Interior and lighting designer Mark Wilson presents his latest holiday collection to benefit the Steps Scholarship Foundation
Dance with the stars. If you put the idea of the American reality show aside, that line is truly poetic. Imagine, dancers moving happily as the stars descend from the night sky and illuminate them with every step they take. It’s a fairytale moment that everyone would love to see. Lucky for us, we can get a glimpse of this spectacular sight with the performance of Steps Dance Studio featuring the beautifully crafted Mark Wilson lyrics to the tune of the Filipino Christmas classic, “Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit” by Ryan Cayabyab. And there is a chance for you to bring a piece of that holiday magic to your home.
The symbol of hope
Staying up north in Baguio, Mark can’t help but express how different the previous Christmas season was due to the pandemic. “It wasn’t the Christmas I was used to. It’s not a Filipino Christmas, ”he says, a point many would certainly agree. Much like the Biblical Magi, the man behind Caro Wilson’s wonderful creations dreamed of a star that would help bring the spirit of the Christmas season back to Filipino homes, especially in today’s situation.
Mark presents his latest holiday collection featuring one of the ultimate emblems of Paskong Pinoy, the word. But instead of opting for a flamboyant and festive aesthetic, the designer chose for the lyrics to have a more subtle beauty, aiming for a timeless and classic vibe that emphasizes Filipino craftsmanship and materials.
The collection of ornaments is composed of natural abaca from Bicol and bamboo for the structure. Much like a cosmic display, the word The line comes in different colourways, from holiday colors like red and green to cooler tones like silver, blue and the natural champagne color of the materials. The abaca of the collection rubber, sinamay, and weaving techniques are sure to please people. Upon closer inspection, one will see the delicate details Mark has incorporated into each of the holiday star backdrops, from the crisscross stitching of abaca twine echoing the Crucifix to the loops for the star’s tails that reflect his jewelry work. The collection is completed with a crown of Benguet pine, adorned with red and green ribbons and a silver cone in the center.
“I want to bring back the Christmas spirit, and I needed it now,” says the designer. “I settled on the parol as a symbol of Christmas and a symbol of hope. I was hoping 2021 will have a different Christmas, more free because of the vaccinations that were happening. But I guess I underestimated the Delta variant and here we are again locked in. Nonetheless, I’m glad I released this. It puts people back in the mood.
The creation of another kind of star is Steps Dance Studio. Since its inception in 1994, the school has perfected the proteges of Filipino dance and inspired them to perform at their best. This goal did not stop even during the pandemic, with its online courses. But what makes the First Dance School special is its ability to offer anyone the chance to learn the art of dance through its foundation.
Founded in 2007, the Steps Scholarship Foundation has made it possible for young children to make their dreams come true. For a very long time, he has partnered with the Center of Excellence in Public Primary Education to find potential mentees from Tondo and Makati, and give them a chance to pursue something they are passionate about.
Currently, the Steps Scholarship Foundation supports an average of 50 dance students per year, providing them with uniforms, RAD exams, transportation and food while they continue their studies at the school. His latest success stories include two 19-year-old boys, Raye Vince Pelegrin and Elwince Magbitang, both of whom are now in New York City studying at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of Dance and apprenticing at the American Ballet Theater.
“The beauty of Steps and the beauty of the foundation is that when it comes to any art form like dance, there is neither rich nor poor, who’s from where or what,” says the founder Sofia Zobel Elizalde. “It is about children having equal opportunities in life. That’s how I like to see things, to have equal opportunities in teaching dance. So no matter where you are from, you can come to Steps.
Its next goal is to further introduce dance studies to children beyond Metro Manila. The opening of the school’s second studio located in Batangas marks the start of this journey. Called Stella Abrera Dance and Music Hall, the project came to fruition thanks to fundraising projects led by the Ayala Foundation in 2019. Going beyond the four corners of its dance halls, Steps also helped displaced dancers during the pandemic in collaboration with LikhaPH.
It’s the season
In keeping with the spirit of generosity of the season and the spirit of today bayanihan In the local arts scene, proceeds from the sale of Mark’s Enchanting Holiday Collection will be donated to the Steps Scholarship Foundation to support its initiatives.
“I have wanted to work with Sofia for a very long time because I love what she does for her young dancers,” says Mark. “I know this is a very long term program. So I tried to support it in some way.
“The arts are so important and I’m grateful to Mark for supporting dance at a time like this because we’re not allowed to do live performances until now,” Sofia recalls. “I love collaborations, and when he called me and asked if the Steps Scholarship Foundation could be the beneficiary of a small percentage of the sales, I immediately jumped on it. Mark has always been an advocate for the arts here in the Philippines and he really supports what I do. What better way to collaborate than to have these beautiful local products lyrics. “
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