Thursday, November 23, 2017

Back to Back Ballets this Holiday Season

It dawned on me that every company just like a snowflake is gloriously unique even if they fall to the ground at the same time and in the same way. I would think this will hold true for the back to back ballets following Philippine Ballet Theatre's recently concluded Nutcracker. There's more than enough reason to see both Ballet Philippines' and Ballet Manila's year-enders.

Up first is Ballet Manila's world premiere of Snow White crafted by Lisa Macuja Elizalde. This is her second attempt to independently create a full ballet. Packaged as a children's ballet it promises a colorful display of mystic magic. A fairy tale with a happy ending should be fun for the young and old. The  ballet's music arranged by Von De Guzman is a medley of different musical inspirations including nursery rhymes. This is meant to captivate audiences as young as two years old. Casted as Snow White are Katherine Barkman, Hee Won Cho and Joan Sia. The three beauties are so different from each other with fine qualities to be excited about. I wonder which one will be the fairest of them all? Paired  with them are  Joseph Phillips, Romeo Peralta and Elpidio Magat whose princely nature will likely awaken not just Snow White but the audience as well. Snow White's premiere is on November 25, 2017 and closes on December 3, 2017 at the Aliw Theatre.


Coinciding with Ballet Manila's second weekend is the Filipinized version of Nutcracker offered by Ballet Philippines. BP has had a very long history with Nutcracker and both Alice Reyes and Edna Vida have presented their own versions in 1982 and 1987 respectively. The show will  feature the collaboration of National Artist Alice Reyes and Edna Vida which should be interesting. Using the original design of the late National Artist Salvador Bernal, Ballet Philippines will transport us to Christmas in the 1920's setting. The Company has invited Nobuo Fujino (formerly a Senior Artist at the Australian Ballet and Principal with Hong Kong Ballet) to dance the role of the Nutcracker Prince. He will be partnering Denise Parungao who plays the role of Sugarplum Fairy. Alternating with Parungao is resident guest artist Candice Adea and company member Jemima Reyes. They will be partnered by Lester Reguindin and Victor Maguad respectively.


Nobuo Fujino

I fully expect the next couple of weeks to be filled with holiday cheer with fairy tales and happy endings coming our way. Encouraging everyone to join me in indulging in something joyful for a change. Take that trip to the theatre! See you there!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hong Kong Ballet's Le Corsaire and Newly Found Treasures

Note : All performance photos are by Conrad Dy-Liacco

Septime Webre who stands as the new Artistic Director of the company is  a vibrant figure that represents energy and innovation. The astonishing  growth he brought Washington Ballet and their local community is of epic proportion. If his past performance is any indication of his commitment to fresh ideas, then a similar growth spurt should be expected for Hong Kong Ballet. It seems that his  leadership is all about  empowerment of creativity. It is my impression that creativity is his tool in reaching out to more people and connecting them through art. His first steps are quite telling.  This spirited man quickly made a very imposing good impression. So far he has enhanced the presence of the Company by social media activation with live feeds, teasers, visual click baits. While these are normal marketing tools, the Company's approach is very fresh, peppered with youth, charm and yes even humor.  He has captured  the attention of a new younger market by reintroducing  Hong Kong Ballet as an international player  who is inspiring yet RELATABLE.  He has also  brought inspiring guest artists and teachers  to join the Company productions (Don Quixote and most recently Le Corsaire)  enhancing the experience of both the dancers and their audiences. He has likewise improved their community connection by adding more  limited run workshops for dancers and balletomanes to enjoy.  There are pre-show, mid show and  post show activities for ticket buyers. He even opened the shows with speeches and ended them by facilitating meet and greets with the cast. His approach I believe is to create meaningful experiences WITH the Company. Through his efforts, the Company's reach is expanding and the good thing is what he has to show is good. His kick off efforts is a spanking good start. Madeleine Onne (who is also a dance visionary) is probably smiling knowing what she planned for 2017 is being carried out marvelously. 

The Company recently offered their premiere of "Le Corsaire" which was restaged by Anna Marie Holmes  after the choreography of Marius Petipa. Julio Bocca was also commissioned to enhance the authenticity of the performances. The story revolves around the adventures of a pirate named Conrad who needed to rescue his love interest the slave girl Medora. 

This ballet is not  famous because of the narrative. Instead it is popular because of the virtuoso type dancing that is required of the dancers. Hong Kong Ballet delivered and impressed crowds with their dependable technique and polished artistry. The first weekend shows featured renowned guest artists  but the Company's own dancers did not fall behind. Their talent remained in the spotlight. 

Maria Kotchekova as Medora 
Matthew Golding as Conrad

The November 4 matinee show featured Matthew Golding  as Conrad and JIN Yao as Medora. Golding was positively golden. His effortless extended  leaps were consistently buoyant. He tickled the audiences with multiple five rotation pirouettes. There is an  obvious tenacity in his movements making his pirate  swagger believable.   JIN  as Medora was every bit a seasoned Principal Dancer. Her  entrances were done with her body always opening up graciously to the audience. Medora's sequences include numerous complicated fouettes and corner turns but she succeeded   in complying with the technical demands. Plucked from the Corp De Ballet were WANG Qingxin who played Gulnare and Garry Corpuz as Lankendem.  Wang has everything it takes to be a star. She is blessed with beauty, grace and a flexible body. However, as Gulnare I could feel her nerves. She faltered in her corner turns and her fouettes. Often her movements during partnering felt tentative. While she was beautiful in every scene, her matinee performance was definitely far from flawless. Corpuz' performance was unexpected as he is a new recruit from the Philippines.  He delivered crisp and clean triple pirouettes   and jumps that can be likened to Golding's. Fully extended grand jetes, consistent tours en passe made his debut solid. Together, they make a good pair, their body types are complementary. I feel that this match up will have repeats in the near future. LI  Lin surprised me as he seemed meek but he was   dynamic as the slave and was able to  pull of his variation with ease.  Jonathan Spigner was energetic as Birbanto but his troubles with the Orchestra were quite distracting. The Odalisque is one of the highlights of the ballet and the matinee trio was triumphant. Especially brilliant was the performance of Japanese dancer Ayano Haneishi who did six sets of strong triple pirouettes in her variation. She left a very strong impression of dependability. 

Garry Corpuz as Lankendem and WANG Quingxin as Gulnare 

Matthew Golding as Conrad , JIN Yao as Medora and LL Jiabo as Ali

The gala show featured the world renowned  Maria Kotchekova as Medora and Wei Wei as Conrad. Kotchekova's version was only slightly different from that of JIN, Yao  but it seemed like I was watching a totally different show. I would say it was her  brazen approach to movement that  made  the difference.  She leaps and launches into lifts with no hesitation. Her lightness made her upside down fish dive so impressive. Her port de bras more than made up  for her size and she translated them into glorious sweeping movements that brought the audiences to an alternate reality.   Ultimately it was how she commanded her body to tell the story that made her moments on stage special. The only problem with her performance is the obvious height difference between Wei Wei and her. She reached only  the danseur's  shoulders  and the imbalance between a dynamic small ballerina and a gentle giant  was  unsettling. Perhaps someone like Principal dancer Shen Jie would have been a better match. In contrast, XIA, Jun and YE Feifei as Lankendem and Gulnare created magic. Their  pas de deux in Act 1 was a picture of seamless partnership. Individually, they also delivered sparkling performances. YE, Fei Fei's extensions were picture perfect. As Gulnare she appeared fragile but her movements were strong and solid.  She seemed to glide through the floor as she did her diagonal fouettes and double piques and lame ducks. With minimal effort she executed steps with the right breath and grace.  The performance of her Lankendem was entertaining. XIA is not only a strong dancer with hyper extended legs. He is  a great  actor with dominating presence. His approach was flashy and deliciously wicked.  WANG, Qingxin fully redeemed herself when she danced Odalisque. She was absolutely luminous in her variation. She likewise did a series of commendable triple pirouettes. This time she allowed the audience to fully enjoy her performance. Shen Jie as Birbanto exhibited nonchalant maturity in his steps. Eliciting cheers from the audience was the spectacular performance of  Li Jiabo as the slave Ali.. His inverted 540 thrilled the audience making them clap enthusiastically mid variation.  His ala second turns were fast yet controlled and his manege energetic

Maria Kotchekova as Medora and WEI Wei as Conrad 

YE Fei Fei as Gulnare and XIA Jun as Lankendem 

Shen Jie as Birbanto 

The cast is not the only thing exceptional about this show.  Hugo Milan outdid himself with the sets and costumes.  The sets had a  modern take  yet  it did not compromise the details. In a muted way it blends in fantasy into the visuals. For instance the pirate cave  usually depicted as a dark earthy cave was replaced by a bejeweled enclosed space emphasizing the accumulated treasures of the pirates.  A gorgeous view of the moon decorated stage allowing for picturesque moments during the pas de deuxs. The transformation of the palace to the jardin was magical. The lights hit the golden pillars and in a mesmerizing blur transformed into a completely different set. Similarly the costumes he created were couture-like creations with rich details. The show ended with the  ship sinking  but it was cleverly executed using the perspective of the audience.  Seeing the water projected from front and the back of the stage created an almost inclusive three dimensional experience. 

Hong Kong Ballet's  "Le Corsaire" is obviously a product of harmonious collaboration. Webre succeeded in empowering everyone's creativity. The influence of Anna Marie Holmes and Julio Bocca  can be seen in the Company's passionate display of artistry on stage. The sets and costumes contributed greatly in adding color to the story. The interactive experience before and after the shows also brought great joy. This performance raises the bar for Hong Kong Ballet. Not only has Webre proven that he is a precious new treasure, he has also shown that he has the eye to see which people will shine  in the spotlight.   If he can keep producing shows with the same vigor,  Hong Kong Ballet's new chapter will be quite an interesting one.  There will be much to look forward to. 

Note : All interview photographs were shot by the author Erica Marquez Jacinto

Septime Webre and Matthew Golding
"This is the first time that I was given an opportunity to get to know the Company"

Matthew Golding with Ll  Lin

" Le Corsaire is a very technical ballet. For me it is even harder than Swan Lake because  you are just turning from Act 1 until the end. There so much to think about while telling the story"


DONG, Ruixue

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Creativity Thrives at the Koryolab

Andy Warhol, the famous artist once said that "Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it". While there is a whole lot of truth in that, more often than not, people don't get the chance to see beautiful things because of the lack of opportunities. Thankfully there are visionaries like Myra Beltran and Denisa Reyes who have made it their advocacy to demand creativity from the new generation of aspiring and existing choreographers. Beltran and Reyes are responsible for the birth and sustained wind of Wifi and Neo Filipino. They have both continued to support the CCP Choreographer Series (a three part platform that combines Wifi Choreographers Competition, Koryolab and Neo Filipino). This year Koryolab was launched, five promising choreographers were given grants to create work under the watchful eyes of dance influencers (Nes Jardin, Steve Villaruz, Myra Beltran, Denisa Reyes, Katsch Catoy). Aside from this, the mentorship included sessions with different audiences who gave their feedback about their work in progress. The intention clearly was to refine the skill of solidifying concepts with more purposeful choices in movement. 

Nothing/Special was Special

JM Cabling gave autism a voice when he chose to present "Nothing/Special".  What was exceptional about this piece was that it stayed far away from disability stigma.  With so much care and attention, he presented a perspective often overshadowed. Autism is not a disability, it is a special enduring ability.  Featuring dancers Marvin Lozana and Kirby Teraza he brought forward ideas often forgotten by many. The piece started with both dancers exploring their own space with unrelated choreography. At some point I started  wondering if they would ever relate to each other. I waited and enjoyed the freedom of movement that made use of the floor, the walls, their clothes and even their body parts. While one was stationary, the other was rolling, lunging, rolling travelling freely. Despite the disconnect in movement, they coexisted beautifully, it was like watching two children exploring a playground. Their movement not one bit tainted with any stigma of disability except maybe the stoic eyes concentrated in their imagined matter. They quickly established they were playing in two different worlds. Eventually their two worlds connected and a bold statement unraveled. As soon as the two dancers found each other and stepped into a  united rhythm. They committed to an unconventional friendship of sorts, never really doing anything in complete unison but always with a sense of togetherness. The two dancers did athletic lifts and supported extensions. There was a lot of push and pull, action reaction contact that emphasized sharing of something real. Particularly memorable to me was when Lozano supported Teraza as he defied gravity and walked on the walls reaching out for something. At a certain point they lost contact and started moving in their own space and direction but Teraza in movement calls out and Lozano looks back, recognizes he is needed and holds him again. The piece ends with both of them finally moving and looking at one direction. Despite the very brawny contemporary vocabulary, the piece reduced me to mush because it represented autistic people so eloquently. Autism is often times regarded so negatively gives a person the ability to do more than the regular joe. Autism defies every concept we were taught. It defies gravity, borders, limitations. It even defies goodbyes. Autism despite struggles allows people simultaneously see more and be more. The dancers in the piece found each other even if it was a struggle but when they did, they were enriched by the both worlds they now see and move in. The message is poetic. The process (as perceived by me) was poetic. Cabling succeeded in creating imaginative sketches that mean something. Whether I captured his intention or not is irrelevant because I see something colorful that I never really took the time to find.


Onus is defined as a burden. Jed Amihan wanted to depict the struggle of individuals to survive with the burden of society's demands and commands. His piece is straightforward contemporary in form. A woman is basking in her solitude but is disturbed by menacing voices and bodies. The four bodies took turns moving her, bending her, lifting her. They surround her until they reach the pivotal moment of the piece. Reminiscent of the traditional "Thousand Hands" dance from Thailand, they assembled into a line with the woman in front. They morphed into one body and launched a series of movement in canon with the woman being thrust into different directions. The repetition was effective because it was precise and the continuity was reflective of how society's influence is unending. While I appreciated the visuals and dramatics there were a few things that distracted me a bit. I wouldn't say they were detrimental to the piece but it did leave a few questions in my head. At one point in time one of the dancers Christoper Chan who was part of the ensemble became more  prominent than the others and so it left me questioning why one part of society was stronger than the others. I also didn't quite understand why he was dressing up (or undressing). Contemporary is abstract and perhaps there is another layer of meaning that my mind was not able to comprehend properly.

Misplaced Postcard 

Russ Ligtas' Postcard was intended to be a visual commentary and it was. It was a colorful display of everyday life. It was quite literally a postcard, a picture of different personalities that people might not be thought of or cared for. It reminds me of how callous and self centered people have become (including me). I do however find that the piece was more performance art rather than exploration of dance and therefore a bit misplaced.

Ethnic Tributes in Millenial Bodies

Al Bernard Garcia's "Haya" (To let be) has ethnic references which I have a tendency to love. His piece is about the passing on of a heritage. The black box was turned into a set using lights that painted a picture of a house. I thought it was quite clever as it quickly established that on stage was a community and that was their communal space. The dance was all about symbiotic relationship of all the dancers. They were either dancing in circular fashion, dancing in unison or dancing in one line of sight. It was as if they had their own rituals or traditions that just kept on going on and on with a sense of normality. Like a cycle of life, birth, struggle, moving forward, moving on. That's one of the things I like about his piece, it depicts a picture of ethnicity in a somewhat millennial point of view. While the movement was engaging, I found that the dancers lacked the maturity to really give depth to the piece. It lacked the highs and lows that are imperative in sending a message. I think with more discussion of what their assigned movements are, the real intentions would be revealed in a stronger more imposing manner.

Black Out

Byuti Balaga's piece is about sexual molestation. I honestly did not quite get that at all until I re-read my blogpost about what they said about their individual pieces. Balaga performed the piece herself dressed in a short white dress crouched down holding a rose with the screen showing an old tv screen. She is then joined by four greasy shady looking men in white briefs looking at her salaciously. What follows is honestly quite a jarring experience. The men take turns throwing her to the ground in different ways done with different blocking. She steps towards them and falls to the ground abruptly. This continues for a good five minutes. I found myself completely forgetting the point of the movement because I was so concerned for her health with the repetition of the painful descent to the floor. They also had another round of falling when the men were in table top yoga position and Balaga steps up on their legs one by one and again falls repeatedly to the ground. The piece ends with the men trying to kiss her in her neck one by one with Balaga avoiding the contact. Visually memorable was the scene where the men hold on to the ends of their braids mimicking the "evolution of man" image. The final moments have the men all try to kiss her at once and the lights black out.

Budots Authenticity

"Pidots" choreographed by Erl Sorilla is a product of a great mind. His progression as a choreographer is fast. His pieces are noticeably nicely differentiated from each other. Each piece stands on its own whether it is a quick solo, a duet or an ensemble performance. More importantly, he has not paused. Just this year alone I saw a total of four new very concrete pieces. Each piece reflected totally different points of view from the simple Filipino, to the art connoisseur, to the spiritual community. It's actually exciting watching out which aspect of the Filipino will he choose to play with.

Pidots was a cinematic take on "Budots" which is a slang term for jobless people who hang out because they have so much free time. Apparently Budots is quite a big dance phenomenon in the regionals that is in itself a hybrid of a Badjao tribal dance and and hip hop. I didn't know about this when I watched the Koryolab showcase and was blown away by the accuracy of the Budot craze incorporated in his piece. His dancers could very well be Budots from Davao. The resemblance in movement is uncanny. Sorilla just used the Budots as his medium to tell a more prevalent story because his piece was so much more than replicating the basic movement. His piece started with darkness drawing silhouettes of six people. Then the light hit and revealed bums with very realistic costumes depicting homelessness really. The ensemble sit together with their back on the walls doing nothing until they transition to even more recognizable pedestrian movements. Budots troop, walked together, mumbled together, grunted together. Eventually they were seen mimicking senseless drug use for entertainment. With the drum beat and techno music, the re-imagined but strangely authentic Budots dance craze was depicted in a club scene. Hazardous to the eyes but largely contributory to the aesthetic were the club lights that would shift from color play to singular spots featuring the effect of the drugs in realistic movement. It was as if I was watching a movie with the camera panning and settling on a subject via zoom in to short frame. Then came the spew of Duterte's dirty mouth saying his profanities against drugs. Unperturbed the Budots carried on with their casual entertainment. A spotlight hit their faces signalling a conflict and chaos unfolded. Before they knew it a friend was seen in apparent danger with his eyes blindfolded and his body pushed to a corner. In a dramatic ending everyone else shouted out for him. Their voices were silenced by a gunshot. The story ended with darkness.  As I said previously Sorilla has a million ways of expressing himself. Devoid of any recognizable classical or contemporary technique, he was able to put together movement in a fluid meaningful narrative. It's funny because if I saw a Budot out there sniffing drugs I would probably run away in an instant.  I would probably go all Duterterd and say a handful about "DO NOT DO DRUGS.STOP IT". But his piece humanized them. It was a reminder that they are people just like us who laugh at the silliest things, who dance... who love. There was a quick ache in my heart as it seemed all too real to me. What if it happened right in front of me? What then?! Truly, the impact was strong. I would have to say his dancers should be commended too for their commitment to the role. Ballerinas and danseurs as Budots were quite an impressive transformation. Convincing it was! Important it was!

The Black Box seemed to be fertile ground for the choreographers as a varied display of movement was shared with the audience that day. Nothing was redundant. It reflects the capacity of the choreographers create works that are distinctly unique and personal to them. Similar to a good cup of coffee paired with awesome conversation, shows like this fill you up with things to ponder about (google about). I look forward to more conversations.

Aug 26,2017
2pm and 6pm
CCP Studio Theater (Tanghalang Huseng Batute)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

REVIEW: Ballet Philippines’ “Exemplars” is a requiem (Archive)

                   Click here to see Theaterfans Link where it was originally published

Exemplars was a step back in memory lane. Ballet Philippines revived five pieces from their seventies repertoire to signify the beginning of a requiem leading to their golden anniversary in 2019.

Nostalgic merits aside, I recognize the need for this kind of mixed bill performance. It’s hitting two birds with one stone when you combine discovery with commemoration. Ballet Philippines’ audiences were educated about the Company’s beginnings, particularly the pieces that inspired more years of creative innovation. The Company, on the other hand, was given a chance to step into the shoes of their predecessors. I reckon that it was an enriching experience to perform the pieces that ensured their future. The intention is truthfully quite beautiful, it connects different generations in celebration of dance.


AMADA, choreographed by National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes , is one of the monumental pieces that catapulted Ballet Philippines to a professional level. It should be preserved for good reason. Amada is inspired by National Artist for Literature, Nick Joaquin’s short story, ”Summer Solstice”. Its music was created by National Artist for Music Lucrecia Kasilag. But its significance goes beyond the artistic collaboration of these art masters.

Amada is a transnational art piece that helps solidify cultural roots of the Filipino people. The story is about the evolution of a couple dynamic. Don Rafael and Dona Amada of aristocratic background live within the confines of male domination. The woman obeys, the woman is silenced, the woman is merely respected and provided necessities and pleasantries. Amada, however, encounters the paganistic ritual of the Tadtarin which is a fertility ritual that blesses the woman a conqueror’s spirit.

The Tadtarin ritual coincides with the celebration of St John’s Day, a Catholic celebration. Amada, unable to resist the urge to indulge in the Tadtarin, satisfies her thirst and joins in the festivities. Satisfying her curiosity led to her ultimate transformation and she finds a sense of empowered femininity. She returns home with a fired up sensuality  that tames Don Rafael and forces her to succumb to her reformed womanhood.

In essence, the story re-inscribes in visual format the variety of influences here in the Philippines. The conflict between Paganism and Christianity, contribution of social classes to the Filipino mindset, gender roles, and impact of colonization are all magnificently put together in rich portrait of the Filipino people.  With that in mind, it is almost imperative that it be performed with much respect to its significance.
Empowered Amada

Untouched, Amada’s choreography is filled with beautiful references to tradition. Its movements are both vibrant and sullen, unconfined and military. This piece is the highlight of exemplars.

Perhaps armed with the pressure to deliver, the dancers emerged powerful. Dance portrayals by guest artists Candice Adea and Ronelson Yadao were not mere stage performances, there was an outpouring of emotion. Adea’s Amada was perfection personified with the focus of every step being the articulation of a woman in bloom. Her beautiful transition from repressed to unguarded was evident in both her movement and in her eyes. She sustained several balanced extensions. She exhibited extraordinary freedom in her steps especially in partnering sequences where she would comfortably leap to Yadao while maintaining lines and bravura.

Yadao, in contrast, was the necessary alpha-male. Memorable to me was the scene where his role is tamed by the woman. The willingness to be tamed was touching.

Central to the story is the Tadtarin who brings about the change. Sarah Alejandro was indeed the revelation of the evening. With much strength and power, she reintroduced herself to the ballet world with her performance. With her steely eyes and commanding presence, her influence on Amada and the audience was believable. To perform alongside senior dancers like Adea and Yadao is a challenge, but she conquered and her victory will be remembered. The anguished ensemble who constantly created a swirl of movement around the characters were commendable. Dance was brilliant education on a platter.


Among the performances, Songs of the Wayfarer, choreographed by Norman Walker, also stood out. In a story about unrequited love, Yadao’s ability to translate longing was moving. Visuals of constant jetes in attitude (both legs bent while jumping in the air) were impressive. Their costumes being burnt orangey red also creates beautiful blurs across the stage. The sustained poses by the ensemble painted pretty pictures with the soloists and their stories standing out. It closed with chains falling from above, covering the coveted bride  and the wayfarer. This kind of visual theatrics is magnificent.

Ang Sultan choreographed by Gener Caringal had its highs and lows. Soloists Victor Maguad and Jemima Reyes were able to execute the glorious pas de deux lifts and transitions, a Caringal trademark. Eugene Obille was also quite a technician with his exquisite extensions and leaps.

However, collectively the storytelling was compromised. It became merely a broken love story. Caringal’s iconic piece is about the cruelty of the caste society yet that did not quite translate effectively. The ensemble in the very end of this tragic story remained almost unaffected. There was no burn on stage and off stage from the tragedy. Additionally while the male ensemble were quite limber and spirited in their jumping, the female ensemble looked tired.  

Nothing is forever

Concertino is a stylized piece by Pauline Koner who was one of the pioneers of “modern dance”. It explores the story of a lady of the court and how they are behind closed doors. This piece honestly just felt dated. While I understand the significance of the genre, the style no longer resonates. It was a very lengthy display of repetitions. Glistening moment, however, was Denise Parungao’s solo, as well as a few back bending hinge exhibitions.

Valse Fantasy is the only classical ballet in the mixed bill program. Five girls and one boy feverishly performed at least a dozen grand jetes (split jump) on stage. Featuring the strong classical technique of the Company, it was a bit of fresh air.

As a whole, I would say the show was important. The dancers were definitely schooled with styles that are surely unfamiliar to them and the audiences were schooled about Ballet Philippines’ roots. I wouldn’t say though that it was a great idea to compile some of  the broodiest pieces of an era in one show. I actually left the stage with a bit of unwanted melancholy (which in a way is good).

There was very little joy in the program which can be intimidating for new audiences. Similarly, there is a feel of archaicness that may not appeal to a major part of Ballet Philippines’ audiences. It must be remembered that Ballet Philippines has been known for artistic explorations featuring the now. Exemplars was educational, but might not have lived up to the words “completely exemplary”.