Steps is more than a dance studio. The 19-year-old school takes pride in its deep commitment to provide top quality education and opportunities to Filipino dancers, no matter what their socio-economic background is.
In 2007, Sofia Zobel-Elizalde, who serves as managing director, founded The Steps Scholarship Foundation to formalize the studio’s scholarship programs. The non-profit organization aims to give assistance to young and gifted Filipino dancers who want to pursue serious dance training in ballet, modern dance, or jazz dance in hopes of making dance a future profession.
Steps Dance Studio holds auditions for scholarships annually during its Summer Dance Workshop. In very special cases wherein a child shows great promise, she or he may be invited to join the scholarship program by Sofia.
Types of scholarships
Steps offers different types of scholarships based on the needs of each individual. The scholarships range from a half scholarship, which gives partial assistance, to a full scholarship, which provides financial aid for transportation expenses and dance accessories.
The foundation also subsidizes fees of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) exams for full scholars. The RAD is an international organization that provides a strong dance syllabus as well as ballet examinations to its students. To build the confidence of the scholars even more, the Foundation sponsors scholars who join local and international dance competitions.
The foundation has even created a new award given to deserving scholars for an intensive summer dance program abroad. This program was made possible by Mrs. Elaine Marden, a long time patron of Steps. Through her support, Steps has been able to send their top scholars to London and New York for Intensive summer programs.
The Steps Scholarship Foundation is generously supported this year by its platinum sponsor, Elro Corporation, the exlusive distributers of Ipanema, and Grendha and Rider footwear brands in the Philippines.
In partnership with Ayala Foundation’s Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education (CENTEX), Steps provides a select number of CENTEX students a well-rounded dance education as well.
“In the scholarship program this summer we have a total of 56 scholars: 10 Pacita Madrigal scholars, 26 from CENTEX, and 20 summer scholars” shares Sofia. “The Pacita Madrigal scholarships are donated by Ms. Ging Montinola to ten of our most promising young students who cannot afford formal dance training. It is considered our hardest scholarship to obtain at Steps, but if you are chosen, it helps fund your transportation allowance, RAD exams yearly, and ballet shoes for a year.”
She adds, “Our Pacita Madrigal scholars train almost everyday and are assessed regularly.”
Through the Scholarship Foundation, many young students have made names for themselves in professional dance companies, dance competitions, and theatre companies locally and internationally.
When Emmanuelle “Chabbi” Guillermo and his brother Earvin were young, for instance, their parents separated due to personal problems. As scholars in Steps, the dance studio became the sanctuary of the siblings. Chabbi was inspired to keep dancing to help his grandmother, his guardian, who worked as a laundry woman and is now in sales. After passing the advanced level of the RAD syllabus, Chabbi joined Ballet Philippines and became a dance scholar at the College of Saint Benilde.
Marcelino “McCoy” Libao, meanwhile, was a scholar in Steps by 9 years old. McCoy made history by being the first Filipino entry and finalist to the 36th Prix de Lausanne International Dance Competition in Switzerland. He has taken the saying “all the world’s a stage” quite literally, from bagging 1st prize at the 4th NAMCYA Ballet Competition in 2007 to becoming a scholar at the Hamburg Ballet School in Germany and the American Ballet Theatre in the USA. Interested supporters of the foundation may directly donate any amount; sponsor the costs of RAD exams and dance uniforms; sponsor the costs of local or international competitions; or sponsor a teacher in furthering their dance education in a specialized course.
“Any amount is very welcome!” says Sofia. “As low as P1,000 can help with our scholars’ transportation allowance for their weekly classes, or uniforms for daily training.”
If you want to help children fulfill their dreams in and through dance, please contact Angie Cervantes of Steps Dance Studio at (02) 576-4453, fax (02) 843-8472, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.stepsdancestudio.ph