This was a painful year for me. Ballet Manila went on an extended US tour that included Columbus, Dallas, New Iberia, Chicago, Washington D.C., Charleston, Nashville and Detroit – and I wasn’t there. I remember a frantic call from my Mom informing me that they had to perform in leotards and makeshift props because the costume bags didn’t arrive on time for the performance. The company also went on an extended tour of Russia – to the cities of Magnitogorsk, Chelyabinsk, Tyumen, Izhevsk, Kirov, Ekaterinburg and Perm – and I wasn’t there either. There was another frantic call from Osias Barroso, informing me that the costume and props bags were delivered to the hotel instead of the theater, and the show was beginning in a couple of hours. Again, I had to do troubleshooting via long distance… and felt rotten about it.
Moving on… This was also the year that we sent competitors to five international ballet competitions: to Helsinki, New York, Moscow, Nagoya and Tokyo. Our very own Christine Rocas bagged the silver medal in New York and since there was no gold medal awarded that year, it was the top prize. She was also offered a year’s contract in the Joffrey Ballet, which I encouraged her to take.
Meanwhile, I was in tiptop shape performing back home in my favorite classical repertoire: Carmen, Giselle, Swan Lake, La Fille Mal Gardee, Don Quixote, The Nutcracker. Since Osias had retired earlier in the year with a final performance of Carmen, I was left to dance with much younger danseurs like Christopher Mohnani, Jerome Espejo and Rudy De Dios (who would turn out to be my steady partner for the next ten years). I had an “aha” moment while in the cast party of La Fille Mal Gardee in Star Theater. I realized that the bulk of the company had just performed a two-act ballet in our home theater while a small delegation was performing in three cities in Korea (Andong, Hahoe and Seoul) and a pair was competing in Nagoya — all at the same time. My, how we’ve grown!
Before the year ended, we welcomed back one of BM’s pioneers and Nashville Ballet’s principal dancer, Chris Mohnani, but also sent off Christine Rocas to Chicago. Ballet Manila turned 10 this year and it was spreading its wings and soaring.