Arts & Leisure


A dancer comes home

Posted on January 25, 2012

DAVAO CITY -- From roots comes leaves, and choreographer Agnes D. Locsin’s upcoming work is a testament to this.

FILIPINA ballet dancer Georgette Garcia Sanchez performing a solo from Itsik Galili’s Things I Told Nobody, performed in Austria.

Dahon: Ikalawang Galaw, featuring seasoned dancer Georgette Garcia Sanchez, a sequel to Ugat: Unang Galaw that featured Biag Gaongen in 2010, will be staged from Feb. 10 to 12 at the Locsin Dance Workshop.

Ugat had an extended run due to popular demand, portending good things for Dahon.

Ms. Sanchez will star in the one-woman show. This native of Bacolod is now home in the Philippines after a stint in Europe ,and is in Davao to give life and movement to leaves.

She took her first dance lessons at the Garcia-Sanchez School of Ballet under her mother, Janette Garcia-Sanchez. This is something she has in common with Davao native Ms. Locsin who also started dancing in her mother’s school -- Carmen Dakudao-Locsin’s Locsin Dance Workshop.

In 1991, Ms. Sanchez found her way to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and spent 10 years taking classes and performing with Ballet Philippines (BP). There she studied under the best in the Philippine dance scene including Noordin Jumalon and Denisa Reyes.

It was at the CCP that where Ms. Sanchez and Ms. Locsin’s paths first crossed as teacher and student, choreographer and dancer. But in actuality, they had known each other before that because they are in fact, relatives. Ms. Sanchez’ grandmother is Ms. Locsin’s aunt, the sister of Ms. Locsin’s father, the late Jose Severino Locsin, Davao’s father of modern photography.

Though this relationship may seem like an advantage for an aspiring dancer, Ms Locsin said that she did not give Ms. Sanchez any special treatment saying, "I couldn’t show favoritism dahil kadugo [because we are related] but she worked hard; I told her not to call me ‘Tita’ (aunt); it took her two years before she could say my name."

Ms. Sanchez’s hard work paid off. As soon as she was promoted to BP company member she quickly became visible and was given lead roles. "She was all the choreographers’ favorite. I did not have to look for roles for her," Ms. Locsin said with pride.

Ms. Sanchez excelled beyond expectations. In 2000 she won the silver medal at the 9th Paris International Dance Festival for her performances of Alden Lugnasin’s Aku and Ms. Locsin’s September.

This distinction led to an invitation from artistic director Nicolas Musin to join the ABC Dance Company in Austria. While she was in Europe, she was nominated as one of the "Young Dancers to Watch" by the Critic’s Surveys of trade magazines Ballet Tanz and Dance Europe in 2004. She was also recognized as "Best Dancer" for ADB Dance Co.’s production of Karole Armitage’s Ten Poems.

Ms. Sanchez returned to the Philippines in 2005 to perform in Ms. Locsin’s Sayaw LikhANG KIUKOK, going on to teach in Ballet Philippines and back home in her mother’s school.

Her talent could not be contained by the local dance companies and in 2009 she left once more for Germany and after only two weeks of auditions, she was accepted by Tanz Darmstadt under the directorship of Mei Hong Lin.

Through the years she has worked with a myriad of choreographers including William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor, Nina Kripaz, Karl Schreiner, Alvin Ailey, Denisa Reyes, Alden Lugnasin, Edna Vida, Allan Hineline, and Max Luna III.

Locally, her talents were also recognized and she was named "Most Outstanding Benildean Alumni" by her alma mater, De La Salle University - College of St. Benilde, as well as a "Global Pinoy" by SM.

Her teacher-choreographer-aunt shares this pride. Ms. Sanchez was in Davao in 2008 for the 60th Annual Recital of the Locsin Dance Workshop. Ms. Locsin recalls giving her niece a dance in the show to keep her busy. When she saw Ms. Sanchez dance again after all those years apart, she said that she thought, "I forgot how gorgeous she is [when she dances]!"

The dancer and the choreographer have since worked together on Ballet Philippines’ 2011 restaging of Encantada, one of Ms. Locsin’s pioneering works (the original production in 1992); and Sayaw, Sabel which was based on National Artist for Visual Arts, Benedicto "BenCab" Cabrera’s works. Sayaw, Sabel went on tour from June to October 2010, stopping in a variety of cities such as Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, Baguio, Iligan, Malolos, and even as far as Singapore.

Ms. Sanchez is back in Davao to collaborate once more with Ms. Locsin. "Dahon: Ikalawang Galaw", the second installment in the Alay sa Puno performance series, is a continuation of the tribute to nature and raising awareness for the preservation of trees and plants.

It is also dedicated to the late Carmen Dakudao-Locsin, from whom Ms. Locsin inherited and learned her appreciation and love for both plants and dance.