Dancing to their dreams
Instead of a life of drugs and vices, Wilbert Aunzo of barangay Tejero, Cebu City was drawn by the magic of dance.
Now 21-years old, the fair-skinned Wilbert stands 5’8 and has a girlfriend who happens to be his dance partner of eight years. But life hasn’t always been this sweet for him.
“Sa una magkuha pako’g basura or mga botelya unya akong ipa timbang (Before I used to collect garbage and bottles and have them weighed),” Wilbert said.
An emerging dancesport superstar, Wilbert is the the youngest in the family. He has two sisters who now have their own families and two brothers who are mentally ill due to drugs.
Wilbert said he grew up with strong male influences and he counts this as a reason why he was initially reluctant in joining dancesport. “At first wa ko nisugot kay bayotan ko (At first I refused because I see it as gay),” he said.
It was in 2007 when Wilbert was invited by his neighbor and Dancesport staffer, Jenette Flores, to join a free dancesport barangay workshop. Encouraged by his cousins, Wilbert agreed to join a free workshop.
Fast forward to a little over a month and Wilbert and his cousin Chin-chin shined on the dance floor to become one of the best dance pairs in their batch.
Wilbert then trained at Cebu City Sports Complex. “I felt like it was my first step to success,” he said. His cousin Chin-Chin may not have pursued a career in dance, but he chose to stay.
Looking back, Wilbert said he feels like he is in a better place now. He recalled a time when his brothers would sell some of their appliances just so they could buy drugs.
At one point, Wilbert’s mom had to spend her earnings from cleaning the local gym to augment the rehabilitation of his brothers.
In 2011, Wilbert scored a scholarship in the University of Cebu and he took up Hotel and Restaurant Management. But an addiction to computer games caused him to slack off his studies and lose his scholarship.
Two years after, Wilbert is back in school and more disciplined and determined as ever. He also teaches dance at the Abellana High School for whoever wants to sign up.
Wilbert said the “student” gets to choose the schedule and a corresponding “teacher” will then be assigned, depending on availability. Both student and teacher are paired for easier and faster learning.
Wilbert said the rates are P300 per hour. Further inquiries will be welcomed at 415-5844 or at their Facebook page. Dance lessons come at 4 pm after morning classes and lasts until 8 pm.
Wilbert performed a sample number with his girlfriend of two years Pearl for Cebu Daily News which uploaded a video of their performance on its YouTube channel.
“Mag-kuan nami. Mag 2-years (We’re an item and it’s been two years now),” he said shyly looking at her for approval. A blushing Pearl avoided his gaze.
Pearl and Wilbert have been dance partners for eight years. Wilbert said they met each other at a workshop. “We were each paired with others and we were screened on the second level for chemistry,” he said.
“I was the tallest among the girls so I was paired with Wilbert,” Pearl said. “So we were paired because of height and not talent?,” Wilbert commented before laughing and adding that she used to be taller than him.
Wilbert and Pearl are one of the “junior” dance teachers during workshops done by Dancesport Team Cebu. They are three-time Philippine Youth Latin Champions, and Grand Slam Youth Standard Champions.
As members of the Philippine National Team, the couple receives a steady monthly allowance. The two even won a dance contest in Australia last year.
“We spent two weeks there and it was memorable,” Wilbert said.
Their trip was funded by an Australian who believed in their talent. Wilbert said the Australian was a frequent visitor to Abellana and he saw one of their performances.
Despite their busy schedules, Wilbert said he and Pearl spend some time off at the beach, malling and even karaoke. The last movie they saw was “The Fault in Our Stars.”
Asked if there were other fields he would have pursued aside from dancing, Wilbert said he would like to play basketball and “maybe acting.” With Pearl at his side, the two are looking to fulfill bigger dreams.
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