Ballet Philippines 53rd season gala performance 

Time to get back in the classical groove

Text and photos by Dexter R. Matilla

Whoever it was who said that there is no right time, only time and what one does with it must have been on to something. There is wisdom to be learned from maximizing the most of one’s time and in the past two or so years, Ballet Philippines dancers certainly have done just that.

As the country’s leading professional classical and contemporary dance institution prepares for its grand return in front of a live audience this September, Ballet Philippines’ Artistic Director Mikhail Martynyuk is confident that the dancers will deliver a performance worth watching.

Mikhail Martynyuk, Ballet Philippines’ artistic director

Martynyuk, a multi-award winning artist and choreographer, shared that even during the heavy lockdown due to the pandemic, the dancers continued to practice in their own spaces with Ballet Philippines even conducting several masterclasseses online. Finally getting the chance to work in the studio face to face gave them an opportunity to improve even more. 

“We are ready with renewed power, new dances and performers,” Martynuk, an Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, said. “September is a thrilling show for us, we’re all ready.”

Echoing this sentiment is Ballet Philippines core dancer Clarise Miranda, who shared that even going back into the studio again after a very long time felt nostalgic. So when they started doing classes and rehearsals for the gala performance at the CCP Main Theater, it gave her chills as she finally felt home.

“To feel the stage floor, the curtain wings, the big space, we definitely missed it,” Miranda said. “We are really working hard for this production and are looking forward to the fact that people who support us would see us again doing what makes us happy. Seeing the audience clapping and knowing we made them happy is a priceless feeling.”

During an intimate preview at the Pinto Museum in Antipolo where members of the media were also given a private tour, Ballet Philippines dancers performed an excerpt from the upcoming “Dance Here and Now: Equus, Bolero, and Other Dances.” Present during the event were Ballet Philippines trustees Dr. Joven Cuanang and Bernadette Montinola Aboitiz, and Dance School Director Rhea Bautista.

Equus,” derived from the Latin word that directly translates to “horse,” represents the hard work put in by a dancer whose strength, force, and grace reflect the fine artistry of ballet. “Bolero,” danced to the music of Maurice Ravel, is a powerful performance seeped in Spanish influences. The almost hypnotic, fluid movement of this performance is reminiscent of a toreador, accompanied by the very same music that has remained distinct and contemporary 93 years later.

Rhea Bautista, Ballet Philippines School director

“As we unveil our 53rd Season Gala Performance, this is perhaps one of the most anticipated,” Aboitiz said. “It would be an understatement for us to say that this live performance has been a long time coming. In preparation for this milestone event, the company worked tirelessly to keep dance alive… what audience will witness on the grand stage of the CCP in September is a bigger, stronger, and wiser Ballet Philippines.”

Aboitiz commended the courageous leadership of Ballet Philippines President Kathleen Liechtenstein as the first resident company of the CCP stayed faithful to its mission of bringing audiences world class, distinctly Filipino dance performances. 

“We are a dance company that honors the past, we embrace the present, and we welcome the future,” Aboitiz continued. “And as such, we relish turning a new leaf this season. Join us as we dance where no one else has.”

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