STARTING from a humble ballet school in Davao City, Gina Luz Gosalvez now thrives as one of California’s finest dance instructors and only one of the few Filipinos certified by both the Royal Academy of Dance in London and the Bolshoi Ballet Academy of Moscow.

Gina discovered her talent for ballet as a young girl through her sister, Irma Aguado, who was a founding member of the CCP Dance Company and her first dance instructor. Through the years, dance became second nature to Gina, saying it only felt natural for her to pass on the art form.

“What I thought was just a hobby that I was good at became something more, and had led me to a fulfilling career,” she said. “It felt natural to continue the tradition (my sister) started by passing on this art form to the next generation.”

In 1992, Gina started teaching in five schools in Davao City under the name GBS Ballet with the intention to make ballet accessible to young students and widen their interest in performing arts.

“I wanted the ballet training experience to be accessible and integrated within the academic curriculum,” said Gina. “Knowing that this was my goal, I partnered with various schools to set up after-school ballet programs (and) figuring out how to merge this program with the schools’ already established academic syllabus.”

With enough perseverance, GBS Ballet strengthened the presence of ballet in the city using the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) training method, and through effective and passionate teaching, Davao City was included in the International Examination Tours of RAD.

“The Royal Academy of Dance.... is the largest and most influential teaching and examining organization for classical ballet. I brought two students to Manila for our first examination and we had such a good presentation,” said Gina. “(Our students) continuously received the highest awards during the Royal Academy of Dance examinations.”

Now residing in California, Gina heads a few divisions in the Los Angeles Ballet Academy. She is currently a Co-Artistic Director and Dean of the Ballet Department, as well as head of the Teacher Training Division.

“My experience back in Davao helped me expand my map of experience (and) training students after school helped me develop an eye for detail, drive and talent,” she said.

With over 30 years of experience, Gina enjoys honing the talent of students and instructors alike who share the passion for ballet. Through her leadership, the Los Angeles Ballet Academy consistently earned high marks in RAD Examinations.

Gina also produced students qualified for ballet programs in Europe like the Royal Ballet School in London and the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco. Her students also won various prestigious ballet competitions in the international scene.

“Nurturing talent like that has led me to where I am now,” she fondly shares.

Her advice to Dabawenyos who want to make it overseas is to have enough courage to take a leap of faith.

“We are all given special gifts, find yours, stay true to it and give glory and grace back to God for all your achievements.”