As Ballet Philippines girds for its 44th season, its president Margie Moran-Floirendo and the board recently hosted a benefit dinner at Shangri-La Makati.
Board director Joey Soriano was inspired by a concert of the Philippine Opera Company. He suggested the entertainment revolve around Filipino songs and music as interpreted by BP.
Thus, “Sing, Dance, Love, Change” was a substantial program that presented classic Filipino songs and modern pieces such as “Salome,” by CCP Gawad awardee Agnes Locsin.
Many enthusiastically complied with the Filipiniana dress code. Designer Lulu Tan Gan’s indigenous couture, consisting of handwoven piña but interpreted in modern lines was a popular choice. Dita Sandico Ong’s abaca wrap was another favorite, worn as a panuelo top.
Some women chose to wear modern gowns with a Silk Cocoon top or a blouse that resembled the kimona. Younger guests wore short versions of the terno.
BP’s patrons and season subscribers, mostly a mature and sophisticated crowd, filled up the tables.
In her speech, Floirendo thanked Felix Ang, David Lim, Peter Coyuito, lawyer Miguel Varela and Elmer D’ Forte for their generosity.
“I have served various cause-oriented groups—from women’s issues to the environment. But in the last four years, my energies have been with Ballet Philippines,” she said. “People often ask me: With so many important social issues to deal with, why care for the arts? Why bother with something so elitist, when there are so many pressing issues in the world?
“My answer is this: It is the same reason you and I and even the vendor on the street work so hard. We don’t just want to put food on the table; we want to give our children something better. More than an education, more than simple success in life, we want our children to have enriching experiences that make them appreciate and value life. In our performances, children, rich or poor, see the beauty of our grace, our strength and endurance, and witness the discipline that makes possible our aspirations as people and as Filipinos.”
Floirendo went on to discuss BP’s partnership with De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in which some dancers are given full scholarships and obtain a bachelor’s degree in dance.
As part of its corporate social responsibility, BP’s Share the Magic program also invites public-school children to watch its shows.
Floirendo welcomed the generosity of BP’s friends whose support provided year-round scholarships for young dancers and employment for artists—while also making for good tax-deductible investments.