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  • Behind The Glamor: Supporting A Child In The Performing Arts Requires Sacrifice

    This is what it takes before kids could achieve their dreams of becoming a stage actor
    by May de Jesus-Palacpac .
Behind The Glamor: Supporting A Child In The Performing Arts Requires Sacrifice
PHOTO BY courtesy of Regin Luna and Jen Tan
  • Many children aspire to be performers, but what many people do not know is that a big bulk of the load for a child to pursue his dream falls on the shoulders of the parents. SmartParenting.com.ph reached out to parents of young artists to share their experiences on what it’s like to support a child in the performing arts. 

    Father figure 

    Bourne (Luna) started at 7 when 9 Works Theatrical had an open call auditions for kids for A Christmas Carol. He was picked as one of the Anderson boys in the show,” shares Regin, Bourne’s dad. Bourne went on to play the lead role, Jepoy, in PETA’s Tagu-taguan Nasaan ang Buwan, a character he is still playing to this date, and joins the company in Tagalog 2019’s Lecture Performance, an advocacy campaign to save Ilog Pasig. 


    Bourne with his dad Regin
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Regin Luna
    Asked about the biggest challenge they face in supporting Bourne, he answers, “I know that even if he’s doing well, he still needs training like dance lessons, voice lessons and acting workshops that will upgrade his skills as an artist. Honestly speaking, we don’t have the capacity to finance all of these for him.” He adds, “I can say that he’s blessed to be picked by some of the best theater companies in the country. It’s like getting free training at rehearsals and technical dress rehearsals because he’s working with professional directors and theater actors.” 


    Bourne as Jepoy in PETA's Tagu-Taguan, Nasaan ang Buwan
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Regin Luna

    Regin mentions the bullying Bourne gets from kids outside theatre for what he does, “They tease him, make fun of his voice, imitates how he talks, and even say hurtful words to him.” Regin shares his role in Bourne’s career. “I was his first teacher in music. I used to play keyboard and sing. It’s one of the dreams that I wasn’t able to fulfill, so when I found out my son loves the theater, and he has what it takes, I gave him a hundred percent of my support.” 

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    He enumerates some of the benefits kids get from theatre. “The kids will be more expressive with their thoughts and feelings. They will learn it from acting, singing and dancing. Theater requires a lot of choreography and body movements which are good forms of exercise. They will learn the value of teamwork and cooperation by working as one and not by competing with one another. They will become responsible individuals. Something as simple as script memorization can be a good way to teach responsibility and patience.”

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    Raising an achiever 

    Chi Chi Tan has won gold medals and other awards in several ballet competitions here and abroad. In 2019, she became the youngest ever overall winner in the contemporary category, representing the Philippines at the Asia Pacific for the Arts Festival held in Vietnam. 


    Chi Chi with her mom Jen
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Jen Tan


    She auditioned for Atlantis Theatrical’s Matilda, the Musical in 2017 and played the role of Amanda Thripp in the show. She was the very first grand winner of Topps Sarap: Search for the next star of Rebisco and is currently on the hit Saturday morning show ToppstarTV on GMA. 


    The 10-year-old is also an achiever offstage. She speaks three languages fluently — English, Filipino and Mandarin, and is a recipient of the Chinese Ambassador Scholarship award by the Philippine Chinese Education Research Center. 

    “Chi Chi is a consistent honor student and I was worried that her absences may affect her performance in school,” admits Jen, Chi Chi’s mom. “There were times that I needed to excuse her from class to go to her rehearsals during weekdays. Thank God, everything went well and she was able to catch up fast on the lessons she missed. I am actually amazed by her. She knows her priorities very well. I feel so proud to have raised her well.” 


    Chi Chi (center) with other ToppstarTV kids
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Jen Tan

    Jen shares some of the challenges they encounter in supporting Chi Chi. “In the performing arts, you really need to invest in coaching sessions, costumes and accessories, masterclasses, competitions, commuting expenses, budget for food, and the list goes on. Everyone in the family has to sacrifice something for her. From bringing her to rehearsals and classes, to staying with her even late at night. I actually gave up my regular job to fully support my children.” 


    As a mom, Jen’s dream for her child is for her to be accepted at The Juilliard School for Dance or at Tisch School for the Arts in New York. She advises other parents, “Never doubt your child’s capabilities and skills. Give them the proper training they need. In the performing arts, you really need to be there for your child every step of the way. Their first audience is us, their parents.” 

    Supporting a child in the performing arts is no easy feat. Among others, you need to factor in the child’s training, health and education.  

    Because they are still young, and the challenges they face are tough, they need all the support and proper guidance of their parents who truly care about them and their future.

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