Hazel (MFA) earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Major in Dance Performance and Choreography. Hazel holds the distinction as a Fulbright Award recipient completing two projects with dance programs at the University of the Philippines(UP) and Taipei National University of the Arts(TNUA). The Fulbright Program is one of the most prestigious awards programs worldwide. A former Principal Dancer of Ballet Philippines(BP), Hazel essayed lead roles, most notably Kitri in Don Quixote; Lisa in Ang Pilya (Filipino adaptation of La Fille Mal Gardee); Carmen in Carmen; Myrtha in Giselle; Gamzatti in La Bayadere, to name a few. Hazel earned her Diploma in Creative and Performing Musical Arts from the UP College of Music Dance Program headed by renowned author, choreographer, critic and educator Steve(Basilio) Villaruz. She is an alumna of St. Theresa’s College, Q.C. She learned her first steps with Sony Lopez-Gonzalez and later trained in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus under esteemed ballet expert Felicitas Radaic. Having performed internationally since 14 years of age with Dance Theatre Philippines and BP, she worked or studied with world-renowned guest ballet masters and choreographers crediting William Morgan and Alice Reyes as major influences in her professional dance career. Hazel worked with Vakhtang Chabukiani, Armin Wild, Luminita Dumitrescu, Norman Walker, Michael Vernon, Laura Alonso, David Blair, Fernand Nault, Lawrence Rhodes, Lucas Hoving, Betty Jones, Cora Iñigo, Leon Koning, Lane Gifford, Gener Caringal, Tony Fabella, Loulie Dalupan, Sonia Domingo, Edna Vida and Denisa Reyes, among others. She also had the privilege of performing alongside famous dancers Yoko Morishita, Fernando Bujones, Alicia Alonso, Patrick Bissell, Martin Van Hamel, Leslie Brown, Joyce Cuoco, Julio Bocca and Wes Chapman. In 1987, Hazel was one of the featured BP principal artists in a gala with Stars of American Ballet Theatre.
Teaching and directing credits include: Ballet Faculty, Singapore School of the Arts(SOTA); Ballet Mistress, Michigan Ballet Academy; Ballet Professor, Alma College; Faculty, Texas Christian University and Texas Ballet Theatre academy; Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; Dance Lecturer, University of North Texas and UP; Ballet Mistress of Ballet Memphis; Artistic Director of Ballet Lubbock; and guest faculty at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet(CPYB) Summer Workshop. Hazel completed Pilates Mat II by Oasis Mind-Body Conditioning Center, teacher’s intensive training in Stott Pilates Mat (beginning-advanced) & Reformer (essential-intermediate), Teachers Training Intensive at CPYB and Yoga Medics Therapeutic Training, Module 1. Other teaching/ choreographic credits: Boulder Ballet/ Boulder Arts Academy, BP, Ballet Manila, Ballet David Campos (formerly Ballet Ciutat de Barcelona) in Spain, University of Colorado in Boulder, Texas Tech University, Dance West, Youth Ballet Colorado, Westlake School of the Performing Arts.In addition to the esteemed Fulbright Program,
Hazel’s other grants and awards include the Asian Cultural Council of New York; Colorado Council on the Arts Director’s Grant; Cultural Center of the Philippines Young Artists Foundation; CCP Choreographers Showcase; Madame Luva Adameit Choreographic Award in Dance by the University of the Philippines; Gem of the Race Award by Distinct Alliance in National Choreographic Endeavors; and International Choreographers Workshop by the Theatre Institute of Germany and the American Dance Festival in North Carolina. Hazel was an “A” student at NYU, a College Scholar at U.P., member of the prestigious Muphi Epsilon International Music Sorority and, along with another dance major, topped her Music Theory class comprised of music majors. Her choreography was selected by the UMass Dance Department to represent them in the 2009 American College Dance Festival, New England Chapter.
Hazel’s critically-acclaimed choreographies include Cinderella, Synchronicity, Green, Dracula, Daragang Magayon, Deconstructing Gershwin, Firebird, Nutcracker, Rite of Spring & Carmen suite (video recordings of choreographies and a paper on Daragang Magayon from the 1991 Manila International Dance Conference are represented in the collection of the New York Public Library’s Dance Division). As one of only seven Finalists in the 1st International Competition of Classical Choreography sponsored by the city of Paris, dance critic Rene Sirvin, singled her out in his review in France’s premiere newspaper, Le Figaro, saying: “from the seven competitors, only one showed real invention and originality, Hazel Sabas-Gower, whose six excellent dancers of Ballet Memphis performed the ingenious choreography Deconstructing Gershwin…” After a national search, she was one of four choreographers selected to participate in CPYB’s ChoreoPlan 2011; her new creation titled “Green” was later performed in CPYB’s June Series 2011. After its successful premiere, Hazel was later invited to stage “Green” for Ballet Manila, Dance Theatre of Tennessee and Steps Dance Studio. A highly regarded and sought-after teacher and choreographer in both ballet and contemporary dance, she has been invited to guest with schools and companies internationally. Recent projects include new work titled “Synchronicity” for Ballet Academy East in New York premiered at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre, the second Fulbright project at TNUA in Taiwan, summer guest teaching at The Dallas Conservatory, CPYB and Greater York Center for Dance Education and commissioned work “Sinderela” for Ballet Manila.
In her quest to continue passing on the joy of dance, Hazel recently taught, coached and choreographed in the Philippines. She was a guest at Dance Theatre Arts, Perry Sevidal Ballet, Cavite National High School of the Arts Special Program for the Arts, Teatro Baile de Cavite and Ballet Philippines.