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Merceditas Mañago-Alexander is that rare dancer who has been able to forge a successful, top level, professional dance career in both ballet and the modern dance world.

 

Originally from Manila, Philippines, Ms. Mañago-Alexander culminated her twenty-two year full-time professional dance career with the world renowned company Doug Varone and Dancers ("…a company of daredevils, profoundly human super humans who dance on a dime – wheeling, darting and slicing the air at lethal looking speeds" - New York Times). She performed with Mr. Varone for five years and in 2001, she retired from full-time dancing and went back to school. She received her degree in Dance and Anthropology from SUNY Empire State College in 2005. Although she no longer performs with a company, she continues to stay active in the dance world through her own choreographic work, a vibrant teaching career, and occassional performances with choreographers whose work interests her.

Ms. Mañago-Alexander began formal ballet training at age 5 with Effie Nañas (one of the top classical ballerinas of the Philippines in the '70’s). At ages 9 and 10, Ms. Mañago-Alexander was featured as "Clara" in Ballet Philippines’ productions of "The Nutcracker Ballet," two years in a row. After that Ballet Philippines, under the direction of Alice Reyes, invited her to apprentice and because she showed great talent and enthusiasm, was promoted quickly to principal roles in three years time. She danced leading roles in ballets such as "Swan Lake," "Sleeping Beauty," "Carmen," "Paquita," "Giselle," "Napoli," "La Bayadere," "Don Quixote," and many other neo-classical and contemporary works by local and guest artists.

At age 18, The University of the Philippines' President's Committee on Culture and the Arts gave her the recognition of "Outstanding Student Artist Award" in 1986 for representing her country at the Third International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS. She moved to New York that same year and has since
danced with Feld Ballets/NY (Ballet Tech), Dennis Wayne's Dancers, Connecticut Ballet, Ballet Hispanico of NY, Elisa Monte Dance Company (Monte/Brown), Pepatian, Doug Varone and Dancers, Cherylyn Lavagnino and many others. She has performed and taught extensively in North and South America, Europe, North Africa, and Asia. Ms. Mañago-Alexander has also presented her choreographic work at Dixon Place, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Free Range Arts, Dance Plus - Rutgers faculty series, and at John Jay College.

Ms. Mañago-Alexander is currently on faculty at Sarah Lawrence College teaching ballet, and at 92nd St. Y teaching both ballet and contemporary dance. She has also taught at The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, Marymount College in Manhattan, Hollins College (Roanoke, VA), NYU-Tisch School for the Performing Arts (New York, N.Y.), Cleveland State University and Cleveland City Dance Center (Cleveland, OH). Merceditas co-authored the curriculum of the First Steps program at The Ailey® School and taught there for seven years. She ran her own contemporary movement class at Sandra Cameron Dance Center (Soho, NYC) for two years (2002-2004), and before then, also taught at Danspace Center, Mark Morris Dance Center, Movement Research, and Orchestra of St. Luke's.

 

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