An enchanted evening of dance

MIGRANTS from Manila at the turn of the century, architect Cecile Dioquino-Hidalgo had to live a life of a newly-wed mother with her baby in tow, transplanted to then remote place of Mintal, when her husband Francis became the campus architect of the University of the Philippines-Mindanao.

Back then, taking care of the house as well as their only child Noe became her priority as she became a full-time mother, mentor and adviser to her unica hija.

The call of the arts was never far away. Davao, as a melting pot of not only different cultures but arts as well, found Cecile teaching in Lu Chin Bon (LCB) Performing Arts Center, bringing professional ballet instruction, and directing talents from babies to advanced classes.

“My ballet training started with Nida Onglengco and Sony Lopez Gonzales. I then stayed with Pinky Mendoza-Puno of the New Manila Ballet Centre for the longest time. I also took special classes with guest teachers such as Maniya Barredo, Tina Santos Whal, and William Morgan and eventually taught for the UP Extension Ballet Program as well as the New Manila Ballet Center”, Cecile revealed.

After her stint at LCB, teacher Cecile ardently taught Theater Arts and Acting and directed shows for Musikademy before setting up her very own I-Sayaw Dance Studio in 2013.

“I-Sayaw started out with a handful of students and with the assistance of supportive parents, mounted and celebrated its very first Christmas recital. Three summer recitals later, the school proudly continues to be one of Davao’s leaders in ballet, hip hop and tap”, says Teacher Cecile.

With Teacher Cecile’s high quality of training for its students, it is no wonder why I-Sayaw has successfully fielded finalists in the 1st and 2nd CCP National Ballet Competition as well as training students who want to join the Makiling High School for the Arts.

Recently, I-Sayaw staged its first major ballet production, “An Enchanted Evening of Dance”, inspired by the classic tale of “Beauty and the Beast”, at the Davao Christian High School Auditorium.

“My daughter Noe and I gathered and edited the music for every student and class. I even choreographed dances in my mind and slept waving my arms in the air seemingly lost in a ballroom filled with dancers”, teacher Cecile smiles.

The passionate teacher approached every aspect of the production with gusto. Because she finished choreography way before show time, the cast had ample preparation to perfect the dances, impressing the appreciative audience during the show.

Skillfully portraying the Beast was Joshua Sabit with Erika Almaden as the beautiful Belle. On the other hand, supporting the cast was Teacher Cecile’s husband, Francis, as Maurice, and guest dancer Toffer Alegado as Gaston. Architect Michaelangelo Ebro Dakudao gladly obliged to be the engaging narrator of the show.

Ably backing up the cast were other captivating characters namely Pamela Almaden as the White and Red Rose; Paul Quiachon as Lumierre; Anya Mercader as Plumette; Sofia Inigo as the Enchantress; Annie Seo as Mrs. Potts; Iyah Cruz as Madame Garderobe; Yonex Damiel as Le Fou; Pierre Guilles as Cogsworth; PR Labirua as Philippe; Asia Trono as the fork; Mary Tongcua, Julianne Simbulan, Jastine Barnuevo and Reanna Parrucho as Chip.

“Of course, the enchantment will never be complete without showcasing the kids’ dancing which surely complemented the scenes and added to the show’s over-all flavor”, Teacher Cecile enthuses.

These included the Babies Ballet dancing as Cupcakes and Birds; Beginners Ballet 1A as Saucers and Children Villagers; Beginners Ballet 1B as Dolls, Wines, Bottles, and Ribbons; Ballet 2 as Feather Dusters and Children Villagers; as well as Adult Ballet performing as Adult Villagers; and Tap 1 and 2, as Wolves and Villagers.

Together, these remarkable performers excellently came up with a spellbinding show delighting families, friends, and the show’s beneficiary, the House of Hope Foundation for Kids with Cancer, Inc. As promised, it was, indeed, an enchanted evening of dance!

We share photos of the show by Rey Alba, Bryan Tenorio and Cheongha Sam Yoon.

E-mail the author at Visit
style="display:block; text-align:center;"


SunStar website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of the SunStar management and its affiliates. SunStar reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules:

Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!