the event.

Asked on how the Dance Theatre Arts Philippines picked the kids who will participate, Bondoc said they did not conduct an audition or even “chose” those who will be part of the competing group. Not wanting to be “unfair” to the other students, she said they opened the door to everyone who would like to take part in the competition.

“We invited the entire school but these girls are the ones confident,” Bondoc said.

The directress added that the school has two classes: the regular class and the training class, where Sophia, Herbie, Nasia, Chloe, Bianca, and Jamela belonged.

“These girls from that competition training group, they were the ones who volunteered that they want to join. We don’t choose,” she stressed.

For Bondoc, the APAF cannot really be considered as a contest, but somehow, it looks like it is as the participants will be graded by adjudicators based on how well they perform on stage.

“The nice thing about it is that if there are 100 entries in that certain division, within the 100 there will be top three,” she said.

The top three winners from each category, according to the APAF website, will be awarded Gold, Silver, and Bronze trophies, as well as certificates of participation.

“You’re gonna be happy because you get to bring home something, but of course, you’re going to be a lot happier knowing that you are in the top three,” she continued.

Now how are the preparations going for the kids as the competition date gets closer?

Bondoc shared that the students were taking the Thursday and Friday classes, which is dedicated to the competing group, and one-on-one classes with their mentors.

The classes, the directress said, takes at least an hour per day.

“Siguro ‘yung (Maybe the) maximum they can have for a one-on-one probably two or three. More or less they have four, five to six [classes a week]. Six ano na ‘yon sobra na ‘yon (Six times is too much),” she noted.

Aside from this, Bondoc also have two restrictions or limitations to her students: one is to go on a diet to maintain a certain physique and two is to refrain from going to the beach before the competition.

Before the Dance Theatre Arts Philippines set foot in Vietnam, Bondoc left this message to her kababayans:

“Please pray for the perfection of execution, strength, safety, luck, and success. Please, thank you so much,” she said.

The APAF’s aims to pursue “harmony, peace, and global friendship” by conducting cultural exchange programs, workshops, and Performing Arts competitions.

It has been inviting participants from various countries like Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines, among others.

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