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Ballet Philippines reintroduces classics

The country’s premier ballet and contemporary dance company performs The Exemplars: Amada and Other Dances as internationally acclaimed classics take the stage from Oct. 20 to 22 at the CCP Main Theater and on Oct. 25 at the Globe Auditorium, Maybank Theater, BGC Arts Center.

The Exemplars will showcase classic works that established the company’s signature style and identity such as Amada by National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes. As one of the first pieces ever performed by the company, it is based on Summer Solstice by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin. Set in 19th century Manila, traditional male dominance is shaken by the Tadtarin or Tatarin, a native festival in which women suddenly reign supreme shattering the established Hispanic molds and patterns. 

Candice Adea in Alice Reyes' Amada (photo by Jojo Mamangun)

Amada premiered in Manila in 1970, with Reyes herself in the titular role, and music composed by National Artist for Music Lucrecia Kasilag. It has since won critical acclaim in the Philippines and abroad, and represents the company’s work in Philippine material at its best.

Another featured work is Valse Fantasy. A male dancer and three ballerinas dance in a ballet dotted with leaps, turns, beats, entrances and exits. Set to Glinka’s music, it is pure dancing tailored by the music’s breezy patterns and delightful rhythms. A neo-classical piece inspired by George Balanchine, it was especially staged for Ballet Philippines by Muñeca Aponte in 1974. This year, premier danseur Nonoy Froilan is restaging the ballet as he himself danced the male role in the 70s.

Ronelson Yadao as The Young Man in Songs of a Wayfarer

Gener Caringal’s Ang Sultan is a heartbreaking story about star-crossed lovers separated by the eternal clash between classes. Set in the pre-colonial Filipino caste system, it tells the story of the consequences when a man from a lower caste falls in love with a princess—where revolt and an uprising ensue due to inequity and social injustice. Using Maguindanao/Muslim instrumentation, Kasilag also composed the music. Since its premiere in 1973, it has become one of the most performed pieces in the company’s repertoire.

Norman Walker’s Songs of a Wayfarer is the story of unrequited love. We follow our hero, who is in deep sadness as his love is being wed to another, and trying to escape with everything reminding him of his love. This is a story of ultimately finding one’s self in the loneliness of life, even though surrounded by friends, there is a feeling of trying to find a purpose that fulfills the empty void. Critical and popular acclaim has made this work a piece de resistance in the company’s repertoire.

Denise Parungao as the Bride in Songs of a Wayfarer

Pauline Koner’s Concertino is considered a major landmark in modern dance. This classic tells the story about a lady of the court and her attendants who conduct themselves in various manners from the proper to the frolicsome. In the rigidity of the high life she feels caged and seeks liberation from the tedious life. This piece was choreographed in the earlier style of American Modern Dance that has become a challenge to all who attempts this stylistically difficult piece.

For tickets, call Ballet Philippines at (632) 551-1003, the CCP Box Office at (632) 832-3704, or Ticketworld at (632) 891-9999 or Ticketworld.com.ph.  

Topics: Ballet Philippines , The Exemplars
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