It was the first night that I actually saw a full ballet show and I didn’t know what to expect. Most of my peers declined the offer to accompany and most of them thought of ballet as boring and simply not for them. I know that modern choreographies are exciting and I’ve only seen them on TV, even if I was alone, I knew that I was going to have a good time.
Ballet Manila is a 20 year old ballet company whose Artistic Director is none other than the most famous Filipina Prima Ballerina, The Lisa Macuja-Elizalde. They are housed in the Aliw and Star Theaters in CCP Complex. Ever since 2012, Ballet Manila has been sending dancers to the Asian Grand Prix International Ballet Competition. Their shows, Flight 1 and Flight 2, showcase the pieces that they will perform at the gala on August 8 and 9, and at the competition from August 10 to August 15.
Flight 1 was composed of 18 performances, ranging from the classics Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Nutcracker, to modern pieces that were danced to the tune of works by Hans Zimmer, Metallica, and Imago.
Each performance was filled with anticipation as the beauty of the human form was showcased. I was continuously in awe as the the stage held one, two, or groups of dancers coming in and out of stages left and right. All movements, be it subtle or profound shows you the immense amount of time that each dancer must have spent to be able to be worthy of the stage. Every “Bravo!” from the audience was definitely well-deserved.
As a matter of preference, it was those choreographed by Gerardo Francisco that stood out for me. Morions showed the beauty of masculine strength as dancers with Moriones masks fought for glory. Towards the end of the show, Muro Ami’s creativity transported you to the sea, feeling the tension and pressure the divers go through. Tara Let’s was a fitting upbeat finale as the plane of the show descended and arrived at its destination. Yes, it was impossible to resist the beat!
The general impression of Ballet as boring and “not-for-me” should definitely be removed from the minds of those who doubt that they will appreciate it. The main thing I learned from Flight 1 is that ballet is rater inclusive and never exclusive. It’s beauty that you all need to witness.
Beauty, grace, rhythm, strength, and emotion of the dancers, mixed with the lighting, costume, props, and sound visually narrated every line of the prose of each performance. I was left with beautiful poetry to remember and to search for as I look forward to my next Ballet Manila show.
Review by Saul De Jesus, Photo Credits to Erickson Dela Cruz and Axl Guinto.
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