BALLET PHILIPPINES GOES RETRO PLUS POP-DISCO
Orchestral and vocal music, fired-up choreography, a slew of popular singing actors and dancers—trained in the classical style but now sashaying like John Travolta and Olivia Newton John—coalesce in the latest production of Ballet Philippines (BP): “Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko,” reviving the Manila Sound of the 1970s and featuring the songs of VST & Co.
This was announced in a recent press conference with lively production numbers at the main lobby of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). The dance musical is a collaboration between Ballet Philippines and ABS-CBN, with the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Gerard Salonga (who gyrated while he conducted) providing the music for the launch.
The show brings together a clutch of talents from music, showbiz, theater, indie films, and choreography. Edna Vida was brought out of retirement to play a lead role (along with husband Nonoy Froilan), while heartthrobs from another generation—Sandino Martin and Michael Pangilinan—worked the crowd over with their delectable singing.
Many familiar faces were present or will participate in the show, including Karylle, Jef Flores, Markki Stroem, Cooky Chua, Bibeth Orteza plus the BP lead dancers and corps de ballet.
“Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko” will be staged at CCP’s Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) for two weekends starting Dec. 2; there will be matinee and evening performances. (www.facebook.com/balletphilippines). Direction is by Paul Alexander Morales, with musical direction by Jed Balsamo.
The five production numbers presented during the press launch were “Disco Fever,” choreography by James Laforteza;
“Ipagpatawad Mo,” with choreography by PJ Rebullida; “Magsayawan,” with choreography by Carissa Adea; “Swing” and the titular “Awitin Mo at Isasayaw Ko,” with choreography by Laforteza and libretto by Orteza.
The latter story is about a colegiala (Denise Parungao in her younger years and Vida as the elderly Teresa) who falls in love with a construction worker (Froilan in later years) during martial law, endure the travails of that dark period, are reunited in heaven “and once again dance up a storm.”
Is this a political statement, I asked Orteza, herself an anti-Marcos activist. “It speaks of the times,” she said. “May (there is) Metrocom… I recall the Philippine Plaza bombing where Nonoy Zuñiga lost a leg.”
“We wanted a very entertaining production for this Christmas,” said Morales. “This is our new dream project.” —CONTRIBUTED
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