Introduction by Ana de Villa Singson
Anna Marie Periquet, my very dear petite friend with the gorgeous alabaster skin and my perennial combatant in elocution and declamation contests, has journeyed far in her life. She has been a congresswoman, a destination shop owner of antique furniture, a marketing and sales consultant, an elite event planner, foundation trustee, dance and movement advocate and so many, many more. Through the many things she juggles, one common thread runs through them all…her love for dance! Anna was literally “on her toes” ever since I met her in Grade 6. She would glide, pirouette, leap, do impossible splits and jetes with enviable grace. Incredibly, she can do all those things even now. At 57, she dances with lithe grace that younger dancers dream of. She is a four time National 5 Dance Sport Champion, a world record that she holds and one that is difficulty to break. Her dance journey has not been easy. One day, she woke up, unable to move. She was struck with osteoperosis. And she has fought every day since then, braving the pain , defying the odds, quieting the doubts and fears to be able to dance. That Anna is even walking is a testament to her determination. That Anna is dancing is is a testament to her faith.
I have always admired Anna. She is proudly my tocayo and friend. I admire her many achievements, in the dance stage and out of it. But even more, I admire the grit she has shown to defy all odds and rise above all her health obstacles. Dance is life…literally for Anna!
Anna Marie Periquet glides into the room like a graceful ballerina that she is. There’s a perfect sense of synchronization between her movements and he motivation to succeed. Every step she makes always complements the music that plays in her head. She’s always on the beat, on the dot and on point. Her achievements not only in her dance career but also in her life journey and profession are testaments to her innate gift of grace, poise, timing and balance.
But behind the scenes, the road to success was paved with countless challenges and obstacles. Her story is one of resilience, perseverance, incredible strength, and an unshakable belief in herself. Despite facing numerous setbacks and struggles along the way, she has emerged as a true inspiration to many, both on and off the stage.
Dance has always been at the center of Anna’s life. She began taking classes at the age of 6, and was a classical ballet artist with Hariraya Dance Company and dabbled in other genres, from tap to jazz, and even cheer where she was one of the lead members of the Assumption cheer dance team that competed during the GALS Games in the 80s.
Her love for dance never waned however and while she built her professional career as a corporate affairs specialist and a public servant, Anna also trained extensively in Latin dancesport. She established herself as the undefeated National Latin 5-Dance champion, holding the title for four consecutive years from 2007 to 2011 alongside her dance partner. Anna achieved the ultimate goal of winning two gold medals at the prestigious 2008 Open to the World Dancesport Championship held in Singapore, an accomplishment that will forever be treasured as the epitome of her success. Adding to the highlights of her illustrious dance career, Anna received a prestigious invitation to perform an honor dance at the 2012 World Dance Festival held in Germany, an opportunity that further solidified her status as an accomplished dancer.
But then one day in 2016 with a painful twist of fate, Anna found herself walking away from the thing she loved most. She woke up and could not move from the waist down. The MRI results painted a shocking picture, revealing that she had 26 fractures and the bone density of an 80-year-old woman – a condition attributed to the silent disease osteoporosis, which had gone undetected. She was also diagnosed with lumbar spondylosis, leakage in her third lumbar, left paracentral spinal disc protrusion, traumatic periostitis of the foot, and femoral nerve damage. Her doctors initially thought Anna could never walk again. But she has beaten all odds, braved years of bone mass treatments, physical rehabilitation and therapy towards healing and recovery. She miraculously regained her strength and mobility to return to her life-long love of dance and made a successful comeback on both the performing stage and in the competition arena for the World Pro-Am Championship in 2019.
Anna’s journey to recovery and her inspiring story caught the attention of the Osteoporosis Society of the Philippines, who invited her to become their lay spokesperson, a role she proudly continues to hold today.
“My dancing has been a reflection of the changes in my life. The highs and lows, the graceful turns and the painful falls,” Anna shares. “If there’s one major lesson that keeps coming back throughout those difficulties – one of the most important lessons I believe that helped me pull myself back together, it’s the lesson of acceptance and the joy that comes with it. Self-acceptance keeps you grounded, balanced, and it helps you appreciate the simplicity of every small thing that brings joy. I always think of life now like a beautiful dance. It’s a practice, a passion but there will be highs and lows and you will have to choose to rise from the low, celebrate every high, accept your limitations and choose to let go of the things that no longer work. Healing begins and happiness takes over when we accept defeats but still take a chance to change our life for the better, despite our limitations.”
After five successful decades, Anna continues to dance gracefully onstage and through life. Her 50-year milestone in the world of dance was nothing short of remarkable, as she recently showcased her passion through a mesmerizing onewoman dance concert, leaving a profound impact on everyone present – from her family, friends, doctors, colleagues, dance contemporaries and young dance artists, to the esteemed National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes, who was also in attendance.
It is from the discipline of dance that Anna has created a path to wellness. She has now transitioned into a new profession as a corporate wellness and communications adviser, where she leverages her expertise to help promote employee and workplace well-being, bringing her passion for dance and holistic health to a new audience.
As a firm believer in the transformative healing power of dance and its ability to promote wellness and longevity, Anna is dedicating herself to this cause through the launch of her advocacy – Believe&Live: Dance.Fit.Mind. which serves as a platform for sharing her passion for dance and helping others to live their best lives.
She has also launched the Believe&Live: Motion Workshop Series which is designed to provide a platform for renowned professional dance teachers to share their skills and knowledge with aspiring dancers, and to provide participants with the opportunity to explore different styles of dance and movement and learn new skills. The Workshop Series will kick off on May 18 at the Opera Haus dance hall in Makati City with a lineup of masterclasses. Ballet enthusiasts can join NAMCYA champion and former principal soloist Cyrill Fallar for an immersive experience.
Meanwhile, multi-awarded dancer and LikhaPH founder Rhosam “sickledsam” Prudenciado Jr. will lead a masterclass on Linear Fluidity.
Anna will also be returning to the teaching scene with a series of masterclass workshops. Her sessions will cater to both dancers and non-dancers, and will offer a diverse range of dance styles, including Adult Ballet, Ballet Yoga Flow, 5-Dance Latin Basic Syllabus, and her ‘ABCD Program’ – Active Body Conditioning for Dancers.
“I look at dance as my channel for communicating, my platform for expression, and my way of giving back. It is also my hope that my dancing inspires people to seize every day with hope, resilience, and gratitude,” says Anna. “Life is too fast to not pursue your passion until the very end, no matter your age or circumstance.”
Indeed, Anna defies age and continues to dance through life at 57, demonstrating that her passion for dance is timeless and far from waning. With no plans of taking a final bow, she inspires others to pursue their passions and live life to the fullest.
Dancing Through Life: Anna’s invaluable lessons learned along the way
– The smallest movements can make the biggest impact.
– Stay centered and find your balance.
– Be flexible but accept your limitations.
– Every misstep deserves a second chance.
– Always move with intention.
– Practice makes permanent.
– Sometimes, you need to take a step back to move forward.
– The most powerful step is to pause.
– Never give up even when the steps get tough.
– Know when it’s time to take your final bow.