Nothing ordinary about October. In fact, it's going to be a lively one for the dance world. Our three major ballet companies will offer three very distinct programs. I'm quite happy to see artistic diversity as it gives audiences an option to see all three companies even if they are just days apart. It allows each company to refine their respective brand imagery. Truly all three companies have unique qualities that make them all worthy of a full house.
Philippine Ballet Theatre offers Merry Widow as it's second offering for the season. It is a story about former lovers who are given a chance to reignite their lost love. The opportunity comes when a party reunites a rich widow named Hana Glawari with her first love Count Danilo to her first heartbreak. The story is told with light humor and ostentatious dramatics. Similar to who PBT really is, it promises to show sophisticated refinement. I reckon a sense of ownership to this flamboyant ballet. PBT is actually the only company in the Philippines who has performed this ballet. It was last seen in 2001 when the Company staged Julie Boromeo's grandiose version. This time around based on Franz Lehar's Operetta, PBT's Artistic Director will present his own version. Having seen snippets of their rehearsal it gives me the impression that their new show will be everything but simple. Interesting partnering, colorful unisons and strong story telling, that is what I foresee. Their show opens on Sept 30 and closes on October 1. Don't miss Kim Abrogena and Veronica Atienza as Hana Glawari and guest artist Martin Buczco as Count Danilo (Berlin Staatsopera).
Ballet Manila sticks to what it does best. As a second installment to their season Flights of Fantasy, the Company will be staging the ultimate white ballet "Swan Lake" which opens on October 7, 2017 and closes on October 15, 2017. The company takes on the challenge of preserving the tradition and history of the ballet by restaging a show that is close to its original form. Artistic Director Lisa Macuja herself devoted time and effort in mentoring her new breed of Swan Queens and it will be interesting to see if they will conquer the technical and artistic requirements of the ballet. The role of Odette/Odile will be played by Katherine Barkman, Abigail Oliveiro and Joan Sia while Joseph Phillips, Elpidio Magat, Romeo Peralta, Rudy de Dios and Mark Sumaylo will be taking on the role of Prince Siegfried. This dramatic story ballet glorifies the art form with its physical demands. The promise 32 fouetttes, drilled corp de ballet and the majestic music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky should be enough to draw in audiences. Swan Lake simply can't be missed. It's a ballet that should be watched not once but numerous times in one's lifetime.
October-Ballet-Fest ends with Ballet Philippines' "The Exemplars. Amada and other Dances". The most contemporary of the three companies, BP will present a mixed bill that will show pieces from their collection of oldies but goodies. Most will be modern ballets. Some of the works that will be presented were created as early as the seventies. "Amada" will make a comeback with no less than international ballerina Candice Adea. This piece is particularly special because it is serendipitous collaboration of artists who now hold the highest honors in art. The story was based on National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin's "Summer Solstice" The music used is by National Artist for Music Lucrecia Kasilag. Finally the choreography was crafted by National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes. Indeed watching this can be called eye opening education. Also included in the mixed bill is "Valse Fantasy" created by Muneca Alonte, "Ang Sultan" by Gener Caringal, "Songs of a Wayfarer" by Norman Walker and "Concertino" by Pauline Koners. Their mixed bill is pretty much establishing that Ballet Philippines. They open on October 20, 2017 and closes October 22, 2017.
Ballerinas in Rehearsals
Photos by Justin Bella Alonte
|Candice Adea rehearsing Amada|
|Denise Parungao of Ballet Philippines|
|Philippine Ballet's first full stage rehearsal|
Kim Abrogena with Martin Buczco