Gameplan: Street kids turned ballet dancers compete in Asian Grand Prix

Teenagers Edmar Sumera and Benedict Sabularse did not have enough money to put themselves through ballet school, nor did they learn ballet at a young age like most professionals did. But with long hours of practice and unfaltering dreams, they danced and pirouetted to the Asian Grand Prix, an international ballet competition currently happening in Hong Kong.

Edmar and Benedict got into ballet through the Tuloy Foundation, a non-profit organization that shelters and educates street kids. During their stay, they were able to watch a ballet rehearsal from the first batch of scholars. "Tuwang tuwa po ako nung nakapanood po ako kasi ang gagaling po nila tapos sabi ko po sa sarili ko, parang gusto ko rin po maging ganon (I was so happy when I watched them because they were so good. I told myself that I wanted to do that too),” said Edmar.

The two boys had to juggle ballet training with regular school work. Training hours were longer and harder, averaging 6 hours a day, because they were preparing for an international competition.

"Ang sakit po sa paa, nakakangalay, nakakapagod, pero kailangan pa ring lumaban. Kailangan namin magpursige pa para magawa namin yung mga bagay na hindi namin nagagawa (My feet hurt, I get numb and tired but we have to fight. We have to strive hard to achieve what we think we can’t),” shared Benedict. 

Despite the harsh realities they experienced early in their lives, Benedict and Edmar’s dreams continue to shine through every twist and turn. Benedict dreams of becoming a principal ballet dancer. Edmar imagines himself dancing for the American Ballet Theatre in 5 to 10 years.  

Wala naman po kasing madali sa ballet. Habang pa-angat ka po ng pa-angat, pahirap po ng pahirap yung ginagawa. Kailangan lang nating maniwala, magdasal at mangarap (Nothing’s easy when it comes to ballet. It gets harder as you become better. We just have to believe, pray and continue dreaming),” said Edmar.

"Masaya po ako pag nagbaballet ako kasi yung ballet na po yung way para maging successful po kami. Pag nag-baballet po ako parang unti-unti ko na pong nararating yung mga pangarap ko (I am happy when I do ballet because it has become a way for us to be successful in life. When I dance ballet, I feel like I am slowly getting closer to my dreams),” said Benedict. –