Whenever Denise Parungao-Phillips sets foot on stage, audiences simply watch in awe. The seasoned dancer moves with such grace and effortlessness as if the titular role in Swan Lake was made for her. So it’s no surprise that she was given the role of Principal Dancer at Ballet Philippines so early in her career. Her talent has earned her the prestigious Luva Adameit Award at the National Music Competition for Young Artists, and she’s even toured internationally as a sought-after guest dancer for foreign companies. She’s simply a star in her own right.
Having been dressed in gorgeous tutus and flowy dresses for various repertoires, it’s only natural to expect her to want something as lavish for her wedding pre-pandemic back in January 2020. But instead of a blinding and bedazzled frock worthy of the theater, the ballerina opted for something simple but equally as head-turning. “I love my back, I believe it’s the sexiest part of my body. And hey, it’s my wedding, so I’m going to flaunt it,” Denise tells Preview.
She picked a custom dress from Ivory and White—the final design was actually a combination of two existing RTW gowns the boutique had on-hand. “I had five options, I tried Libby (the name of gown) second to the last. I saw the flow of the skirt and the trail—the simplicity with a hint of sparkles just got me. It’s my personality plus my mom loved it, so, done! Then I tried one last option, I didn’t like it but it had this gorgeous low back with beadwork. I thought 'Well, our guests will see my back for the most part (in the church), so it should be the best part of the gown," she shares.
True enough, Denise’s custom gown turned out to showcase the best parts of both dresses she initially picked. The barely-there back definitely flaunted the strength and muscles she’s maintained throughout her ballet career, so why hide it, right?
Having married Ballet Philippines' Guest Artist and Choreographer Joseph Phillips, one would think there would be more “ballet” elements at their wedding, but Denise opted out. “We wanted our wedding more relaxed and not look like a show…more of a reflection of our personalities not our profession. At least for once in our lifetime.”
Her husband is American, but the couple wanted to put the Philippines first above everything else when they tied the knot. “We wanted to make sure that my heritage flaunted in our union that’s why we chose San Agustin Church and Barbara’s. The men wore barongs, while my mom wore a filipiniana. The color theme was dusty pink to neutrals (I went for mismatched bridesmaid dresses) and then lots of greenery and candles in the reception. That’s the closest I can get to achieve a rustic-themed wedding, too!”
“My mom loved the gown and she’s everything to me. The gown for me is her, she will always be part of me,” she adds and at the end of the day, if you’re dress also means a lot to the people you love, it’s definitely a keeper.