Team Philippines Strikes Gold at 2017 World Championships of Performing Arts
With more than two decades of World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA) experience under their belt, the Philippines has proven once again that it is a country of powerhouse performers after sweeping coveted prizes during the competition this year.
The likes of Nhikzy Calma and Cristiani Rebada have made the country proud after being named grand champions in their respective divisions. The Filipino contestants bested contestants from 60 other countries who were at the annual WCOPA, which is often cited as the Olympics of the performing arts, held in Hollywood, California.
Nhikzy Calma and Christiani Rebada Among Big Winners During 2017 World Championships of Performing Arts
Team Philippines, armed with a talented group of vocalists and dancers, has managed to sweep judges like Cameron Mackintosh and other theater giants of Broadway and West End off their feet.
In total, the country has produced ten World Championships of Performing Arts Hall of Famers. A few notable names include Jed Madela (2005), Aria Clemente (2007), Joshua Pineda (2011), and the Xtreme Dancers Duet (2014).
For this year’s competition, the Philippines boasted the largest pool of grand finalists with eleven talents in total. Team Philippines managed to win a total of 205 medals, the most among all 60 countries included in the roster.
Aspiring performers from around the world gather for the opportunity to display their talents before industry leaders during the week-long event. Winners compete for prestigious titles and $400,000 worth of scholarships from the top schools for performing arts.
Nhikzy Vheench Calma
Eight-year-old Nhikzy Vheench Calma is known for his appearance in the local variety show ASAP. The dance prodigy captured the judges and audiences the whole week. When the time came to deliver his final WCOPA performance, Nhikzy did not disappoint. He performed his dance renditions of a variety of Michael Jackson songs including “Billie Jean.”
At the end, Nhikzy won two major titles, Junior Champion for Dance Solo and Grand Champion Performer of the World. He posted a photo of his win on his Instagram page, including this caption:
“Gold Medalist, Junior Grand Winner of Dance Division and the JUNIOR GRAND CHAMPION OF THE WORLD OVERALL back to back Grand CHAMPION of World Championship of Performing Arts #WCOPA #Philippines!!!!” Nhikzy wrote in a post on Instagram. “Inaalay ko po etong Tagumpay ko sa inyong lahat mga mahal kong PILIPINO. Salamat po sa inyong lahat sa tiwala at supporta na binigay nyo sakin at sa lahat po ng tumulong at sumuporta po skin para maabot ko po etong napakagandang pangarap.”
Nhickzy wasn’t the only big winner of the week. Singer Cristiani Rebada of Negros Occidental also emerged victorious. His powerful vocal performance secured him and Team Philippines a Grand Champion Performer of the World honor for the second year in a row. Last year’s winner was the all-male dance troupe Junior New System. The opera singer is also a proud member and mentor at the Philippine Opera Company.
Other Filipino standouts at WCOPA 2017
Singer Hannah Korin Castillo made her countrymen proud by bagging the Junior Grand Champion Vocalist of the World award. Fellow vocalist Madonna Dacena, who got a standing ovation when she participated in the 2008 Britain’s Got Talent, won six medals in different categories.
In total, Team Philippines collected 205 medals: 58 gold, 99 silver, and 48 bronze. Each winner was rewarded with scholarships from Indasoul Entertainment, Shelly Sondheim, Millennium Dance Complex, and New York Film Academy.
The World Championships of the Performing Arts has become a holy grail for aspiring performers. The journey to the title is nowhere near easy. There is a boot camp for shaping dancers, singers, actors, performers, and models, where mentors like Justin Timberlake, top theater performers, and actors are around to guide participants.
The country’s very own Gerry Mercado took the grueling task of scouting and overseeing the entire audition process for Team Philippines. All of his hard work paid off as he has been named the Outstanding National Director for two years in a row now.
Talent surely runs in the Mercado family as Jerry’s daughter Abby acts as the team’s executive assistant to the director. In an interview with the Asian Journal, she expressed her pride in the success of Filipinos on the world stage.
On the surface, it may seem that WCOPA Team Philippines is driven by its goal to launch an artist to international stardom. But according to Mercado, each performer aims to elevate the Filipino brand and create a more positive image for the Filipino people worldwide.Team Philippines Strikes Gold at 2017 World Championships of Performing Arts by Holly