Utzurrum: ‘The Little Mermaid’ conquers Vietnam

Chinggay V. Utzurrum

BALLETCENTER-Cebu has indeed come of age, and how! From a couple of years back, when Balletcenter used to import guest dancers to play the leads, now, it is providing its very own products to perform abroad!

Take a bow, Judith Cooper Po and Khydloyd Genson, proud graduates of Balletcenter. Both put Cebu on the dancers’ world, by performing the leads in “The Little Mermaid” in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam!

Balletcenter’s artistic director Gregory Aaron was invited by Sasa Ballet School artistic director Suong Tran to bring in the leads. This is indeed a fabulous coup for the Cebuanos, considering the 13 years that Aaron and co-artistic director Nicolas Pacaña have developed the Center to what it is now!

In Vietnam, meanwhile, Sasa enjoys the status of being Ho Chi Minh’s largest ballet school, located exclusively in the elite District 7 Financial Area. Venue for the performance was at Dinh Thien Ly Hall. “The Little Mermaid” was the first full-length ballet that Aaron and Pacaña were asked to create.

Subsequently, the piece has been performed numerous times in the last 20 years in different locations in the Philippines (Davao, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro, Lipa) and Asia (Malaysia and now, Vietnam). It has also traversed various cities in the United States!

Balletcenter alumni Julius Lagare (teacher) and Mhynard Etis (ballet master), both employed at Sasa Ballet, joined the cast, with Etis in the role of King Triton, which Aaron played in the original production 20 years ago!

We Cebuanos didn’t miss this when it was presented to standing room audiences at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu last December.

With all these impeccable accolades, Balletcenter has reached new heights. Congratulations!