Tiffany, born and raised in Manila, Philippines, first studied ballet at the Philippine Ballet Theatre Conservatoire, school to the Philippine Ballet Theatre (PBT), where she was a young company apprentice for years and danced in the corps de ballet in such ballets as Don Quixote, Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Madame Butterfly, Cinderella, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Carmina Burana, Serenade and many others before she was 15 years old and made a company member.
She was performing as a soloist with the company by the time she was 16, and by then had worked closely with San Francisco-based Filipino-American choreographer Enrico Labayen and danced in several of his contemporary and modern ballets. She was indelibly molded by the years she danced under Labayen as well as under Ballet Philippines principal Katherine Sanchez-Trofeo and PBT artistic director Ronilo Jaynario.
She trained briefly at the LINES Ballet School as well as at Ballet Philippines, performing a solo with the latter in their company production of Rizal Revisited, before she returned to PBT and was promoted to principal in 2010. As principal, she danced the leads in Swan Lake and the Paquita and Raymonda Grand Pas Classiques, the Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker, Death in Carmina Burana, the lead concubine in Romeo & Juliet, and various leads in several of Jaynario's neoclassical ballets. She performed as a guest with several ballet schools in Manila, as well as with Maniya Barredo's Metropolitan Ballet Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.
In the spring of 2012 she moved to New York City, where she has since been dancing as a soloist with Ballet Next. In the company's Fall 2012 season at the Joyce, Tiffany was featured in Alison Cook Beatty's Tintinnabuli, about which Alastair Macaulay wrote in the New York Times, "The most intense moment ... was delivered strongly by Tiffany Mangulabnan, in a thrashing solo." She has since also performed in new ballets by Mauro Bigonzetti, Brian Reeder, Katarzyna Kozielska, Tobin Eason, and artistic director Michele Wiles. She also performs with Stuart Loungway's Terra Firma Dance Theatre.
Tackled the lead in Swan Lake, my first full-length ballet as a principal with the Philippine Ballet Theatre, when I was 20 years old and feeling daunted. Won 2nd Place (the highest awarded to a female competitor that year) in the Senior Dance Division of the 2010 National Music Competition for Young Artists in the Philippines. Fled my established place in the Philippine dance world (as well as my home and comfort zone) to see if there could be a place for me elsewhere, to explore new territory and new ideas, to work with and learn from new and brilliant artists...And here I am now, doing exactly that!
FIRST THING THAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU SAY “CAPEZIO”
My first pair of pointe shoes (Contemporas! I was nine and nowhere near ready for them) - and the nostalgic little Capezio store in Manila where I got them (and where every little dance student still goes, after all these years, for his or her first pair of ballet slippers, pointe shoes, tights, and everything else).
FAVORITE CAPEZIO ITEM
My custom-made Contempora pointe shoes, of course, which make me and my feet very happy. They're reliable and consistent...and so generously sponsored by Capezio for us at Ballet Next. Thank you, Capezio!
BIGGEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR OTHER DANCERS
Be an honest dancer - internally and externally - keep your artistic integrity intact, and always be generous. Dance for other people - not for that fleeting idea of fame, which fades anyway. Dance because you want to experience something and because you want other people to experience it with you or through you - not because you want to be recognized or praised. I think dance, and all art for that matter, is more personally fulfilling for the artist when it comes from this kind of honest place - and also somehow bigger, and more whole, at the same time.
UNUSUAL FACT/LOVE/HABIT/GOAL/ABILITY THAT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW
I can get carried away with my writing once I get started. All my friends and family know this from my novel-like emails. I was a journalism major in college, but I wanted to study literature - and also fine arts. So I'm a would-be writer and an almost-artist. I'm passionate about too many things, perhaps, and I want to travel and soak up the whole, vast, crazy world.