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SU’s prima ballerina


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Dance of Lucy’s Life

She moves in. She moves out. She moves on. She moves like the moon gliding through the ocean blue. She moves like the sun dazzling the sky white.

A dance is all about movement. From the click-clack of the fingers to the rhythm of the beat, from the swaying of the hands to the sashaying of the hips and shoulders they all pulsate to breathe life to dancing feet.

It is a movement in space, movement in time, and a movement in grace. Movement personified. In method acting, dance and dancer fuse into one. Dance becomes Lucy. Lucy Jumawan Sauer, crowned the 2010 Outstanding Silliman Awardee for Dance.

Moving in Time

Moving back in time, she remembers how she got initiated to her passion, the mission, and the dance of her life. She got started with a motherly advice.

Back in time, she was the little girl chasing butterflies in a meadow of Dauin. It all began when she asked her mother for food. Food being scarce in a wanting family, mother told Lucy “to dance with the butterflies”.

She went to the meadow and flitted after the fluttering butterflies. She tiptoed after the jumping grasshoppers as if to grab and eat them. She wandered. She wondered at the undulating body of the fish beneath the meadow stream.

In a little while, Lucy forgot the pain and pangs of her hunger.

Moving in Space

For Lucy, any place is a dance studio. In the meadows, her innate inclination grew. From the meadows in Dauin, she went to Dumaguete to study and learn the formal discipline of dancing. From thereon, Lucy’s passion for dance had taken her from Dumaguete to a lot of prominent places all over the World.

At 17, she established the Lucy Patrimonio Dance Studio here in Dumaguete mainly to teach ballet to young aspiring students. She later became the directress of the Dance Department at the School of Music in Silliman University.

In these ventures, she was able to produce dancers who became members of the world renowned Bayanihan Dancers of the Philippines. Her effort was recognized when the First Lady Mrs. Imelda Marcos presented her a plaque of appreciation for pioneering classical ballet in the Visayas in 1976. Received also the Immigrant of the Year citation from SBS in Sydney.

Her interest in dance went beyond the classical ballet genre. She studied American primitive dances in Massassuchetts, USA. Did research on Suban-on Muslim tribal dances in Mindanao. Worked for the bridging of Native Australia to Asian dances in Sydney after immersing herself in Black Theatre. And taught contemporary dance in Bangkok.

Moving in Grace

Body movement can’t lie. It’s the language of the heart. It communicates the range of human emotion, which the dancer likes to explore. To experience the emotion she projects.

This spark of curiosity is what led contemporary dance pioneers like Isadora Duncan to break away from the formal discipline and stricture of classical ballet.

Lucy fully subscribes to the idea and breakaway movement without losing the traditional dance values. Isadora-like, she adapts some of time the pioneer’s fetish of wearing a flowing silken scarf over the shoulders to underscore graceful body movement.

Lucy learned and taught ballet in Dumaguete. She pirouetted the Swan Lakeand The Nutcracker at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila with Alexandra Danilova, then one of the world’s four most renowned prima ballerinas.

She graced her way to the Opera House in Sydney in front of Australia’s number one then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. And choreographed Australian Aborigine dances in Paris.

Moving Spirit

She moves in time. She moves in space. The Spirit moves her. Lucy is living in accord to the will of the Heavenly Father. She declares, “He is the Choreographer for us all.”

God choreographs the respective, unique and intertwining dances of our lives.

That’s why she’s ticking with a grateful heart. Thanks the people who have profound influences in her formative years like music director Mimi Palmore and piano virtuoso Prof. Albert Faurot. Thanks Silliman University for instilling in her the pursuit of excellence that remains a constant guide in resolve to perfect her chosen Art. She thanks God for her late husband Max Jumawan who stood by her side. Max stood by her side when she formed the Silliman Dance Troupe in Dumaguete and oversaw the Aborigine Theatre Arts in Sydney. She is grateful for Walter Sauer who is now standing by her side. She is eternally grateful for her life’s entire blessing.

Lucy is homecoming to her Alma Mater. Not solely to receive the accolade, but also to give back what she has taken. Hoping to establish a Dance Company to teach the art as a vehicle for discipline, even as a means of national discipline. Has faith in the Filipino when it comes to dancing. Asserts Pinoys have the edge in body movement over all other races. Believes keeping in touch with the dance fashion will move the Filipino nation forward.

To establish an SU Dance Company is the new dream in her late years. Walter commits to stand by her side. Her former students like Mariant Escano-Villegas, Pamela Teves, and the Serion sisters are behind her. The Sydney-siders like Dodo Lado, Toto Garcia, and Alice Dumlao are with her all the way from Sydney. Perhaps, the entire Silliman community spread all over the world will watch with keen interest for the realization of this dream.

Moving on

Once there was a girl who danced with butterflies in the meadow. She grew to be a woman with dancing feet. Then she pirouetted into a corridor of dancing halls from Dumaguete to Manila, from Sydney to Paris and Bangkok. From acclaim to accolade, she is dancing on. Even after receiving her latest diadem as Silliman’s prima ballerina, she is moving on.

Like a river, the dance motion flows. Lucy lives via, veritas, vita. Dancing is her way, her truth, and her life. She dances to soar on eagle’s wings. Like poetry in motion, she lingers on to touch the soul. Nevertheless as she learns from Silliman it is all about Him, still. The Silliman spirit is burning within her heart. Lucy, the instrument of her Choreographer’s will.

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