Stella Abrera, a Filipina who was just promoted to Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theater in New York City, will be in Manila with eight fellow American Ballet Stars and will perform at the Maybank Theater on April 5 to 7, 2018.
This project is spearheaded by Abrera herself, with the help of good friend Sofia Zobel Elizalde, founder of STEPS Dance Studio. “Stella called me one day with the good news that she and her ballet friends could fly to Manila after performing in Hong Kong,” explains Elizalde. “This is something we’ve been wanting to do but had to wait for the right time.”
In partnership with Ayala Foundation, the three-day performance will benefit the CENTEX scholars, a scholarship program very close to Elizalde’s heart. STEPS Foundation caters to CENTEX’s after-school programs, particularly for dance. They hold auditions for CENTEX students every year, and a number are given full scholarships in the dance school. “In my school, there is no difference between the paying students and the CENTEX kids. They all use the same facilities, studios and teachers. They are equal. All the students realize that, and it makes an impact on their lives as they grow older,” says Elizalde. For the CENTEX kids, it is an “escape” from their lives in Tondo, which is where the CENTEX school is located. It also gives them the opportunity to better their lives, exposing them to a more well-rounded education.
For the paying students, it makes them realize that the beauty and discipline of dance have no social boundaries. They grow up wanting to further help those who need it. Many graduates of STEPS have returned to Teacher Sofia, asking in their own little way, how they can continue to help the new scholars. It is a beautiful partnership, mirroring the dance itself.
Tickets for “An Intimate Evening with Stella Abrera and American Ballet Stars” will be available through <ticketworld.com.ph> starting February 5, 2018.
By Carmen Silverio-Roxas