Saturday, July 17, 2010

Davao's latest RAD-certified ballerinas

“Davao’s latest RAD-certified ballerinas”
Sun.Star Davao, July 17, 2010

All of them may be below 5 feet tall and under 13 years old but at their young age, they’ve achieved a ballerina’s dream to successfully pass one of the world’s largest ballet examination boards by the prestigious Royal Academy of Dance (RAD).

Meet Davao City’s newest batch of RAD-certified ballerinas: 7-year olds Maye Francine Cervo and Sophia Anne Freires; 10-year old Sophia Puentespina; 11-year olds Ingrid Puentespina, Trizia Katrina Serafin and Faye Frances Elorza; and 12-year old Patricia Marie Suarez.

According to the Royal Academy of Dance’s official website, RAD is “one of the world’s most influential dance education and training organizations”. Founded in 1920 to re-invigorate dance teaching within the United Kingdom, the RAD has a long history of improving dance standards. Its most recognized patron is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Currently, the RAD has a presence in 79 countries, with 36 offices and over 13,000 members worldwide.

As an awarding organization, the RAD Examinations Board offers “an internationally recognized portfolio of examinations and assessments .Their exams are designed to motivate and encourage students of all ages and levels of ability though a systematic measurement of progress and attainment”.

Only students studying under a qualified RAD instructor are permitted to take the exam. In the Philippines, there are 12 registered teachers of RAD- London presently teaching - ten in Luzon, one in Visayas and one in Mindanao, in the person of Irma Luz Bringas-Aguado.

Irma, who is based in Davao City and presently teaching ballet at the Holiday Gym and Spa and St. Paul College Pasig-Davao campus, passed the RAD Teacher’s Course in 1994 with a grade of distinction. She is only one of five Filipinos to get this highest award. The dedicated ballet teacher has consistently entered students for exams who would all get either a distinction or merit award.

Teacher Irma was previously a member of Anita Kane Ballet Co., soloist of Dance Theater Philippines, founding member and principal dancer of Ballet Philippines (Cultural Center of the Phils.) and principal dancer of Manila Metropolitan Ballet Company.

The Davao-based ballerinas took their RAD examinations at Steps Dance Studio in Manila which is owned by another RAD teacher Sofia Zobel-Elizalde. The examiner in this year’s RAD tour was Patricia Sterling from Australia.

Trizia Serafin shares a personal account of her RAD ballet examination experience:

“It was a very exciting day for me since it was my first time to take my ballet exams in Manila. But, I felt nervous as what is being usually felt by others too.
When I went to the studio and saw the examiner, she reminded me of a family friend. That helped me ease my nerves.

During the exams, there were three of us simultaneously doing the dances together. I was a little bit confident that I could make it throughout the exam.

To my surprise, I almost tripped during the adage because of the uneven floor and my new pair of shoes. But, I was able to make some tricks to cover it up. The examiner smiled at me in a knowing way.

To me, that was the funniest but cute experience that I had. At the end of the exam, I was so relieved that it was over. I thank God for guiding me all throughout the exam.
I also thank Teacher Irma Bringas-Aguado for being a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious ballet teacher!”

On the other hand, Sophia Anne Freires happily recalls that “When I went inside the room, I felt a little anxious but I tried to be calm. I was so excited to do the exercises. When I met the examiner Patricia Sterling, she looked like a grandmother. Ms. Sterling looked nice and beautiful so I liked her. I would like to take another exam again”.

"I was so nervous that I kept shaking even during the exam. It was harder than I thought”, reveals Patricia Marie Suarez.

Faye Francine Cervo discloses, “I prayed to Jesus before and after the exam. During the exam, I imagined that I was dancing alone in the forest. I danced my best because I want to impress my teacher and the examiner. I was a bit tense but I after the exam, I knew I did well”.

“I was so nervous, I thought I would pee in my pants”, Sophia Puentespina giggles.
Her sister Ingrid Puentespina recounts, “I was so eager to take the test but during the actual day, I was really nervous but never thought about surrendering. After the test, I was really glad I never considered backing out. When the results came in, I can say that everything was worth it!”.

For these seven passionate dancing princesses, being a RAD-certified ballerina was not only a dream come true but a totally rad experience!

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