Why danseur Victor Maguad connects with Center Stage

Victor in top form. His idol is Cuban danseur Rolando Sarabia.

Why danseur Victor Maguad connects with Center Stage
Pablo A. Tariman (The Philippine Star) - February 19, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There is a bit of the millennial Pinoy danseur in Victor Maguad who is dancing Basilio in the revival of Don Quixote mounted by Ballet Philippines.

Earlier, he was the Prince in The Nutcracker and Siegfried in Swan Lake. From the way he finished the last performances, it was obvious he has a good future in dance.

As a moviegoer, Victor said his favorite film is Center Stage: On Pointe, which to him is a good depiction of the ballet world.

For one, it is about a ballet group’s desire to widen its audience by putting in more contemporary dance in its repertoire. It is also about surviving in the dance world.

Said Victor: “Center Stage is about personalities in the dance world and how they are consumed by passion for dance. They are quite recognizable to me because I see these personalities even in Manila. That is one film where I connect deeply as a dancer.”

One special dance personality he idolizes is Cuban danseur Rolando Sarabia who is often compared with Mikhail Baryshnikov and described by the New York Times as the “Cuban Nijinsky.”

Pointed out Victor, “I’ve been through a lot as a dancer. And this allowed me to mature a little bit. It helped me understand what I am doing. I believe that this gift of dance is to be shared and this is what I realized when I fell in love with dance and learned how to be generous. Acclaimed Cuban danseur Rolando Sarabia inspired me a lot. How he can portray any role in ballet with high standard of technique and artistry is to me the best that a dancer can aspire for.”

A scene from Center Stage. Victor can connect with the dance personalities in the movie.

Victor started dancing at age seven and trained under Luther Perez, Tony Fabella and Eddie Elejar at the Manila Dance Center where he was given a chance to join Ballet Philippines’ production of Shoes++ in 2000. He was full scholar of the CCP dance school in 2004 at age 11. A few years later, he emerged one of the top winners in the first CCP National Ballet Competition.

This is the first time he is dancing the full-length Don Q and he is aware of the challenges. “I would say that the toughest side of this role is to deliver the story from Act 1 to 3. Not to mention that it demands a balance of artistry and technique to wrap up the ballet. I need to internalize the character of Basilio as a young, vibrant and very charismatic lover of Kitri. Technically, it demands a lot of effortless tricks and stamina. I can relate to the character when he fights for his loved one and how he copes with family matters. Doing Siegfried (Swan Lake) and Prince (Nutcracker) helped me prepare both my body and mind for a role. They also helped me gain strength and maturity as an artist.”

For Victor, the toughest side of Don Q is the grand pas de deux which is the most awaited finale. “This is what they’ve been looking forward to see as this is the climax of the ballet. This is the moment when we do the most difficult partnering technique that demands stamina and full connection with my partner and to the audience. This takes a lot of mastery, teamwork, communication and motivation to each other.”

The other Basilio in Don Q is Joseph Gatti who will partner Filipina ballerina Candice Adea. “He’s humble and nice person. I admire his working ethics in classes and rehearsals. He’s also fun to work with and he inspires a lot of young dancers here in the Philippines.”

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