GOODBYE to the brilliant older generation of Ballet Philippines (BP) dancers. Now, bring on the young ones.
This seems to be the theme of the 46th season of the company, as articulated by BP Artistic Director Paul Alexander Morales in a recent press conference at the Cultural Center of the Philippine (CCP). The season’s theme is “Dance Spring (Pagsibol).”
“Last season was a landmark with the dancers achieving a certain level of excellence,” Morales declared. “Not it’s time to say goodbye to our favorite dancers. The (country) may be suffering but there is always hope. Since we don’t have winter we will challenge that season of doom, so there’s spring (tagsibol).”
Eight young dancers have risen in the company’s ranks.
Denise Parungao is BP’s newest junior principal dancer, while Cyril Aran Fallar has risen to the rank of principal soloist. Monica Amanda Gana and Jemina Sanielle Reyes have been promoted as junior soloists. Mark Anthony Grantos and Christopher Niño Royeca are now company members, and Ian Nick Tiba and Stephanie Eunice Cabral have become junior company members.
Six new apprentices have also been welcomed into Ballet Philippines II.
During the press launch, some of these young dancers performed, fittingly, excerpts from BP’s repertoire which is usually a mélange of classics (the Black Swan pas de deux from “Swan Lake”) and contemporary Filipino (“Hugot sa Rosas” and “Body Positive +.”)
The 46th season opens on Sept. 12-19 at the CCP’s Tanghalang Aurelio V. Tolentino (Little Theater) with “Body Positive +,” featuring excerpts from “Swan Lake,” “The Rite of Springs” and other iconic works But the themes are sobering: mental health and the rising prevalence of HIV in our society.
“We are dedicating this performance to HIV awareness,” Morales said. “We should do something about it. The younger generation should have themselves tested.”
Part of the mixed bill of “Body Positive +” is Enrico Labayen’s “Cloth,” about two men who investigate missed opportunities for meaningful connections and unrequited emotions. “Cloth ” won the 1997 Isadora Duncan award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography for Labayen, who is HIV positive.
“Hugot sa Rosas” makes a comeback at the CCP for one night only on Sept. 20. These are dances set to the music of Vince de Jesus’ frighteningly-titled “Songs to Slash Your Wrist By. BP drumbeaters say the show is sure to plunge you into the depths of, not depression, but love.
Something to look forward to is “Sarong Banggi: Filipino Classics Reimagined” by composer Ryan Cayabyab (CCP Tanghalang Abelardo, Oc. 16-18). Choreographers have created new works danced to popular Filipino songs, as arranged and orchestrated by Cayabyab.
The company’s Christmas offering is Edna Vida’s “Peter Pan,” with its celebrated flying scenes. Morales described it as “undoubtedly the most successful show of BP. It’s great to perform.” It will run Dec. 4-13.
The season closes in February 2016 with a collaborative work, “Opera: A Rebirth in Arabesque,” with sculptor Gabriel Barredo’s surrealist installation transformed into a contemporary ballet by choreographers Redha Benteifour and Alden Lugnasin. Barredo’s themes are decay and transformation.
“We want to explore new avenues for the company and so we are dedicating this season to the young dancers,” said Morales. “What inspired us last year was watching great dancing. This is a cycle of inspiration we want to pass on to the new generation.”