Affiliations bring exposure and opportunities

Five friends recall how they got together in high school for the love of dance. Graduating didn’t keep them apart. They reunited in college for the same reasons of passion — to dance.

 In 2008, Cinquonized was formed to perform an opening act for Vhong Navarro, a Filipino celebrity who was touring in Canada.

“We were nervous,” Anna Avila, one member of the group, said. “We didn’t know what to expect.”

Avila’s aunt, who was working alongside with the concert’s production staff, asked if Avila and her friends could open the show. With no second thoughts, phone calls were made and Avila gathered her fellow dancer friends.

Just like that, Cinquonized was born.

Sonja Elarco remembers getting together with her friends at her home, gathering around a whiteboard as they listed numerous possible names for their dance group.

In the end, the five ladies created their name by fusing the words synchronized and “cinq,” meaning “five” in French.

Elarco is accompanied by Avila, Grace Marcos, Janina Lou Morales and Dianne Alcaraz, making up the group.

Instead of relying on just Elarco to choreograph their performance, they decided to combine each member’s style. This mixture included popping and locking, break dancing and modern jazz.

Right from the very first performance, Cinquonized was supported by friends and family members, as they occupied a few rows at the venue. Some of the members show off their moves at a practice. Left to right: Sonja Elarco, Anna Avila. Bottom: Janina Lou Morales.
Photo by: Kian Sumalpong

Their five-minute performance at the concert in April 2008 was just the beginning of their journey.

“From that one concert, because of the exposure, we were invited to perform again,” Avila said.

Cinquonized has had the opportunity to perform at fundraisers, charity events, private parties, club events and more Filipino-based celebrity concerts.

Recruitments kept coming their way. Since they’re a Filipino dance group, they have been approached by Balikbayan Entertainment and Productions, a Filipino-based company that promotes undiscovered talents in Calgary.

Balikbayan gave them the opportunity to open for the Jabbawockeez, America’s Best Dance Crew season one winners. Performing at their show in August 2008 was another breakthrough for Cinquonized.

At the Jabbawockeez show, Avila said they were approached by a woman who complimented their costumes and performance, which lead to an invitation to perform at her jewelry gala.

After just one performance at the gala, the partnership with Dori’s Diamonds began. Fashion shows and galas were added to the group’s list of performances.

Even though they don’t get anything in return to perform, Avila said they do it for the exposure, hoping for more opportunities.

Cinquonized finished their one-year contract in October 2009 with Dori’s Diamonds, adding a lot of experiences and opportunities under their belt.

For the meantime, Avila and Morales volunteer at Kasayahan, a company that showcases young Filipino talents in Calgary. Morales said she teaches hip-hop and cultural dances along with Avila every Saturday.

They are choreographing and directing for a production that will premier next June.

The performances will also include cultural Filipino dances. Besides showcasing dancers, there will be singers, as well.

Avila said she is currently directing a production that’s influenced by High School Musical.

ksumalpong@cjournal.ca