THE THREE leading ballet companies in Manila—Ballet Philippines (BP), Ballet Manila (BM) and Philippine Ballet Theatre (PBT)—setting aside whatever difference they have, have closed ranks to mount a major two-week festival known as “Dance.MNL.”
This will be held on June 14-26 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), and at the Aliw and Star Theaters at the CCP Complex.
This was announced at a recent press conference at Hotel Jen Manila. Among those who presided over the press launch were festival directors Lisa Macuja-Elizalde of BM, Paul Alexander Morales of BP, Ronilo Jaynario of PBT and Chris Millado of CCP.
The first of its kind in the country, the dance festival emphasizes classical, modern and contemporary dance, international as well as Filipino, with evening and matinee performances, dance-intensive and master classes to be held by leading professionals.
A heady mélange, indeed.
There will be a special performance of the beloved warhorse “Giselle” in tribute to iconic ballet mistress Tita Radaic, one of the first Giselles in the country. And PBT, which is celebrating its 30th year, will have an invitational open rehearsal.
Participating companies include the UP Dance Company, Airdance and Daloy Dance Company. “The Winners Circle” will showcase dancers who have attained success abroad, among them Candice Abea, Christine Rocas and Jared Tan. Works by Filipino choreographers will also be presented.
BP will bring back “Master Pieces,” which has toured internationally. Contemporary dancer Elsa Jocson will perform, and the young dancers will have their day with “Generation Next.” This will feature junior dancers from the three leading companies as well as performers from select dance schools around the metropolis.
During the press launch, Morales said, “We have been talking for some time now about putting up a gala, and so we proposed putting up a festival.”
He added: “Manila is the only city in the world which hosts three professional dance companies. This is a very special occasion, so we are really encouraging young dancers to attend these classes. You know, we really have dancers who have excelled internationally.”
Millado noted that the three dance companies “have collaborated in the past but, for something on this scale, it is the first time ever.”