Amidst changing times, Filipino dancers and choreographers dance on!

The music of life will not cease

Amid the challenging situation brought by the pandemic, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) initiated a special program to support the professional dance industry in the country. Filipino dancers and choreographers respond to the changing times through “Dance On!”—the culminating performances of the CCP Professional Dance Support Program.

(L-R) Nicole Barroso, Katrene San Miguel, Sarah Alejandro, and Regina Magbitang in 'Grand Pas De Quatre' (Photo by Lester Reguindin)

Starting this October, a series of dance performances is currently being live-streamed on CCP’s Facebook and YouTube Channel, featuring never-before-seen works and re-imagined classics, which have been staged and shot specifically for the enjoyment of digital viewing. Under the mentorship of National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes, dance masters Alden Lugnasin and Nonoy Froilan, the select choreographers and dancers are able to produce works that encourage the development of Philippine dance, develop an appreciation of international and Filipino classics, and expand Filipino dance culture to wider audiences.

National Artist Alice Reyes

Featuring the talent and artistry of Filipino choreographers and artists of the CCP Professional Dance Support Program composed of artists of the CCP Dance Workshop and artists courtesy of Ballet Manila and Philippine Ballet Theater as well as regional dance artists, the program showcases not only classical ballet but a myriad of styles executed with equal excellence.

Regisseur Victor Ursabia restages the classical ballet “Le Corsaire,” which follows the adventures of Conrad with his sidekick, Ali. Restaged after Joseph Mazilier and Marius Petipa, it will be performed with the music of Adolphe Adam, Leo Delibes, Riccardo Drigo, Prince Oldenbourg, and Cesare Pugni.

AL Abraham in Excerpts from the Ballet 'Le Corsaire' (Photo by Lester Reguindin)

For the PDSP Culminating Production, the excerpts from the classical ballet—the grand Pas de Trois of Conrad, Medora and Ali, the Pas De Esclave with Lankadem and Gulnara, and the corps de ballet dance of the Pirates will be featured. AL Abraham and Katrene San Miguel, with alternates Eugene Obille and Nicole Barroso, will perform the “Pas De Esclave,” while Regine Magbitang, Victor Maguad and Earl John Arisola, together with alternates Monica Gana, Victor Maguad, Earl John Arisola, will do “Pas de Trois.”

Dancers Stephanie Santiago, Alexis Piel, Rissa Camaclang, Kazier Policarpio, Luigie Barrera, Danilo Dayo, Bonifacio Guerrero, Ace Polias, Gianna Hervas, Karla Santos, Joanne Tangalin, and Gladys Baybayan bring to life the “Pirates.”

In the re-staging of “Grand Pas de Quatre” by regisseur Eugene Obille, after Jules Perrot, dancers Regine Magbitang, Nicole Barroso, Sarah Alejandro and Katrene San Miguel will embody the prima ballerinas of the era Lucille Grhan, Carlotta Grisi, Fanny Cerrito, and Marie Taglioni. Set to the music of Cesare Pugni, the romantic ballet showcases the mastery of the lightness, delicacy, and poise of the classical ballet technique by each ballerina.

Choreographer Erl Emmanuel Sorilla questions how one truly lives in “Musa.” Featuring the song “Dalagang Pilipina” by composer Louie Ocampo, dancers Katrene San Miguel, Gianna Hervas, Karla Santos, Gladys Baybayan, Nicole Barroso, and Rissa Camaclang move to appreciate the life we have.

Erl Sorilla in PJ Rebullida's 'Light, at the End Of' (Photo by Lester Reguindin)

In “Light, at the end of,” choreographer Patrick John Rebullida explores what it means to value each part of the life cycle in equanimity. With music by Jose Buencamino, dancers John Ababon, Luigie Barrera, Justine Orande, Erl Sorilla, Sarah Alejandro, Stephanie Santiago, Jessa Tangalin, Regine Magbitang, and Nicole Barroso show through movement that all the pain, suffering, and death are but part of an evolution.

With the music of Eddie Peregrina and the choreography by John Ababon, dancer Erl Sorilla tells the story of pure young love, the pain that love brings, and how we are able to find a reason to go on when love is no more in “Inlababo.”

Choreographer John Ababon’s “In the Midst of Overcoming” assures audiences that there will always be someone there to guide us through the dark times. Ababon paralleled Alexandre Desplat’s intricate musical dynamics to the ups and downs of life. This became the inspiration for the beautiful movements of his choreographic work highlighting the technique and skills in partnering of dancers Stephanie Santiago and AL Abraham.

AL Abraham and Stephanie Santiago in John Ababon's 'In The Midst of Overcoming' (Photo by Lester Reguindin)

Choreographer-dancer Roneldon Yadao brings the audience to his inner mind in “Headspace.” Yadao often finds his head filled with unorganized thoughts saying, “Some linger like whispers. But some are too loud, vicious, and unrelenting. These thoughts cramp in my head creating an inner turmoil, overwhelming me, and leaving me hopeless. Such a chaotic state but, in and through it, is where I find myself.”

Choreographer Biag Gaongen explores the unconventional use of point shoes in “Re-FORM.” To the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra’s version of Dandansoy, “Re-FORM” is a dance on aligning and re-aligning the disjointed fragments of the body. The piece features dancers Katrene San Miguel, Sarah Alejandro, and Lester Reguindin.

Remember Greta Thunberg? Choreographer Lester Reguindin’s “Now” was inspired by her speech at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019. With “Happiness Does Not Wait” by Olafur Arnalds and “Bear Story II” by Luke Howard 2018 as music backdrop, the dance shows how a young girl seeing the environment and the entire human being suffer because of the ways of man. This has led her to use her voice and make a stand and speak to the world with the hope that through this, change can happen.

Choreographer JM Cabling reimagines the mind of a person who is often quiet in “I Wanna Say Something.” Formidable dancers tell this personal story about someone who fears speaking up in public, often caused by his mental debates and arguments which leaves one confused and polarized—resulting to silence. Featuring “Cow Song” by Meredith Monk and Collin Walcott from Monk: Our Lady of Late Album 1986 and “Pursuit” by Alexander Balanescu from II Partigiano Johnny Album 2005, the piece speaks about mustering courage. A process to take action, a call to move forward. Say it now, when it matters more than ever.

To watch the performances, proceed to CCP’s official Facebook page and YouTube channel.

The CCP Professional Dance Support Program participants and staff follow strict protocols to ensure the health and safety of all involved.