To his parents and family, Marcelino Libao, otherwise known as "McCoy," was always the energetic son. To his teachers at school, he was a hardworking student. To his friends and classmates, he was their talented peer. But, to everyone at Steps Dance Dance Studio, McCoy was always an inspiration.
McCoy and I danced at Steps together for many years, although I always looked up to him as part of the “older and more advanced” group. During shows and rehearsals, all of us were in awe of his endless excitement that lit up the studio.
Marcelino Libao and Mayo Arii
McCoy was a Steps scholar. He was a natural and gifted dancer, and he always stood out. He won the gold medal in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists in the Philippines, and then made it to the finals at the prestigious Prix de Lausanne competition in Switzerland, an international competition for young dancers seeking to pursue a professional career in classical ballet. After the competition, McCoy was offered a scholarship with the famous Hamburg Ballet in Germany, and later became a member of the dance company.
After several years with the company, McCoy was given the chance to coach two young boys, Edmar Sumera and Benedict Sabularse of the Tuloy Foundation in the Philippines, who had both successfully made it through to the semifinals round of the Prix de Lausanne. McCoy was so inspired by these former street children who had found their calling in dance, that he came up with the idea for a “Stepping Forward” gala to raise funds for other scholars.
Christopher Evans and Hayley Page
"'Stepping Forward' is a way to give back to the community and provide an opportunity for underprivileged children to get good dance training," says McCoy.
The idea for "Stepping Forward" slowly progressed as more people got involved. After reaching out to Sofia Zobel-Elizalde, his former teacher at Steps, and other sponsors, McCoy decided to put together a fundraising gala to raise funds for the CENTEX dance programs of the Steps Scholarship Foundation and Academy One of the Tuloy Foundation.
Steps Dance Studio founder and director Sofia Zobel-Elizalde
“I feel so blessed that Steps has come full circle!" says Elizalde. "It is an incredible feeling for me to have one of our former students come back to the Philippines and give back to the foundation that once helped him realize his dreams."
“I have always learned by example and I now see my students are doing the same. This is when I know Steps has done something right and has touched people’s lives," says Elizalde. "Art should be about that, passing it on from one generation to the other, sharing one’s knowledge and touching people lives in many different ways.”
Yun-Su Park and Lizhong Wang
To this day, every time I watch McCoy dance, I am always inspired by his dedication, generosity, and hardworking attitude. He is always looking to help others, and this show is a door to helping more children with potential get the opportunity to dance.
On Saturday, August 12, the "Stepping Forward" gala will feature McCoy, along with Mayo Arii, Christopher Evans, Yun-Su Park, Lizhong Wang, and Hayley Page, all dancers from the Hamburg Ballet.
Yun-Su Park, Lizhong Wang, and Hayley Page
"With the help of these foundations, we are not only teaching them ballet, but we also give kids in need another chance in life," says McCoy.
Steps Dance Studio invites all students to watch the technical dress rehearsal on August 11 and the general public to watch the gala show on August 12. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the Globe Auditorium, Maybank Performing Arts Theater at the BGC Arts Center in Taguig.
The gala would not have been possible without the kind support of BPI, Stores Specialists, Inc., Belo Medical Group, Seda Hotels, Pioneer, as well as Elro Retail Corporation and Globe. Steps would also like to thank Alba Restaurant, McDonald's, Raffles Hotel, Ticketworld, Terry’s Selection, and Kai.