Ballet Philippines' (BP) 44th Season
Spinning new twists to well-loved classics
By Nico Erle Ciriaco
Ballet Philippines (BP) opens its 44th season with the classical romantic tragedy, Giselle. An overwhelming story of loss, forgiveness, and love beyond death, premiere danseur Nonoy Froilan re-stages one of ballet’s greatest stories in an entirely new production slated on August 16-18 at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.
“Giselle is my favorite ballet piece. But it is not normally mounted because of logistics and casting issues. It needs maturity and technique to tackle. I’ve redone the production with colors and costumes. We’ve recycled some of our old stuff and borrowed a few. The worn out look of the costumes brings texture to the show. We wanted authentic costumes that can be worn outside the theater; where people can see it and realize they don’t look ‘costumey’ at all. Even our props are real!
“Repetition cures problems on fluidity of execution. Dancers only need to work double time to perfect certain movements. New works are experimental. You don’t know if it’ll work or not. You’ll find out only when it’s finally staged,” declared Nonoy. In his younger years, the premiere danseur played the male lead, Albrecht, to at least four Giselles: Ester Quimpo, Anna Villadolid, Lisa Macuja, and Yoko Morishita.
In celebration of the 150th natal anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, the dance musical [rock] Supremo takes center-stage on Sept. 20-22 and 27-29 at the CCP Little Theater. The life of this valiant and visionary hero will be celebrated in a study of his romantic and revolutionary life. Integrated with a multimedia landscape, this collaboration with Rock Ed is co-presented by the National Historical Commission and the National Commission on Culture & the Arts. It features the talent and music of ten popular bands including Radioactive Sago Project, Gloc-9 and Sandwich, with songwriters Abay, Diego Mapa, Kai Honasan, and Francis de Veyra among others.
For the Yuletide season, Nonoy’s better half, Edna Vida-Froilan, will present her take on the Charles Dicken’s popular novel “A Christmas Carol” from Nov. 29 through Dec. 8 at the CCP Main Theater. The acclaimed choreographer returns to BP equipped with new and fresh insights; after a 6-month arts tour in New York City through the Asia Cultural Council.
“I inserted new stuff in the Christmas Carol that’s inspired from my recent Big Apple experience. I’m going out of my comfort zone, my box, and reached out to the child in me. It’s a like a dream where there’s no particular time frame. I struggled to un-Scrooge myself; fusing elements of modern ballet and hip-hop into the choreography,” shared Edna.
Enliven the spirit of the coming holidays through the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his belated – or, in this case, advanced – appreciation of the Christmas spirit.
The season closes, aptly, with “The Art of Dance” in February 2014. A mixed bill of new and revived works from noted guest choreographers, BP’s seasonal Gala will feature exciting pieces that showcase the company’s twin mastery of classical and contemporary ballet.
Founded in 1969 by Alice Reyes, with the support of Eddie Elejar and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), BP is widely recognized today as a cornerstone of the Filipino cultural identity. Its audience represents a cross-section of Metro Manila’s populace and includes visitors from around the archipelago and around the globe. Each year, outreach and educational programs introduce new generations of viewers not only to dance, but also to music and visual art as well.
BP’s official school, the CCP Dance School, continues to produce dancers of international caliber. As the dance company in residence at the CCP, BP is globally acknowledged as the country’s flagship company in ballet and contemporary dance. With a treasure trove of over 400 works, BP’s wide-ranging and eclectic repertory is unparalleled in Asia. From full-length classical ballets and internationally recognized masterworks to indigenous tales of Filipino folklore and social issues, the company weaves a colorful tapestry of the Philippines’ rich and diverse cultural heritage.
The company’s accolades, coupled with the generous and prestigious support of numerous local and national funding sources, have dramatically strengthened BP’s position as a world-class ballet company with the national, regional and international arts community. As the Philippines’ premier dance company, BP continues its vision of nurturing the best of Filipino talents, in a year-long program of professional and developmental dance.
The company is ably led by its president, Margie Moran-Floirendo, and artistic director Paul Morales as they continue to take the company to greater heights. BP is a Philippine Council for NGO Certification (PCNC) accredited donee/recipient foundation.
“We still do our annual fundraiser activities. Sixty per cent of our students at the Dance Academy are recipients of our scholarship grants. Some of our scholars eventually go on to finish a degree at St. Benilde. For the 45th season, we will be presenting Swan Lake and Agnes Locsin’s “La Revolucion Filipina,” enthused the former Miss Universe.
For inquiries, simply visit www.ballet.ph or call the BP office through tel. no. 551-1003. For ticket reservations, you may call the CCP box office at 832-3704 or TicketWorld at 891-9999.