Ballet dreams for Cebu as ballerina takes over family business

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita April 08,2018 - 09:30 PM

IMAGINE a full-on ballet show in Cebu complete with a red carpet and gala night; kids and teenagers dancing to classical ballet pieces.

It may not be a picture that’s common in Cebu now but this is exactly what 29-year old Meghan Samonte sees in the future as she takes over their family business – the Ballet Academy of Cebu (BAC).

Meghan is a third-generation ballerina and had been dancing classical ballet since she was four years old. She started training under her mother Christina Samonte, who established BAC in 2002 and had served as its artistic director since.

“We have painting exhibits, fashion shows. Now, why not have ballet shows? Gala and red carpet events?” she enthusiastically shared.
It’s safe to say that ballet dancing runs in Meghan’s veins.

Aside from her extensive portfolio of training under several world-class ballet icons and her several performances, Meghan has also had experiences of teaching and training kids to become ballet dancers especially in the United States where she spent most of her life.

Meghan was already working as a financial adviser in Texas for three years until one day last year, her mother told her that she plans on retiring her ballet shoes and stop teaching at BAC.

That’s when it hit her that it’s time to go home to Cebu and take over the business.


She has been in Cebu for good for about a month now and is already preparing a summer workshop starting on April 9 to June 3.
The workshop will cater to around 18 students in their studio at J Centre Mall and another 15 students in their original studio located in Barangay Guadalupe.

“Ballet develops young girls. If it wasn’t for ballet, I would not have done what I have done in life. There is discipline in ballet and in perfecting your technique. It’s just like life, you can’t accomplish what you want if you don’t prepare,” she said.

So far, she said they have been getting a lot of inquiries for their workshop and that the slots are filling up fast.
Looking forward, Meghan said her bigger vision is for the ballet scene in Cebu to prosper and to develop world-class ballet dancers that can compete in international contests.

Apart from doing more classes and training aspiring ballet dancers herself on a regular basis, she also said she wants to use her connections to bring in other foreign instructors like Russians and Americans to share their experiences to Cebuanos.

“My long term goal is to have a professional ballet company in Cebu, to have performances regularly. I want Cebu to be on an international scale,” she said.

Taking over

Meghan was born in Dallas, Texas and grew up there where she had several teachers, mostly Russians and learned techniques from them.

She studied high school in Cebu and took up Early Childhood Education at De La Salle University.

She also holds a Film and Digital Media degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

After she graduated, she found herself teaching ballet lessons part-time while also running her own video production company. She eventually decided to go into finance work despite her completely different background and experience.

She decided in July last year to take over the family business, Ballet Academy of Cebu and realize her vision of Cebuana ballerinas doing their own ballet show.

“All of this passion for creating and passion for teaching and dancing and what I learned about business made me realize what I wanted to do. I woke up one day, feeling exhausted working 80 ours a week and I wanted to go home to Cebu. That’s when my mom told me about taking over. And I decided to do it,” she said.

Although the family had no expansion plans yet for the school, she has high hopes for the business side of the school as she hopes to have more enrollees — a development that can help her to continue to grow the nearly two-decades-old family business and achieve her ballet dreams too for Cebu.

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TAGS: ballet, dreams, family business

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