Ballet is back!
There was a palpable sense of excitement and renewed anticipation during the media event that Ballet Philippines (BP) hosted to announce its upcoming 53rd Season. Held at Gallery by Chele, this highly-charged atmosphere could be attributed to the fact that after two years of exclusively creating online content and interaction, there exists the possibility that we could now be on the road to reviving live performances. Cross your fingers, legs and eyes, but this 53rd Season could be the one that has audiences trooping to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and enjoying the vibrant immediacy of live performing.
With the theme for this season—“Dance Where No One Else Has”—Ballet Philippines’ artistic director, Mikhail “Misha” Martynyuk was proud to announce, “As we launch the 53rd season, I look forward to going back on stage and returning to the scene. Every artist knows the importance of getting back to his element and to his audience. I’m also excited to have the opportunity to create new productions for the company. Now, we are doing a great job of restoring our bodies and spirits to discover new images.”
As Misha pondered on this new season, whether to stick to classical or to modern dance, this Honored Artist of the Russian Federation and choreographer knew that the lineup would have to showcase new emotions, new discoveries, and a new crop of dancers that audiences would fall in love with.
First in the lineup for this exciting new season is a creative representation of Philippine culture and significant events in our history. “Dance Through Time,” which debuts in June 2022, promises to be an extraordinary sensorial experience that will move and captivate audiences.
“Paquita” and “Bolero” will open the September gala, and both are prime examples of classical dance that withstand the test of time. “Paquita” is a story set during the time of Napoleon’s occupation of Spain and is at once a love story, and a tale of oppression and destiny. With music from Maurice Ravel, “Bolero” echoes the movements of a toreador, a nostalgic look back to our pre-pandemic world.
“Equus,” which is literally horse in Greek, is the Act 2 Gala in September. It’s a tribute to the work a dancer puts into his or her craft. This should stand out as the centerpiece of this 53rd Season.
In December, that perennial favorite, “The Nutcracker,” will be performed. It’s all about the magic of the Christmas season and of childhood. Mouse kings, magicians, snowflakes, and candy are elements of this delightful ballet that both children and parents are always mesmerized by.
And then the season closes in March 2023 with “Rizal.” It’s a ballet that depicts the life and times of our national hero, Jose Rizal. Through his novels and poetry, he ignited nationalism and love for country, and it’ll be interesting to watch how this will all be conveyed in dance.
As pandemic restrictions ease up, Ballet Philippines is happy to announce that its three studios under the Ballet Philippines Dance School (BPDS) will all resume operations. There’s the BPDS Studio One at the CCP Complex, the BPDS SM Aura, and the BPDS Online, the virtual studio. Classes begin in June 2022, and you can take your pick of Pre-Ballet, of Classical Ballet Foundation, and Elementary Contemporary Dance of Pre-Professional Training and Intensives. Inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (+639) 77 046 2144.
To open the season, BP has also partnered with the Fashion Design Council of the Philippines (FDCP) to create a visual journey that revolves around the theme of “Dance Where No One Else Has.” As the fusion of dance and fashion has been around for centuries, this is just a natural collaboration, and both BP and the FDCP have tapped photographer and fashion icon Jo Ann Bitagcol to provide a visual journey of this synthesis. It will be put on display throughout the season.
As Kathleen Liechtenstein, president of Ballet Philippines, said (to which host Issa Litton concurred), there’s definitely much to look forward to as this new season is ushered in. Just as there’s the current phenomenon of “revenge travel,” this BP season means to be the crystallization of revenge dancing—and that’s something we all welcome with open arms and tapping feet.