x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Filipino dance team wins inaugural competition

Jay Bauzon and Lea Encabo win the first Yan Ang Indak dance competition in Dubai.

Jay Bauzon and Lea Encabo took the top prize at the Yan Ang Indak dance contest.
Jay Bauzon and Lea Encabo took the top prize at the Yan Ang Indak dance contest.

DUBAI // Weeks of practice, a festive theme and fun costumes paid off for Jay Bauzon and Lea Encabo, winners of the first Yan Ang Indak (That's the Move) dance competition at the weekend.

The pair were among five couples who competed on Friday night in the finals of the competition, which was modelled on the American TV programme So You Think You Can Dance and wrapped up after a month.

The winning pair impressed the judging panel after donning red-and-white costumes to do the jive to All I Want for Christmas is You. "Their choreography was great," said Xernes Martinez, the panel's chairman. "They worked hard on their techniques, their expressions were fun to watch, and they made quite an effort with their Christmas costumes. They really came prepared."

Ms Encabo, 30, works as an administrative assistant while Mr Bauzon, 30, is an accountant. "We wanted the audience to enjoy our dance," he said. "Our weeks of practice paid off."

The pair split Dh3,000 for first prize, and an extra Dh1,000 for being chosen as crowd favourite.

In second place were Erwin Lladoc Jr, 27, and Sunshine Gerodias, 26, who won Dh1,000 for their contemporary rumba.

The event featured two teams of male dancers who travelled from Abu Dhabi to thrill the audience with hip-hop and street dancing.

Auditions for the competition were held in October and plans are already in the works to hold it again next year. The organisers - University of the Philippines alumni asociation in the UAE (UPAA-UAE) - will use proceeds for its scholarship endowment fund.

"Tonight's not only a night of dancing and partying," said Oliver Conti Ramos, 29, the creative head behind Yan ang Indak. "We're giving one scholar in the Philippines a chance to study at UP."