February 23, 2011

The 4th Philippine StarBall Press Conference

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to be part of the press conference for the 4th Philippine StarBall held in the Makati Shangri La hotel. It was a night where I got a chance to converse with some of the world's best ballroom dancers and asked them some relevant questions about their craft and the complexities involved in it.
with Miriam Larici, Lonardo Brrionuevo, Carolina Zokalski, Diego di Falco
I was invited by a friend of mine, Mayenne Carmona, a woman who I look up to and admire as if she were a second mom to me. Being the socially awkward individual that I am, I always shun away from such occasions simply because I do not know anyone to converse with. But ever since I first met Ms. Carmona, she has always been helping me out-- introducing me to the big names in the industry. I can never truly thank her enough. :)
Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo (London) with Ms. Mayenne Carmona
Since I stopped working for SPARK Magazine, I also didn't get a chance to attend such events. To be honest, I was already starting to miss all the glam and splendor of things. So I was really happy that I got invited to the event.

Because I knew little about the event, I was really surprised at how much talent and passion was in the room. Although there was only a small number of attendees, the dedication of each individual did not escape my eye. While the foreign dancers sat together in one corner, people from the press (myself included) were seated far from the honored guests. It was as if they were scared of what we were going to ask them.

Of course, we only wanted things to be fun and not end up having such a boring occasion, my friends from the press all asked different questions in an honest attempt to pry into the lives of these celebrities. We wanted to know, amidst their beauty and talent, that they were still human after all.

Amidst this, event organizer and dance floor diva Michaela "Pinky" Puno explained the reason for this year's different format. Because of the politics in the dance world, she decided to alter the format and give it a new twist. Thus, it was called as the Dance Festival of Champions, an event first of its kind, and first throughout the world. Honestly, I think it was a great opportunity to turn the competition into a friendly festival.
Event Organizer/Dance Floor Diva Michaela "Pinky" Puno discussing the souvenir program
Since I was really shy to speak in front of a crowd, I drank some white wine to calm away my nerves. The time came for me to speak in front of a microphone and Mayenne introduced me to the audience. There was a slight error as she told the crowd that I am only 22 years old (I was 23 when we first met). I am 24 now. ^^

Because I was interested in how these dancers got to deal with their partners, I asked them about their interpersonal relationships; particularly those who were already married. Out of the bunch, it was the married couple Diego di Falco and Carolina Zokalski (Tango dancers from Buenos Aires) that answered me. I found out through them that their marriage was just like that of any other married couple. Although they had their ups and downs, they were able to set aside the disagreements in their craft so they can make their marriage work. Proud parents, the couple was set to celebrate their anniversary just a few days from the said press con. This means they celebrated in the country. :)

Me with the couple I put on the spot: Diego di Falco and his beautiful wife/ dance partner Carolina Zokalski 
As the night went on, more questions were asked. Some innocent, others more politely intrusive with a hint of tease. It was because, after all, their craft exuded fiery passion. Every time dancers step onto the dance floor, the audience can only wish they had the same kind of passion and chemistry in their own love lives. For this, people love to wonder if the chemistry they share is limited to the dance or off the stage too...

Mayenne Carmona, Carolina Zokalski, Diego di Falco, Tina Jacinto and David Lim
 The Complete List of Participants in the 4th Philippine StarBall: Dance Festival of Champions:

Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko
Victor Da Silva and Hanna Karttunen
Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo
Carolina Zokalski and Diego di Falco
Michael Malitowski and Joanna Leunis
Arunas Bizokas and Katusha Demidova
Franco Formica and Oksana Lebedew
Mirko Gozzoli and Edita Daniute
Sergey Surkov and Melia
Jose de Camps and Joanna Zacharewicz
Mikhail Zharinov and Galina Detkina

with Katusha Dmidova, Arunas Bizokas, Bum Tenorio (Allure)
with Slava Sergiev and Ricardo Cocchi
Slava Sergiev, Mayenne Carmona, Ricardo Cocchi
with Henry and Jojo Zabartre, Yulia Zagoruychenko, Belinda Adora, Mayenne Carmona
*Credit for pictures: Mayenne Carmona (the ones with me)

The Philippine StarBall Dance Festival of Champions was held last February 12, 2011. The press conference was held on February 11, 2011. Please watch out for photos and press article of the event itself.

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