Sunday, March 8, 2009

DLS-CSB Alumni: Georgette Sanchez in Starweek

Here's an award winning DLS-CSB alumni. Georgette Sanchez. If you were able to grab a copy of Starweek last Sunday, you can be part of something bid as Georgette will hit the visual arts landscape since Lisa Macuja. Read on fellow Lasallians! Animo!
Georgette Sanchez: The Stage is Her World By Dina Sta. Maria Updated March 08, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - It was in Bacolod City that Georgina Johanna Garcia Sanchez, under the watchful eye of her mother Jeanette Garcia, took her first baby steps, jumped, then learned to dance – and hasn’t stopped since. She donned her first tutu at the age of three.
It was those years in Bacolod that ingrained in her the love for ballet. In time, the little girl grew up to be a stunning lady, filled with a passion for dance. In the early 1990s, the muse of dance lured her to Manila, and she became a member of Ballet Philippines, the country’s premiere ballet company.
Under the tutelage of the legendary Agnes Locsin, followed by other artists including Cecile Sicangco and Denisa Reyes, Georgette blossomed, bloomed, leaped and conquered the dance stage.
She performed in classical and modern ballet productions, owning the stage as she took lead roles in challenging pieces. She toured with the company nationally and internationally, and earned her share of accolades. In 2000, she earned the recognition of European dance artists and choreographers as a silver medalist in the 9th Concours International de Danse de Paris, for her scintillating performances in Agnes Locsin’s September and Alden Lugnasin’s Aku.
Thus, an invitation in 2002 from renowned European choreographer and director Nicolas Musin, requesting her to join the abcdancecompany in St. Potten, Austria, came as no surprise.
“I was very excited to leave for Austria,” Georgette says. “I didn’t have any idea how the company would be, it was a new company. I had mixed feelings at that time.”

Georgette shares that the training and discipline she got from BP gave her the confidence to try the dance stage abroad. “I was with BP for seven years as a company member, two years as an apprentice, and two years as a scholar. I had very good teachers. I was exposed to all the great Filipino dancers who became my inspiration. I was very lucky to have worked with amazing choreographers and ballet masters, both from here and abroad. BP helped me discover myself and my capabilities. When I decided to leave, I was ready,” she says.
No matter how ready she was though, she still missed BP. “Of course, I missed the dancers, my teachers and everyone from BP!” she admits.
“One of the things I really missed was the CCP building. It’s always full of life, full of interesting people,” she says. “I also missed the way people dealt with things. Filipinos are more understanding and considerate. Things were always resolved quietly. When I was abroad, I was shocked the first time I saw the dancers and the director screaming at each other. But I just got used to it after a while.”
Returning in 2008 to teach at BP’s Summer Dance Workshop, Georgette realized how much she missed the company, so she decided to stay.
“I’m happy to be home since I’m close to all my loved ones,” she says. She taught at the Garcia-Sanchez School of Dance in Bacolod with her sister Gianne. “I love life there. Very slow, and there’s always time for everything,” she says. “But I started to miss performing so I decided to dance for BP again. It felt great. But we all know that the life of an artist is not easy. If you are a dancer here in the Philippines, it’s hard to have a comfortable life, if you are self supporting. There are advantages and disadvantages to being here. In the end, one has to choose what will make one happy.”
Coming from dancing in Europe, Georgette had many expectations and hopes for the company. “Before I rejoined, I was hoping that the dancers now would also experience the glory we had before – tours, lots of guest choreographers, and new and challenging repertoires. I was hoping too that they would be getting a better salary so that they won’t leave the country or choose to do something else.”
On meeting those expectations, she says, “Some things improved, and some things are being worked on. But the company is in very good hands and I’m happy about that.”
Georgette is also very impressed with the discipline of her co-dancers. “The dancers now are very strong, hardworking and there’s always a good working atmosphere in the studio. I’m very glad that there are more experienced dancers in the company. It inspires me to see how they work, to see the transformation in them as human beings since the last time I worked with them. The younger ones are very eager to learn. I’m very happy with the people I’m working with.”
Since rejoining the company, Georgette has been part of all of the season’s productions – the restagging of Agnes Locsin’s landmark La Revolucion in August 2008, Night Creature and Thresholds II in October, Coppelia in December, and in Ballet Philippines’ upcoming season ender, Neo-Filipino.
In Neo-Filipino, Georgette takes on the challenging lead in Alice Reyes’ Amada, centered on the ritual of the Tadtarin and based on Nick Joaquin’s short story Summer Solstice. (She alternates with Camille Joson and Candice Adea.) The piece was groundbreaking when it was first staged in the ’70s – before Georgette was even born. In 1999, an excerpt of the piece was performed, and Georgette was part of the corps de ballet. Though she has only seen the full dance on video, she believes that it is a strong piece. “I found it difficult because the style is different,” she says. “It is more balletic, less grounded.”
She adds, “It helped my find another side of myself as a dancer.” The reserved and shy character of the early Amada is nothing like the vivacious Georgette, who shares that she identifies more with the character when she is transformed in the Tadtarin ritual.
The Neo-Filipino repertoire also includes the world premieres of KatiTaog choreographed by Ballet Philippines’ artistic director Max Luna III, and BP resident choreographer Alden Lugnasin’s Ulaging (Daog-dog Sa Sang Libong Kulog).
“It’s my first time to work with Max,” Georgette says. “I’m very happy that Kalayo (formerly the Pinikpikan) is creating the music with us while Max is creating his work. They give so much life and energy to our dancing,” says Georgette.
“Alden, on the other hand, is someone who I’ve worked with since 1994. I was in almost all of his creations while I was with BP before. I consider myself also an Alden baby. I always enjoyed the creation process with him. It was always challenging and exciting for me.”
After this season, Georgette is leaving for Germany for another take on the European dance world. But fortunately for Manila audiences, Georgette will always come home.

Neo-Filipino is on stage at the CCP Little Theater on March 12, 13, 14 and 15, with evening and matinee shows. Call Ballet Philippines at 551-0221/551-1003 or TicketWorld at 891-9999; or log on to