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Junior ballerina Tiffany Jocelyn Ong set to compete at the Big Apple |

Arts and Culture

Junior ballerina Tiffany Jocelyn Ong set to compete at the Big Apple

Bernard Decloedt -
Junior ballerina Tiffany Jocelyn Ong set to compete at the Big Apple
Tiffany Jocelyn Ong

MANILA, Philippines — After making waves in various ballet competitions here and abroad, young ballerina Tiffany Jocelyn Ong is set to compete in the Youth America Grand Prix to be held in New York from April 11 to 20.

The first part of the final competition will take place in Suny Purchase College, Westchester County where thousands of participants will compete.

The main highlight of the final competition will happen in New York City, which will include Final Classical Rounds Junior and Senior Soloists, YAGP Stars of Today Meets the Stars of Tomorrow Gala and Awards Ceremony.

A ballet champion on the rise

It was in 2015 when Tiffany first tried out ballet. Her parents, Omar and Sui Ling Ong, gave their full support to then three-and-a-half-year-old Tiffany. Her potentials were discovered by teacher Mark Christopher Simbiling, who became very hands-on in training Tiffany and honing her for competitions.

Tiffany with mentors Rose Panuelos and Mark Christopher Simbiling.

She joined a competition in Hong Kong when she was seven and won gold on her first outing. This was followed by several awards in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia. Even the pandemic didn’t stop this ballerina as she continued her training and dominated competitions online (Montana, Cuba and Italy).

Simbiling shared that 11 years old is the usual peak age. Tiffany was at that age when she competed at the 2022 Youth Grand Prix Philippines (YGPPH) and received the highest award in her category—the HOPE award. 

This is given to the contestant who receives the highest score in both Classical and Contemporary competitions. And because of this, Tiffany was invited to compete in the Youth America Grand Prix held in Tampa, Florida in April 2023.

Now 12, Tiffany will compete for the first time in the point shoes category in the 12-14 age group in New York. The soft-spoken Tiffany shared that her preparations entail more exercises focused on the feet in order to be on top form come April.

She is optimistic that with her hard work and dedication, she can reap awards like her previous outings.

When asked about her idols in her chosen sport, she fondly cites Rebecca Hadibroto, a two -time Indonesian champion at YAGP.

Trust and patience

Her parents shared their tips in honing Tiffany as young ballerina champion. Most important is trusting Tiffany’s coach.

Daddy Omar further elaborated that winning awards comes with being patient, trusting the process and being consistent with the practices. Meanwhile, Mommy Sui Ling believes that humility and prayers to the Lord are the key in getting any award.

Turning one

Simbiling passionately advocates helping and honing homegrown talents to get international recognition through his school, Hope Academy of Dance. Testament to this is how his students have succeeded in winning accolades in various international competitions in 2023.

He shared that he observes a two-hour practice for four to five days per week for his students. He doesn’t believe in over practicing and giving pressure especially during competitions.

He currently has around 50 students, and he wants to produce more champions like Tiffany who will put the Philippines on the map.

This February, Hope Academy of Dance will celebrate its first anniversary, and what better way to celebrate than for the school to participate in the Youth America Grand Prix finals by sending four ballerinas to compete:

Tiffany Ong

  • Solo Classical Junior (12 - 14 years old)
  • Solo Contemporary Junior (12 - 14 years old)
  • Ensemble (2 groups: 1 duo and 1 trio)

Josephine Manzano

  • Solo Classical Pre-Competitive (9 - 11 years old)
  • Solo Contemporary Pre-Competitive (9 - 11 years old)
  • Ensemble (duo with Tiffany Ong)

Star Academia and Claudia Irigo

  • Ensemble (trio with Tiffany Ong)
Hope Academy of Dance/Composite photo by Rico Alonzo

Simbiling is hopeful that his wards will fare well in the upcoming competition. And with Tiffany’s discipline and determination, she will definitely soar to greater heights in the Big Apple in April.


For more information, call Hope Academy of Dance at (0966) 960-6500 and visit their Facebook page.

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