OSIAS “Shaz” Barroso Jr., one of the country’s premier ballet dancers and a former UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe member, died on Dec. 16 following a lingering illness. He was 58. 

His death was announced in a Dec. 18 Facebook post by Ballet Manila, where he was a founding member. 

Barroso took up communication arts at UST. While he was studying at the University, he began training at the Vella C. Damian School of Dance and the Dance Concert Company of the late Eric V. Cruz. 

Barroso eventually became the co-artistic director of Ballet Manila alongside Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, the first Philippine-based prima ballerina and his longtime dancing partner. 

“He was a gallant danseur who presented his ballerina with so much care and attention,” said Macuja-Elizalde in an interview with PeopleAsia. “He always said that a danseur’s primary job was to help his ballerina shine — and this was the same attitude he imparted to all his male students.”

“[W]e have gone through the best and the worst of times together. He is irreplaceable and I will always be grateful for him,” she added. 

Barroso was dubbed the “ballerina’s prince” because of his skill in partnering with ballerinas during performances.

He took lead roles in classics like “Les Sylphides” (as the Poet), “Don Quixote” (as Basilio), and “Romeo and Juliet” (as Romeo).

Learning the Russian Vaganova training method from Macuja-Elizalde, he also earned the roles of Siegfried in “Swan Lake,” Albrecht in “Giselle,” Solor in “La Bayadere,” and Conrad in “Le Corsaire.”

Later in his career, Barroso shifted to choreography, producing pieces like “Ang Prinsipe ng mga Ibon,” “In Quest,” “Gabriela ng Vigan,” and “Pinocchio.”

Barroso hung up his dancing shoes in 2009 and retired from Ballet Manila in 2021 after suffering a stroke. 

The dance company staged a tribute concert for him in October, “Dance for Shaz: A Celebration of a Life in Dance.”

For his contributions to Philippine performing arts, Barroso was feted the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award for Dance by the City of Manila in 2006. 

He received the AB Gantimpala for the Arts award in 2010 from the Faculty of Arts and Letters and The Outstanding Thomasian Alumnus Award (TOTAL) from the University in 2014. 

Barroso’s wake was held from Dec. 18 to 21 at St. Peter Chapels in Quezon City. His remains were cremated on Dec. 22. 


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