As the company closes its 51st season, Ballet Philippines (BP) offers its sincere appreciation for its audiences’ support during last season’s launch of BP OnStream. It is with a grateful heart that together, both the company and its audiences have witnessed their dream of keeping ballet alive.
The website, BP OnStream has since turned into a full testament of the Filipino’s resilience as an artist. Ballet Philippines has survived and, now more than ever, #BalletIsAlive!
This digital platform is among the few of its kind in the world, making the company proud, having provided 52 masterclasses from legendary superstars of the ballet world with 1,617 Masterclass attendees. A total of 365 company classes were conducted with 6,847 corresponding company class attendees while showcasing 31 original video productions, as well as carrying the K12 Kalusugan exercise breaks for students and teachers while reaching out to the younger audience through Batang BP with educational and entertaining materials.
The website was designed to bring ballet and the arts to the audience’s homes. It is a rich lineup of informative, educational, and entertaining subjects available to keep patrons well abreast of relevant events and happenings in the Philippine and global art community.
BP president Kathleen Liechtenstein shares her most memorable moments during the past eventful year. “Having adapted and integrated BP well to survive the lockdowns, closed stage, banned live shows makes me very proud of the dancers and executive staff who have demonstrated such awesome talents and fortitude!” she says. She officially turned over the 51st season by announcing the world premiere of the last two productions of the season: Dystopian Body and Diyosa.
Ballet Philippines explored the dystopian dance form to stage Dystopian Body, a performance that is concerned with a place where the body evolved despite an environment where conditions do not provide the most basic needs of its citizens. And in Diyosa, the thought-provoking performance takes us back to the times when Filipino gods, goddesses, and humans lived together in harmony. This harmonious relationship, however, is destroyed due to the humans’ greed and selfishness and, with it, the light that once shone down on the world was lost. The audience was invited to watch as its heroine, Luwada, makes an important decision that will ultimately affect humankind.
With these last two productions marking the end of the 51st season, Mercedes Zobel of BP’s board of trustees announced the official opening of the 52nd season. Zobel shared her happiness and excitement as the company looks forward to more world-class video productions and fresh repertoire while paying homage to Philippine culture and Mother Earth. She also looks forward to more world-class training for the dancers through company classes and free Masterclasses from the legendary superstars of the ballet world. There is much anticipation of BP Dance School’s schoolyear 2021-2022 launching as well, where dance will continue to be taught online safely and effectively while engaging students. She also expressed pride and appreciation for BP’s talented dancers who have shown such resilience and perseverance as well as the executive staff’s behind-the-scenes fortitude.
The event’s guest of honor was once again Tourism Secretary Berna Puyat-Romulo who delivered a special message to Ballet Philippines’ audience: “Let us applaud the efforts of Ballet Philippines to keep art and culture alive during the pandemic. In times of sorrow, art can uplift. In times of crisis, art can unite. Now more than ever we need to find strength in unity. I’m thrilled to witness the launch of BP’s 52nd season and I can’t wait to see what they have in store as they pay homage to Philippine culture and Mother Earth through classical and contemporary dance. We invite everyone to keep dancing with Ballet Philippines as they leap forward with renewed spirit. Bravo, Ballet Philippines and Mabuhay!”
BP’s artistic director Mikhail Martynyuk has this to share about the 52nd Season Plans. “The new season promises to be interesting,” he says. “We are waiting for new meetings online, master classes, lectures. We add professional master classes on the skill of the actor on the system of Stanislavsky, a man who invented the first dramatic theater in Russia and this system enjoyed all over the world. There will be classes on the development of plastic expressiveness, as well as lectures from the Academy of Vaganova. I am confident that in the 52nd season we will have many dance projects that will be created online during the period of non-stop pandemic and will appear as video projects.”
Guest artist and choreographer Joseph Phillips shared some insights: “The pandemic has allowed us to focus on classes. This leads to improvements in the dancer’s technique so that the company will be ready to take on new challenging choreography. We want to give our dancers pieces of choreography that are usually reserved for larger companies.”
To close the ceremony, Liechtenstein shared, “While recognizing the arduous days ahead facing both individual and collective challenges brought about by the pandemic, the 52nd season launch is an homage to Philippine culture through dance while we pay tribute to Mother Earth. As we propel further with renewed spirit, we invite you to #KeepDancing with us!”