May 24, 2024

There’s no stopping Cordillera’s graceful dancer Karen Navarrete-Anton, as she bags another grand prize in the solo professional level of the virtual All Dance International Intercontinental Championships.

Anton raised the Philippine flag high by garnering the highest score in the professional level of the ethnic and Polynesian modalities during the online competition held from April 20 to 25.

The 45-year-old dance teacher and pioneer of Baguio Metamorphosis and Aloha Philippines performed an energetic Ote’a (Tahitian dance) for the Polynesian category and an intense Haka and a skillful Poi dance of the Maori culture of New Zealand for the ethnic category.

Judges were floored by her skillful display of talent calling her moves as a four-in-one element of earth, water, fire, and air with a lot of energy and an overall sharp performance.

To prepare for the competition, she had to study the Polynesian culture and train virtually with some of the best international Tahitian dance instructors.

“I’ve been a dance teacher for the past 26 years but I really had to teach myself to be a beginner again and allow myself to learn from other teachers. Since the pandemic started, I’ve been taking virtual dance classes from Tahitian dance champions and I can say that I have learned a lot and there is so much more to learn,” Anton said.

When asked if she is willing to perform a Cordilleran dance in the international stage, she said she has to do her research and learn the proper costuming and meaning of every gesture and step.

“When we perform a traditional dance, we are representing an entire culture and the dancers have the obligation to really be authentic to the culture we are representing that is why I opted to take further studies in Polynesian dances and culture before I competed. It would be an honor for me to showcase our very own Cordilleran dances in the international stage but first, I have to really learn everything there is to know to be able to represent our culture the best and most authentic way,” she said.

Anton is now preparing for the All Dance International 2021 Championships, which will be held in Orlando, Florida in November.

The Baguio girl won the gold medal in the ethnic category in the All Dance International competition last year and aims for a double gold this year.

The All Dance organization is the biggest dance organization worldwide, with presence in five continents and more than 100 countries. – Ofelia C. Empian