Cultural Center of the Philippines. Photo: Google Maps
Cultural Center of the Philippines. Photo: Google Maps

A ballet dancer raised in the United States is on a journey to discover his cultural heritage after he was selected for a starring role in a Philippine production of Cinderella which will be staged this weekend.

Kristoffer Reyes, 26, was born into a Filipino family in Sacramento and has only been to his parents’ homeland once before: when he was a child he spent two years living with relatives in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija, and still speaks fluent Tagalog, albeit with a pronounced American accent.

“I wanted to reconnect with my roots,” Reyes said of his decision to audition for the role of Prince Charming in Cinderella.

A latecomer to dancing, Reyes did not take up the discipline until he enrolled in the Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet company in California at 18, Philippine Daily Inquirer reported. Most dancers start learning before they reach age 10.

Reyes was studying for a degree in mechanical engineering at Sacramento State University when he began taking several classes a week with English-born Hayes, a graduate of the Royal Ballet.

He took on the lead role of the Prince in a performance of The Nutcracker by Hayes’ company and then felt confident enough to send an audition video to the Philippine Ballet Theater.

Reyes will be guest artist in the production of Cinderella, which is being staged Saturday and Sunday only at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

On his return to the US Reyes will have his first season performing with the Sacramento Ballet.

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