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Ballet Philippines’s “The Exemplars” runs next month

Image © Ballet Philippines

FOR its 2nd offering in its 48th season, Ballet Philippines is mounting “The Exemplars: Amada and Other Dances” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theater on Oct. 20-22.

In a media briefing, BP President Margie Moran Floirendo said BP is “reintroducing its internationally acclaimed classics from the company’s repertoire to a newer audience.”

“This production provides a rare opportunity to shed light on the long-unseen works that established the BP’s signature style and identity as an internationally and locally renowned dance company, paving the way to 48 years of artistic excellence and cultural contribution,” Floirendo said.

“The Exemplars” showcases the company’s classic works such as Alice Reyes’ “Amada” which was one of the earlier pieces performed by the company. Amada is based on “Summer Solstice” by National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin.

Set in Catholic, Hispanic, 19th century Manila, the traditional male-dominance is shaken by the Tadtarin, a native festival in which women suddenly reign supreme, shattering the established Hispanic molds and patterns.

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

Another piece showcased is “Valse Fantasy” where a male dancer and three ballerinas dance in a ballet dotted with leaps, turns, beats, entrances, and exits.

Set to Glinka’s music, Valse Fantasy 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 BP by Muñeca Aponte in 1974.

For its 2017 edition, premier danseur Nonoy Froilan is re-staging the Valse Fantasy, where he himself danced the male role in the 1970s.

Gener Caringal’s “Ang Sultan” is a heart-breaking story about star-crossed lovers, separated by the conflicts between social 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. Revolt and an uprising ensue due to inequity and social injustice.

Kasilag, in composing the music for Ang Sultan, used Maguindanao-Muslim instrumentation. Since its premiere in 1973, it has become one of the most performed pieces in the BP repertoire.

Norman Walker’s “Songs of a Wayfarer” is a story of unrequited love, featuring a hero who is in deep sadness because his love is about to marry another man. The hero is attempting to escape from the memories of his love.

The Song is a story of “ultimately finding one’s self in the loneliness of life. Critical and popular acclaim has made this work a piece de resistance in the BP repertoire.

Pauline Koner’s “Concertino” is considered a major landmark in modern dance. This classic tells the story of a lady of the court and her attendants who conduct themselves in various manners from the proper to the frolicsome.

The lady feels caged by the rigidity of her environment and seeks liberation from her tedious life.

Concertino was choreographed in the earlier style of American modern dance that has become a challenge to all who attempt this stylistically difficult piece.

The Exemplars: Amada and Other Dances runs Oct. 20-22, 2017, at the CCP Main Theater, and on Oct, 25, 2017 at the Globe Auditorium, Maybank Theater, BGC Arts Center.

For tickets, call Ballet Philippines at 551-1003, the CCP Box Office at 832-3704, or Ticketworld at 891-9999, or

Ibarra C. Mateo
A journalist since 1983, Ibarra C. Mateo is also an editor, a researcher, and a communication consultant.

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