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Ballet icon celebrates her 60th birthday

Ballet icon celebrates her 60th birthdayNot many ballerinas remain in public life when the spotlight is no longer trained on them, living mostly a quiet life away from the hustle bustle of the society much less the dance arena.

Not Shirley Halili-Cruz who turned 60 on Oct. 20. Her children, Anna Katharina, and Francis Frederic welcomed her mother to a new phase in her famed life with a grand celebration at the Meralco Theater followed by a lavish reception at the Marquis Events Place at the BGC in Taguig City.

Ballet icon celebrates her 60th birthday
Shirley Halili-Cruz at her grand birthday celebration at the Meralco Theater
At the Meralco Theater that was packed, some 10 dance companies from across the archipelago danced a tribute to Shirley as a way of thanking her for inspiring many young people to dance. Some of those running the companies were tutored at the Halili School of Ballet on Quezon Avenue in Quezon City.

They were: Sinukwan Kapampangan Center for the Arts in Pampanga, the UP Dance Company, Annie Divinagracia Sartorio School of Performing Arts in Iloilo, J.Crisis, St. Louis University Dance Troupe in Baguio, UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, LPU Lahing Batangan Dance Troup in Batangas, PNU Kislap Sining Dance Troupe, Melengas Dance Ensemble in Pagadian, and Bayanihan, the national folk dance company of the Philippines.

It was an almost two-hour dance concert with the Halili School of Ballet opening and closing the program participated in by the students, teachers, and staff, making Shirley watching with the rest of the audience teary-eyed.

Every dance was met with a thunderous applause, as each dance company showed off the best dance steps in folk, modern ballet, and popular dance forms.

At the Marquis Events Place later, Shirley was met with the young students of HSB dancing to the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical The Sound of Music. Again, Shirley controlled her tears and enjoyed every bit of the performance that the school’s student population prepared for her.

The food and drinks were overflowing, as was Shirley’s gratitude to her children, staff, faculty, and students of HSB for being with her in this milestone in her life. She also thanked the support of her husband Eric Cruz for always being her no. 1 fan and encouraging her to do what she could for dance.

Shirley is chairman of the National Committee on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) committee on dance.

While she may not be able to execute a grand jeté or do an arabesque, she certainly knows how to teach those and many other ballet steps like échappé, penché or temps levé to the school’s growing population of students properly. 

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International and local LGBTQ+ films

Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trannies, queers and other members of the local LGBTQ+ have every reason to celebrate as the oldest film festival for the LGBTQ+ community, the Quezon City International Pink Film Festival (QCIPFF), returns on Nov. 14 to 25 in three cinemas – Gateway Cinema, (UP) Cine Adarna, and Cinema Centenario, with over 60 titles of international and local films from shorts, feature, documentaries, and animation.

After a three-year hiatus, the Pink Film Festival is back. This year’s edition commemorates the 79th founding anniversary of Quezon City and the centennial of Philippine cinema.

50 Years of Fabulous”(2018), a documentary by Jethro Patalinghug on the world’s oldest surviving LGBTQ+ charity organization, San Francisco’s Imperial Council will screen on Nov. 14, 8:30 p.m., at the Gateway Cinema Complex in Gateway Mall, Quezon City, as the inaugural opening film.

Featured in the festival are a total of 64 international and local feature and short films. Filmmakers and actors from the United States, Brazil, Indonesia, Tonga, Spain, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, Syria, Turkey, and the United Kingdom will participate in this year’s celebration.

Featured in the Pink Film Festival 2018 international lineup are films celebrating gay pride and sexuality such as Brazil’s Liquid Truth, Japan’s Boys for Sale, and Turkey’s Mr. Gay Syria, Tonga’s Leitis in Waiting, and Thailand’s The Driver.” While the Philippine lineup highlights PJ Raval’s documentary on the tragic life of transgender Jennifer Laude titled, Call Her ‘Ganda’ (Call her ‘Beautiful’).

Also happening in this year’s Pink Film Festival are seminars and programs from festival partners like Amnesty International Philippines’ talk about the current health and human rights situation concerning the LGBTQ+ community on Nov. 21, 2 p.m. at the UP Cine Adarna, Diliman, Quezon City. Project Red Ribbon Care Foundation will also conduct HIV awareness program and testing.

The celebration of the LGBTQ+ community films, as well as a constant reminder of health and human rights in the Philippines, the Quezon City International Pink Film Festival starts screening on Nov.14-17 at the Gateway Cinema Complex in Gateway Mall, Araneta Center, Cubao; Nov.19-21 at University of the Philippines Cine Adarna in Diliman; and Nov. 22-25 at Cinema Centenario in Maginhawa St., Diliman.

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More stories of these kinds at www.isah.red. Follow me on Facebook (@isahvr), Twitter (@isahvred and Instagram (@isahvred).

Topics: Shirley Halili-Cruz , Meralco Theater , Halili School of Ballet , National Committee on Culture and the Arts , LGBTQ+ , Quezon City International Pink Film Festival
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