Cover Photo By Danni Lim
Cover Photo By Danni Lim.

Benilde SHS student wins gold in int’l ballet dance competitions

Despite the online limitations, Benildean Jiliana Tavares took home not one, but two golds, as she showcased her ballet skills internationally.

By Ralph Regis | Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Benilde Senior High School (SHS) student Jiliana Tavares bagged two gold medals in two international ballet competitions; one based in Canada, the other in Singapore. The Arts and Design Track highschooler took home first place in the Group C Contemporary category of the World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix-Manila last Aug. 29 and in the Contemporary solo category (Age 16-19) of the 2021 Singapore Challenge Cup last Sept. 25. 


The World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix is one of the most prestigious cultural events in Canada. Meanwhile, the Singapore Challenge Cup is a Singapore-based competition that promotes dance culture and a platform for practice and experience for aspiring and professional dancers. 


Going for gold

In an interview with The Benildean, Tavares, 16, shared that “this pandemic has left us in a very crucial state, leaving many of us in this world to suffer in a lot of cases. The only thing I do to cope with everything despite what is happening in this world is always praying to God… I think in this crucial time, performing arts is still needed for this allows us to better express what we would want to feel and to better understand the world around us.”


Since she was little, Tavares loved watching Barbie films, especially those where they dance ballet. “I love how those movies eventually show or express how beautiful dancing could really be. Despite all the insecurities that I have towards my dancing, a lot of people also inspired me to go and do my best towards it even if I'm not the best in the class,” she shared.


Even as a student, she still manages her time wisely and tries her best not to procrastinate in everything she does. 


In preparation for the virtual competitions Tavares joined, she and her ballet teacher from Hampton Court Ballet practiced the piece through Zoom.


“Despite having a small space at my home, I still tried my best to improve that piece with all the corrections my ballet teacher has given me.”


As a first time competitor, the competitions actually made Tavares nervous, “During the time when I [was] still practicing for the competition, I [would] sometimes have [really] a hard time getting out of bed and [pushing] myself to practice, but I remember to myself that what I'm doing is all for my family, my ballet studio and teachers, and mostly for God. That motivated me despite how tiring it is to practice this piece,” she added.


Moving forward, there are no upcoming competitions in the foreseeable future that Tavares plans to compete in.