Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hugot Pieces (

I've written about  the 2016   but was not able to talk about my FEELINGS. And because I am truly a sentimental fool, here goes.

Sometimes, art leaves an imprint. It affects the soul. I saw   "Alas Tres" Choreographed by Gabvelle Ray Selga during the  Wifi and  I cried,... a lot. It was the last piece of Segment A and when the lights opened, I was reduced to mush,  smiling but hardly able to speak. 

 A video is more appropriate in detailing what occurred but I will attempt anyway.   A  simple man (who I will call Dingdong )  sat   in a bench  and started speaking as if he were chatting with someone. He spoke about snippets of his life  mentioning family along the way. Almost gracefully he transitioned into incorporating the bench into his little stories.    The chatter opened the book of stories but the bench took us to every chapter.   Dingdong introduced a certain someone by way of stories and eventually by way of movement.  They shared the bench in every way possible, at the sari sari store, at home, in bed. As they shared the prop, the theatrics and the movement transported me into a very real home. 



Suddenly I felt like I was a guest in their sala witnessing their intimacy bit by bit. The girl nagged, Dingdong obliged.  The girl pushed, he accepted the floor. The girl cleaned, he cleaned with her. The girl had coffee, he had coffee. Dingdong always followed. He never led but he never  complained. One could say he was even happy to do everything or for that matter, anything for her. Love, hate, love, hate, tango of a relationship as some would say. It was clear, he loved her so. It reminded me of Dolphy's iconic John and Marsha tv show. Cute and comical it was. 

But this story as I mentioned does not end on a happy note. Her strides started to  falter and she stopped pushing him away and started pulling him towards her body. She  leaned towards him, needing him  with every step she took. No longer demanding anything she reached out to him in an adagio of pain. He always answered, .... always. And as the lights went dim he went back to where  his bench used to lay and started  what would be the ending to this story. He started begging "Panahon. Kahit 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 10 minutes Wag muna ngayon. Hindi pa ko handa"........... and  in the final moments of his piece as he took took his final pose, a voice over said " Handa na ko. Pasabi nalang sa kanya Lord na andito na ko sa langit, masaya na so maging masaya na rin sana siya jan sa lupa. Alam mo sa lahat ng nakwento ko, sa amin ang pinakapaborito ko. Pakisabi nlang, salamat sa lahat". It was him who left her after all. He loved her greatly until the end, never ever showing any weakness, only that he would be there to hold her hand while he could. He cherished every moment and fought death hard. 



This piece spoke to me because  the heart was what shaped it. This piece did not bag any prize.  But it won in my heart because it brought me to a familiar place. It brought me to a moment in time where I was praying so hard to God screaming silently " Not yet. Not now".  Triggered by the story telling, flashbacks came rushing one after the other. I remembered  the intensity of loving someone I was about to lose. I remembered not minding  the sacrifices that came with it. Lastly,  I remembered the blow of death and the enduring pain of loss. The piece brought me tears ( It still does actually) because it was too real for comfort.  But it also brought me closure.That has not really put a stop to the crying but it does soothe me.  Death separates people but allows love to endure. Love indeed is powerful, it moves people to appreciate the good, to understand, to forgive, to accept. It moves people to let go. 

I believe that some art can heal the soul. This certainly healed mine. 

So thank you Mr. Selga for allowing us to enjoy the movement you have so cleverly created. Thank you for choosing to share your heart with  me and the rest of the audience. It was a precious embrace that I so badly needed. Thank you for saying what I needed to hear.  Bravo. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sharing Your Life with Others Heals

          I realized just now that I never got to publish this.

           Written May 5, 2016 
I haven't written anything in awhile. I was too afraid to see how I felt in words. I didn't quite want to affirm  that the past few months have literally punctured me.  The journey towards loss, the everyday fatigue, the stress that comes with trying to be nice and the frustration that comes with imperfection have worn me down. A couple of weeks ago, the tough luck finally ended  and one of my passions brought me so much joy. I saw my beautiful dancers on stage positively radiant during their International Dance Day performance, I was humbled. I was reminded that blessings don't stop coming. They are part of the journey but it is a constant choice to see and appreciate them even when there are negatives that come  with it. It is a choice  not to be paralyzed. And in this instance, sharing my life with these ballerinas has started the healing. And so in my heart, I silently thank my Hampton Court Ballerinas for allowing me to feel this much joy. Moving forward, with a hopeful heart :) 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

MANILA TIMES: Rite of Passage, Ballet Philippines' "Bagong Sayaw"


In 1990, Ballet Philippines 2 (BP2) was formed to legitimize the emerging artistry of the company’s young talents, where they were allowed to explore choreography and technique at a very radical pace. They were given opportunities to create art through projects like “Neo Filipino” and “Bagong Sayaw” where the dancers reintroduce themselves to the public as contemporary dance collaborators.

The Ballet Philippines of the present seems intent on using the same formula for these millennial times, thus the return of “Bagong Sayaw.”

On September 10, six dancer-choreographers — Al Bernard Garcia, Erl Sorilla, Bonifacio Guerrero Jr., Gia Gequinto, Danilo Dayo Jr., Louise John Ababon — were given an opportunity to showcase their concepts at the Cultural Center’s experimental theatre. The current BP 2 dancers were the co­lors to their canvas. While all pieces showed promise, two works stood out.

Garcia’s purposeful simplicity

Al Bernard Garcia presented “Tau-luwa”, the story of an imagined rural community, which was impressive in its purposeful refusal to find inspiration from the easily accessible, instead choosing to dig deep and create something new out of what’s forgotten or ignored. Equipped with a background in folk dance and his research on tribal dance, he created nuances to his movement by borrowing accents from different tribes like the cele­brated use of the siosay (palm leaves) from the Suba­nen tribe and the malong from the Tiboli.



Garcia was quite the storyteller as he played with courtship, marriage, and family while using the thread of movement. Derived from the words tao and kaluluwa,“Tau-Luwa” explores the connection of tribal faith to the earthly journey of people,at the forefront of which were his principal characters, a man and woman that showed the dynamics of romantic relationships. At one point both characters were joined in a mirage of a pas de deux that used them along in a slow careful process of connecting the couple, until they were finally moving as one person, signifying togetherness and commitment — a marriage — executed through gradually intensifying extensions and lifts.


Developing the story through vignettes that portrayed the different roles people play within the community,Garcia allowed for this unfolding to engage the audience more intimately as the narrative progressed. His aesthetic was clean and consistent, and he chose purposeful simplicity over technicolored tricks. Every movement held a specific emotion, all in all making “Tao-luwa” an effort worthy of recognition.

Sorilla’s beautiful chaos
Erl Sorilla, one of BP’s more reliable dancers and rising choreographers closed the show with “Langit / Lupa.” A discussion of the pursuit of heaven in modern times, this piece ironically refuses abstraction. Instead it is a bold expression of distaste over how people are easily distracted by self-righteousness and crab mentality, at the same time that it highlights the paralyzing effect of practicing superficial faith. Using commendable synchronicity, Sorilla introduced his sinners by placing them all on a long bench performing a decorative repetition of movements, all seemingly asking for salvation in one breath. This escalates to reveal the dancers showing pain in the process of purging, whispering their individual prayers, until a dancer silenced the audience with a scream of Patawad! The dancers in organized chaos lift up their faith despite the pain. The scene intensifies as the community of sinners start destroying each other, and the benches are transformed into a stairway to heaven, sinners fighting for their chance to receive salvation.



Sorilla succeeded in presenting an intricate display of dynamic mobility. There was a delectable selection of contradicting movements, contributing to this beautiful chaos. Pushing, pulling, jumping, crawling, sli­ding—everything was in this electrically charged choreography that won the crowd over. Having seen Sorilla’s previous pieces, the intent to emotionally invest in each of his pieces is against apparent here. Definitely one to watch out for, Sorilla continues on his steady rise.


Uplifting excitement
While not all the choreographers rose to the challenge of creating a masterpiece worthy of a bigger stage, overall, “Bagong Sayaw” 2016 was enjoyable to watch, and the potential on stage was uplifting.

Garcia’s and Sorilla’s worksprove that “Bagong Sayaw” can still be seen as a rite of passage, and that at least for these two choreographers, it signals a readiness to embark on a higher level of artistry and creativity.

As with Dwight Rodrigazo, Gerard Mercado, and Alden Lugnasin, I have high hopes that Garcia and Sorilla will in similar fashion follow their footsteps and make local dance a more exciting place to thrive in.