“I really love the role of Kitri,” Candice Adea says. In the ballet drama, which is taken from an episode of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel, Kitri is the feisty innkeeper’s daughter. She is enamored by the town barber, the suave but poor Basilio, of whom her father doesn’t approve.
Don Quixote arrives in town, and thinks she is his lady love Dulcinea. Kitri plays along and devises ways to get her father to approve of Basilio.
This is Ballet Philippines’ (BP) 6th time to stage the full-length “Don Quixote,” with associate artistic director and ballet master Adam Sage as Regisseur.
“I see myself as Kitri in real life: sobrang kulit, biglang magtatampo, tapos biglang playful, biglang seryoso, biglang expressive,” she says. “Pagdating kay Basilio, when they’re alone together, she’s super affectionate and expressive.”
Adea is best remembered as the first Filipino woman to win a silver medal at the prestigious USA International Ballet Competition, and later, first prize, at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition. She also placed in competitions in Korea and Boston. It was her interpretation of the “Don Quixote” grand pas de deux that got the attention of the judges and audiences alike.
She then went on to dance the full-length “Don Quixote” with BP and Hong Kong Ballet. She had the opportunity to be coached by many international teachers and dancers, including world-renowned ballerina Nina Ananiashvili, who noticed her in the competitions.
“She taught me so many things—technique, and through her coaching, I saw how she interprets the role,” Adea says. Ananianshvili handpicked Adea to dance Kitri when she staged her version of the ballet in Hong Kong.
“When I repeat roles, I am always excited because it will never be the same as last time. My experience in life matters,” she says. Adea turned 30 years old last year. Between now and the first time she did “Don Q,” a lot has transpired: She lived abroad for several years when she danced as soloist in Hong Kong Ballet and as a member of BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio.
Her turning point came when, after years of battling cancer, her mother died.
“This is when I realized there’s more to dance than just being a dancer,” she says. Before, her whole focus was dance. There was no time for anything else. But now, she knows that she has to give time to life outside dance.
“Give time to your friends, give time to your loved ones, give time for praying, for everything that you can appreciate. Give time to what’s happening outside dance. And from that you will grow as a person, because you will become more compassionate. And all that experience magagamit mo rin sa ballet.”
Adea returned home after her mother’s passing. She returned to BP last year. She is excited to be partnered by American danseur Joseph Gatti.
“I’ve seen how positive, hardworking and passionate he is,” Adea says. The two met previously at the USA IBC Winners’ Reunion Gala but have never been partners.
“I’m looking forward to working with him. I love working with that kind of person—hardworking, passionate, kasi madadala ka. You’ll really learn a lot from the person because you’re on the same page.”
She is effusive in praising her co-dancers because they, too, inspire her. Alternating with her are Jemima Reyes and Monica Gana, who are both doing Kitri for the first time. Both are in their early 20s, very strong and wonderful to watch. They are partnered by Victor Maguad and Ian Ocampo as Basilio, rising stars in the dance world.
Catch Ballet Philippines’ “Don Quixote” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on Feb. 9-18. Adea performs with Gatti, with the Manila Symphony Orchestra to be conducted by Jeffrey Solares on Feb. 9, 8 p.m., and Feb. 10, 7 p.m. –CONTRIBUTED
Call 5511003. Visit www.ticketworld. com.ph; www.ballet.ph; follow @balletphilippines on Facebook and Instagram.