From Spain with love for the art of dance-A A +A
Monday, September 23, 2013
SHE looks very young and fragile. People would think she is a teenager who does not know yet what she wants in life.
In truth, Monserrat Forner, a ballet dancer from Spain, is all of 37 years, and has been dancing since the age of five. She has danced professionally since she was 18 years old. She’s here in Cebu to share her expertise, at the behest of Balletcenter’s Gregory Aaron and Nicolas Pacaña, whom she met when she performed with the Atlanta Festival Ballet.
Forner’s first professional performance was with the Menchengladbach Ballet Theatre in Germany and then with the Ludwigshafen Ballet Theatre in that country. In 1998, she moved to the United States and danced with the Columbia City Ballet in South Carolina, then moved to the Montgomery Ballet in Alabama. In 2001-2002, she was with the Atlanta Festival Ballet, after which she went back to Spain and danced with the Isabel Porcar Ballet. Then she moved to Japan and was with the Soraya International Ballet in Fukuoka, Japan, from 2004 to 2008 and with the Anne No Mori Ballet, also in Fukuoka, in 2009.
In 2010, she enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dance in London for a Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma, where she learned all there is to know about teaching ballet, including the social and cognitive development of how children learn.
For her craft, she has studied to become an accredited body conditioning teacher in dance movement as related to health and well-being. She has a diploma in naturopathy, has taken up classical ballet technique and modern dance, including jazz, tap, floor-barre, and character dance. She also does Pilates and yoga so she not only knows all about ballet and its relation to the body, she is also into other forms of dance and exercise.
Forner is fluent in spoken and oral Spanish, Catalan and English, and knows conversational German, Italian and French, as well as basic Japanese. No wonder she worked for a year as civil guard language interpreter in Spain.
She finds fulfillment not just in dance but also in doing charity work. In Japan, she happily performed with a pianist and a soprano, introducing dance to orphanages and disabled people, providing fun dance classes and teaching English and Spanish. In Spain, she was with the 2003-2004 Catalona Association of Dance and participated in charity and church performances, and fund-raising events to help cancer research. And her main reason for coming to Cebu is not just to be with Balletcenter but to be part of its outreach program in Mandaue, Pasil and Bohol.
She was ballet mistress for Balletcenter’s Swan Lake, which was staged on Sept. 13, 14, 20 and 21. As ballet mistress, she conducted the rehearsals, assisted the director, and made sure the dancers looked good together in formations. She also had to be ready in case a soloist was unable to perform, to assume that part, which, with her impressive background of performances, would have been for her a breeze and a joy to watch. She did dance with the corps de ballet during the performance.
Forner says she is enjoying Cebu, getting to know the people, learning the language, especially the very basic “salamat” and “palihug.” She has learned how to commute in a jeepney, Pinoy style: How to make it stop, which is by knocking a coin on the steel bar overhead; and what to do with the money that gets passed around as fare or change on its trip to and from the driver.
She loves the company of Aaron and Pacaña, because of their sense of humor and their mutual love for ballet. For sure, her Cebu sojourn will be a memorable and enjoyable one, not just for her but for her students in ballet.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 24, 2013.