Agnes and Sonny Locsin: An aunt & nephew dance act-A A +A
Saturday, August 17, 2013
“I think of myself as Sonny’s father.” This is how Agnes Locsin describes her relationship with Sonny Locsin, danseur par excellence of Ballett Oper Am Rhein in Germany, who is a featured performer of SANGA, the fourth of a series of the Alay Sa Puno performances at the Locsin Dance Workshop in Davao City.
Little is not known about Agnes Locsin, Davao’s treasure of a choreographer and one of the Philippine’s most progressive contemporary dance makers. The multi-awarded choreographer recently garnered a national distinction as she was the recipient of the CCP Gawad Sining Award, the highest honor the Cultural Center of the Philippines bestows on the Filipino artist. Not one to rest on laurels, Locsin is now deeply engrossed with preparations for SANGA.
Sonny Locsin is the son of Agnes’ brother, the late Cesar Jose “Boy” Locsin with the currently very proud mother, Veronica Sereno Locsin. Born and raised in Davao City, Sonny grew up watching his lola teach ballet and his Tita Agnes choreograph all sorts of dances in the studio, situated right beside Sonny’s house. It was therefore not surprising that at the very tender age of 2 and a half years old, Sonny donned his first pair of tap shoes, and 2 years later, his very first ballet shoes.
Reading Sonny’s CV is like going through a list of famous dance companies (Ballet Philippines, Jeune Ballet de France, Portugal’s Ballet Gulbenkian, Italy’s Aterballetto, and Germany’s Ballet Oper Am Rhein), teachers (William Morgan, Noordin Jumalon, Perry Sevidal, Victor Ursabia, Gina Katigbak, Jorge Esquivel, & Ricardo Bustamante), choreographers (Mats Ek, Jiri Kylian, Paul Lightfoot, Hans Van Manen, Ohad Naharin, Youri Vamos, Martin Schapfer, Twyla Tharp, Merce Cunningham, etc.) and productions (Swan Lake, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nutcracker, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Romeo & Juliet, Don Quixote, Kylian’s Six Dances, Lightfoot’s Signing Off, Van Manen’s Solo, Mats Ek’s Aluminum, etc.). For those not familiar with the international dance world, these names and titles are worth your time to Google, and then be amazed by them.
Aunt and nephew are decades apart, yet like Sonny, Agnes started dancing at the age of 2 and a half years old; but unlike Sonny, Agnes did not become a professional dancer, instead she chose to become a choreographer. Asked why she did not become a dancer, the celebrated choreographer claims that her mother, the late Carmen Dakudao Locsin was not a stage mother. Sonny, on the other hand, became a dancer because Agnes proved to be a determined stage Tita.
In an interview, Sonny was asked what made him decide to become a dancer.
“I actually do not remember making a decision,” he replied. “Somehow it just happened. I know there were people pushing, leading, and guiding me towards this direction, to all of whom I’m very thankful.” He further adds that being the grandson of Carmen D. Locsin (Davao’s Icon of Dance) and the nephew of the multi-awarded choreographer Agnes Locsin has been easy simply because “Tita sent me abroad at a young age so I was spared the intrigues of being chosen for roles due to nepotism. And being away from home, I was able to find my own identity as a dancer.” Upon hearing this, his Tita Agnes simply beamed with pride.
Aunt and nephew have worked together a number of times as Sonny grew and trained to become a dancer in Manila. Since he left the Philippines to work abroad in 1998, Sonny came home in 2010 to perform in Locsin’s Sayaw, Sabel. In 2011, Tita Agnes once again asked Sonny to be part of her Alay Sa Puno Performance Series. Sonny agreed because “who can say No to Tita Agnes? Certainly not me.”
SANGA: Ika-Apat na Galaw, will feature Sonny Locsin along with Kris-Belle Paclibar M. Both are Dabawenyos and products of the Locsin Dance Workshop, Davao City. Both have made names in the world of dance in the Philippines and abroad. (Kris-Belle was an artist of Cirque du Soleil before motherhood claimed her). Under the direction of Tita Agnes, Sonny and Kris- Belle are currently stretching themselves to give the performance of their lives exclusively for the Davao audience.
Sanga will be performed on August 23 and 25 (Friday and Sunday), 7 p.m. and August 24 (Saturday) at 7:30 p.m. at the Locsin Dance Studio Theater along Quirino Avenue, Davao City.
The ALAY SA PUNO Series is especially choreographed for an intimate audience-in-round. The number of seats will be limited for each performance.
For more information and seat reservations for SANGA: Ika-Apat na Galaw, please call 2274753, or text 09169095099 / 0822844100; or email HYPERLINK mailto:email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Locsin Dance Workshop on Facebook.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 18, 2013.