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“Bloom,” a piece by Belgian-Colombian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa featuring dancers Mark Sumaylo and Dawna Reign Mangahas, is about gratitude and beauty. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Ballet Manila

Ballet Manila marks 20th year with world premiere of ‘Bloom’

“Bloom,” a piece by Belgian-Colombian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa featuring dancers Mark Sumaylo and Dawna Reign Mangahas, is about gratitude and beauty. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Ballet Manila
“Bloom,” a piece by Belgian-Colombian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa featuring dancers Mark Sumaylo and Dawna Reign Mangahas, is about gratitude and beauty. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Ballet Manila

MANILA, Philippines—A fledgling dance group once dared to pursue a dual mission – to bring ballet to the people and people to the ballet.

Ballet Manila has long fulfilled that dream and now, two decades later, has grown from its pioneering group of twelve to more than 50 professional dancers who are collectively continuing the twin vision that started it all.

To celebrate, Ballet Manila unveils “BM 2.0, The 20th Anniversary Concert”. Co-presented by Ballet Manila, Manila Broadcasting Company, Aliw Theater and Star City, BM 2.0 will have its gala night on February 28, 7:30 p.m., with a matinee show on March 1, 3 p.m., at Aliw Theater, CCP Complex, Pasay City. The Subscriber’s Night originally scheduled on February 20 will now coincide with the gala.

“BM 2.0” will highlight the world premiere of “Bloom,” Belgian-Colombian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s first work for an Asian dance company.

 

Drawing inspiration from a Balinese ritual centered on beauty and gratitude, Ochoa makes use of movements and gestures reflective of the region in this piece created especially for Ballet Manila.

Prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, Ballet Manila’s artistic director and CEO, says the multi-faceted repertoire of “BM 2.0” was put together to underscore the company’s strengths.

Ballet Manila co-artistic directors Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Osias Barroso (both seated) are happy to have mentored many dancers in the past 20 years, including today’s crop of principal artists – (standing, from left) Gerardo Francisco, Dawna Reign Mangahas and Rudy De Dios. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Ballet Manila
Ballet Manila co-artistic directors Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Osias Barroso (both seated) are happy to have mentored many dancers in the past 20 years, including today’s crop of principal artists – (standing, from left) Gerardo Francisco, Dawna Reign Mangahas and Rudy De Dios. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Ballet Manila

“It will be a celebration of five things that have helped define Ballet Manila the last 20 years: Our commitment to the highest standard of classical ballet, our pride with our alumni making waves internationally, our intention of going global through international choreographers, our fulfillment of our mission of ballet to the people through our OPM/ Pinoy choreographies, and of course, our belief in nurturing the Filipino talent through our school,” says Macuja-Elizalde.

 

The program kicks off with Pas d’Action from “Paquita,” representing BM’s classical ballet roots anchored on its Russian Vaganova training.

 

In a special appearance, Ballet Manila alumna Christine Rocas guests together with Joffrey Ballet colleague Rory Hohenstein. The pair starred last year in the Chicago-based ballet company’s acclaimed “Romeo & Juliet” choreographed by Krzysztof Pastor, and will perform the production’s Balcony Scene in “BM 2.0.”

 

The pair will also dance Christopher Wheeldon’s “After The Rain,” a poignant pas de deux that has been interpreted as being about love and longing or a depiction of death or loss.

“Pas d'Action” from “Paquita” represents Ballet Manila’s classical ballet roots anchored on its Russian Vaganova training. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Ballet Manila
“Pas d’Action” from “Paquita” represents Ballet Manila’s classical ballet roots anchored on its Russian Vaganova training. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Ballet Manila

“Tara Let’s,” meanwhile, is a rousing showcase of Filipino music and Filipino choreography. It was originally choreographed by BM principal artist Gerardo Francisco for the 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.

Another featured number is “Ecole,” narrating a dancer’s daily journey from his first dance exercise to his professional stage work. BM co-artistic director Osias Barroso created “Ecole” in 1999 to showcase the BM School’s students alongside company artists and has since become a company staple.

 

“BM 2.0” caps Ballet Manila’s current season and is a prelude to the company’s special 20th performance season later this year. It is presented in cooperation with ACS Manufacturing Corporation, BPI Express Credit, Island Rose, Ralph’s Wines and Spirits, First United Travel, Papa John’s Pizza, Krispy Kreme, The Food Club and Tokyo Bubble Tea.

For tickets and other inquiries, please contact Ballet Manila at tel. nos. 525-5967 or 400-0292, via e-mail at [email protected] or through the website www.balletmanila.com.ph; or Ticketworld at 891-9999 or ticketworld.com.ph.