An enchanting night with the Swan Princess

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Thursday, March 6, 2014


AN EVIL enchanter who casts a transformational spell on the princess he kidnapped and turns her into a swan during the day and a human again during the night.

A prince fiercely determined to find the kidnapped princess.

These are the lead characters of the three-act classical ballet “The Swan Princess,” to be mounted by the MMB Dance Centre this Saturday, March 8, 7 p.m. at the University of St. La Salle Coliseum.

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This dance adaptation is inspired by the 1994 animated musical film based on the popular Swan Lake by Ilyich Thaikovsky.

Portraying the spell-weaving evil sorcerer and the main antagonist Rothbart is Rheejay Bucayani. Known for his gravity-defying leaps and charismatic aura on stage, Rheejay began dancing at the age of 5 and training at MMB in 2007 with the late Victor Uy as his mentor in the dance centre.

In 2010, he began teaching jazz and has essayed diverse roles in past MMB productions—as Mama Frog in Thumbelina, Abu in Alladin and Jaq in Cinderella.

A Nursing graduate from Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod, he recently received his Teacher’s Certificate program from West Negros University. Rheejay is a triple treat personified: a dancer, a teacher and an artist.

The chivalrous Prince Derek is Antonio Peralta, Jr. A Management graduate from Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod, he was a member of the school’s Kagayon Dance Troupe and eventually became its director from 2010 to 2013.

He is now a faculty member of the MMB Dance Centre and a zumba instructor at Ching’s Dance Fitness Studio.

His first steps into the world of dance started during his sophomore year in high school when he was granted a scholarship at the MMB Dance Centre. He trained in jazz, contemporary, ballet, modern, hiphop and zumba.

In 2007 he was awarded a full scholarship for the summer dance workshop of Ballet Philippines at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

His extraordinary talents paved his way to tackle on male lead roles in past MMB productions such as Dmitri in Anastasia, Aladdin in Alladin and Prince Charming in Cinderella.

Alternating as Princess Odette and the black swan Odile are Patricia Anne Morales-Base and Denise Anne Colmenares-Morales, respectively.

Patricia is the youngest daughter of MMB Artistic Director, Dr. Mary Ann Morales-Base, thus the name MMB Dance Centre.

Currently a junior high school student at St. Scholastica’s Academy, she began her ballet training at the age of 5.

Her perseverance in both academics and ballet training paid off when she graduated as class salutatorian in grade school and being given the lead role as the graceful Odette in the current MMB production.

Patricia says she will make sure that her dream of becoming a surgeon or dermatologist in the future will not stop her from continuing her love for dance.

On the other hand, Denise Anne also started at the age of 5. Her first recital, The Little Mermaid, was not a good phase in her life, according to her. In fact, she did not like the craft at all, thus, she stopped taking ballet lessons.

Despite these, Tita Ann never gave up on her; she continued to encourage and inspire her even more to give dancing another try, as she saw a potential for her to become a good dancer even at a young age.

True enough, after four years of backing off from dance, she joined MMB’s 5th grand recital, Anastacia, and from then on, started to develop her love and passion for the art of dance and found a home at MMB.

Denise is a Mass Communications sophomore at the University of St. La Salle.

Meanwhile, the Swan Princess will also feature MMB students.

The beneficiaries of the ballet presentation are the Department of Pediatrics of the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital and the Holy Infant Nursery.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 06, 2014.

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