Ballet Philippines takes on The Nutcracker but with added Filipino flavor

THIS month, Ballet Philippines, the country’s preeminent classical and contemporary dance company, takes on the timeless Christmas ballet The Nutcracker and sets it apart by adding its own unique Filipino flavor.

The show runs from December 1 to 3 and from 8 to 10 at the CCP Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Fridays – 8 p.m., Saturdays – 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sundays – 2 p.m.).

Edna Vida‘s reinvention of the Tchaikovsky ballet classic is set in the Philippines in the 1920s. The young heroine Clara receives an enchanted Nutcracker Doll from her godfather, the toymaker Don Alfonso Quintero, at her family’s noche buena. Her sister gets the Sugar Plum Fairy Doll and her brother, the Rat King Doll.

When midnight strikes, all the toys including her beloved Nutcracker, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Rat King come to life, and a battle between Rats and Toy Soldiers ensues. Her Nutcracker valiantly leads the soldiers, but is soon overpowered by the evil Rat King.

Just as the Rat King delivers his final blow, Clara comes to the Nutcracker’s rescue and the Rat King falls.

As the rats scurry off with their king, Don Alfonso appears and reveals the true identity of her doll — he is the Nutcracker Prince! He and the Sugar Plum Fairy have been trapped in a spell which only a person pure of heart can break.

To thank Clara for her act of courage, the Nutcracker Prince whisks her away to the Kingdom of the Dolls. A feast is celebrated in her honor as she is surrounded by dolls from all over the world, dancing flowers, and the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy.

A holiday treat for the whole family, The Nutcracker is a tradition all over the world, with professional dance companies and schools doing their own version of the beloved full-length ballet, especially during the Christmas season.

What makes BP’s version of The Nutcracker different from the rest is how the late National Artist for Theater Design Salvador Bernal integrated Filipino design elements into the sets. The turn-of-the-century grand ballroom features art nouveau arches with anahaw leaves and framed capiz shells. It also showcases additional choreography by National Artist for Dance and BP artistic director emerita Alice Reyes.

Nobuo Fujino, former principal dancer of Hong Kong Ballet, is guest artist, portraying the role of the Nutcracker Prince. He will partner with BP’s Denise Parungao who plays the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Alternating with Fujino and Parungao are the tandems of Lester Reguindin and resident guest artist Candice Adea and Victor Maguad and company member Jemima Reyes. The ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, with Gerard Salonga as conductor, will play live on select performances.

Edna Vida’s The Nutcracker is made possible by ABS-CBN, The Japan Foundation Manila and Tan Yan Kee Foundation.

For tickets, call Ballet Philippines at (632) 551-1003, the CCP Box Office at (632) 832-3704, or Ticketworld at (632) 891-9999 or Ticketworld.com.ph. Connect to Ballet Philippines online through the following social media networks: Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

 

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