Meet the band of "Opera"

The creative team behind "Opera" goes beyond the renowned artist Gabriel Barredo and choreographer Redha. Another key aspect in the production is its music. This sets the mood of the show and guides us through the journey throgh Redha's dances and Barredo's installation. Composed by Malek Lopez, the music will be performed live on all three shows by an interesting lineup of musicians:

Armi Millare | Voice

Armi Millare is a singer/songwriter for independent band Up Dharma Down. An Asian Music Major at the University of the Philippines, she also does experimental electronic music and writes music for films.

Malek Lopez | Composer; Keys, Programming

Malek Lopez is an award-winning composer and producer. His recent work includes the Department of Tourism’s “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign, Erik Matti’s “Honor Thy Father” and "Ugnayan Reco_ded", a reworking of Jose Maceda's "Ugnayan" for the 2013 “Listen to my Music” exhibit at the Vargas Museum.  One of the pioneers of live electronic music in the Philippines, his projects and collaborations with kindred artists have involved electro-acoustic composer Chris Brown, fusion jazz group Humanfolk, computer-network improvisation collective The Gangan Ensemble, Germany’s minimal techno meisters The Teichman Brothers, and retrofuturistic groove gurus Bent Lynchpin. He was part of the Goethe-Institut's critical electronic music collaboration anthology, Asia-Pacific Plate, and has brought Manila’s underground electronica culture to venues of convergence across the planet.

Erwin Romulo | Guitar, Assorted Noises & Effects

Erwin Romulo works in film, music and print. He was the musical director of Erik Matti's On The Job (which premiered at Cannes in 2013) and Honor Thy Father and the sound-designer of Lav Diaz's Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis, which will be having its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival this month. For music, he has produced artists such as Armi Millare, Dong Abay and the Eraserheads. He has also been an editor for a number of titles including Rogue, The Philippines Free Press and Esquire Philippines, for which he is the founding editor-in-chief. He has been working with Gabriel Barredo on his exhibitions since 1999.

Caliph8 | MPC, Samples, Percussion

Caliph8 is a composer and sound artist. His main tool is the MPC where he deploys an arsenal of beats, one-note samples and deconstructed audio cut and paste sound collage, creating an aural continuity between the sampled msucian and the synthesist. For the past 20 years, he has been active in Manila, primarily involved with the local outsider culture. As a sound creator and vinyl archivist, his background spans from true school hip-hop, experimental, folk, no wave, sound art, soul, rare grooves, exotica, kraut rock, jazz, psychedelia among others. He combines all these elements and creates a hybrid permutation of gut wrenching aural blast, creating an open-ended tension.

Fred Sandoval | Bass, Electronics

Fred Sandoval is a multifaceted, self-proclaimed musical boffin. An ardent protege and collaborator of Caliph8, Malek Lopez and Erwin Romulo, Fred is actively involved in many projects for both film and performance.

“Opera” will be staged at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater) on February 13 & 14 at 1:00PM and 6:00PM, with a Fundraising Gala on February 16 at 8:00PM. For inquiries, visit www.ballet.ph, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or call Ballet Philippines at 551-1003. For tickets and reservations, call the CCP Box Office at 832-3704 or Ticketworld at 891-9999. 

Get to know Gabriel Barredo

The renowned installation artist designs the stage for BP's Opera

Gabriel Barredo, a graduate of University of Santo Tomas, is well known for his sculptures and mixed media installations, in which he employs a plethora of found objects. Rods of electric fan covers, broken particles of car windshields, wood, paper, wrought-iron, antique radios, coconut husks, bottle caps, bed springs, fire-hose coils, conveyor belts, wooden beads, computer and refrigerator parts, and cement grinder serve as elements of the sculptural form of his works. Barredo is also recognized for his furniture art pieces, rich baroque-looking assemblages made of everyday objects.
 
His awards and recognitions include: the gold medal at the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) Annual Competition in 1981 and 1982; the gold medal at the Metrobank Foundation Annual Art Competition in 1985; the 1st Grand Prize at the Philippine Art Awards (1994); and, the Juror’s Choice at the ASEAN Art Awards held in Singapore in 1994.
 
His 30-foot installation entitled “Asphalt” was one of the highlights of the inaugural Art Fair Philippines in 2013. In January 2015, he exhibited Opera at Silverlens Galleries, which was then brought to Artspace@Helutrans in Singapore in time with the opening celebrations of the National Gallery Singapore.
 
“Opera” is a multisensory installation that combines moving sculptures, light, music, and other site-specific works. Seeing it is a complete, immersive experience that crosses the boundaries between art and theater. As a pioneering figure of kinetic sculpture in the Philippines, Barredo seldom withdraws from expression. His remarkable way of turning thousands of found objects to create an imagined world can easily captivate all senses. The exhibition invites us to contemplate on the transformative power of life and death while discovering the artist’s vision and unique eye for detail. To witness Barredo’s “Opera” is to be in a lucid dream that stays with us long after we wake up.
 
Read up more on Gabriel Barredo here.

Get reacquainted with Redha

The French dancemaker choreographs "Opera", set to open this February

 
Often described as an “unclassifiable choreographer”, Redha distinguished himself as a personality oriented towards total liberty that draws his inspiration from everyday life from where censorship is absent. He identifies his model in choreography as Baryshnikov to which influences of Lester Wilson, Alvin Killiam or Luis Falco as added.
 
Redha choreographed for several of the world’s leading dance companies such as the Bolshoi Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater,  The National Ballet of Cuba, Le Jeune Ballet de France, The Het Nationale Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet.
 
"Je, Tu, Elle", photo by Hydee Ursolino Abrahan
 
 
Redha is a dancer and choreographer of mixed French and Algerian descent. He studied with people like Martha Graham, Jerry Grimes and at the Horton School in L.A. Over the last few decades, Redha has become best known for his work in the international entertainment industry and for large-scale opening spectacles of events like the world cup soccer in France (1998) and the World Fencing Championship at the Grand Palais (2010). But he has also gained recognition for his modern ballets. He has had his own dance company since 1981 and nowadays literally works all over the world, from Africa and Europe to the Americas and Asia. He has created choreographies for feature films of Costa Gavras, Roman Polanski, Alain Delon and Francis Ford Coppola and for video clips of Elton John, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Tom Jones and various well-known French singers.
 
"Les Petits Mots D'Amour", photo by Jojo Mamangun
 
He has choreographed and staged dances for Ballet Philippines on numerous occasions and has visibly expanded the company’s styles of movement. Redha’s repertoire for Ballet Philippines includes “Je, Tu, Elle” and  “Les Petits Mots D’Amour”.
 

BP performs Master Pieces in China on October 26, 29, & 31

Ballet Philippines performs Master Pieces in China on October 26, 29, and 31

Continuing its series of international tours, BP sets off once again to perform in China this October. The company will be at the Chongqing Guo Tai Art Center in Chongqing on October 26, the Jinrong Theater, Xiamen Little Egret Art Center in Xiamen on October 29, and Guangdong Cantonese Opera Theater Performance Center on October 31. The tour is co-presented by the Department of Foreign Affairs-Manila and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Similar to the Middle East Tour in August, this trip is an initiative in cultural diplomacy by the Office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations, led by Undersecretary Laura del Rosario. It marks the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of Philippines-China diplomatic relations.

BP will showcase “Master Pieces”, a mixed bill showcasing a collection of some of Ballet Philippines’ most acclaimed works. The repertoire has garnered glowing reviews and standing ovations since it was first toured, with raves such as “a stellar display of the diversity of our culture”, “extraordinary ballet worthy of world-class audiences”, and “The show has it all – atmosphere, romanticism, poetry and the indomitable Filipino spirit.”

As a testament to the company’s versatility, the works are an array of classical ballets, neo-classical works, modern & contemporary dances, and excerpts from full-length modern ballets. The repertoire includes*:

FARANDOLE (Choreographed by George Birkadze; Music by Georges Bizet)

This neo-classical piece set to music of Bizet showcases the dancers’ athleticism and bravura with a slightly Spanish flair that echoes the Filipino’s Hispanic history and tradition.

HALIK / THE KISS (Choreographed by Paul Alexander Morales; Music by Jed Balsamo)

This dance excerpt from Ballet Philippines’ 41st Season production Crisostomo Ibarra, a dance retelling of a seminal novel Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) authored by Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Managing to escape prison with the help of Elias, Ibarra visits Maria Clara to give his forgiveness and to say goodbye. She tells him the truth about her real father again asking Ibarra for his forgiveness. Finally he understands. They embrace each other and kiss.

BUNGKOS SUITE / THE BUNCH (Choreographed by Alice Reyes; Music by Velarde- Obispo (Dahil Sa Iyo), Kasilag (Chitchiritchit), Kasilag-Velasco (Dandansoy), Paguio (Manang Biday), Obispo (Telebong); Music Performed by the Philippine Madrigal Singers)

A collection of traditional and popular folk songs reflecting various moods but especially highlighting the playfulness, amorousness and sense of humor of the Filipino.

DUHA / DUO (Choreographed by Alden Lugnasin; Music by Jessie Lucas)

This is a technique piece to test man’s physical limits and possibilities in body movements. This dance was heralded at the 9th Concours International De Danse de Paris in France in December 2000. Described as different and beautiful, it showcases the dancers’ unique understanding of the contemporary Filipino dance style.

AFTER WHOM (Choreographed by Augustus “Bam” Damian III; Music by Jerrold Tarog)

After Whom is a bold showcase for BP’s dynamism and bravado. It highlights the company’s prowess in the modern, contemporary and neo-classical genres.

DON QUIXOTE GRAND PAS DE DEUX (Choreographed by Marius Petipa, Music by Leon Minkus)

One of  the most famous pas de deux in the ballet repertoire, this virtuoso choreography with its distinct Spanish flavor is danced all over the world in a variety of versions all attributed to Marius Petipa, the ballet’s first choreographer. It is danced by Kitri and Basilio, the heroine and hero of the ballet as it is presented today.

LE CORSAIRE GRAND PAS DE DEUX (Choreographed by Marius Petipa, Music by Ricardo Drigo)

The pas de deux from Le Corsaire (“The Pirate”) is a prime example of Petipa’s practice of reviving ballets from the Romantic Period and making additions to show how technique had since developed. Through the adagio, two solo variations, and coda, the dancers show off their talents in a variety of choreography. Corsaire gives spectacular scope to the male dancer in his solo variation and coda while the ballerina is simply served by the diversity of the choreography she has to dance.

BACH CONCERTO (Choreographed by William Carter; Music by Johann Sebastian Bach)

Bach Concerto premiered in the Philippines in the 22nd Season Gala, restaged for the company by ABT’s Rosanna Seravalli. Using Bach’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in F minor, this neo-classical ballet engages the subtlety of motion, moving toward the abandonment of the senses to the music’s rhythmic sensibility.

LAHAT NG ARAW / ALL OF THE DAYS (Choreographed by Alden Lugnasin; Music composed by Mike Velarde and arranged & orchestrated by Ryan Cayabyab)

Taking its cue from China, this abstract work features men in ruffled skirts and Chinese fans. Representing the innate balance of all things in the universe, the yin and yang of masculinity and femininity are intertwined to create a stunning visual reminder that absolutes are complementary forces which serve to support and consume each other in the continuing miracle of life.

LAKAMBINI / MUSE (Choreographed by Paul Alexander Morales; Music by Ebe Dancel)

Lakambini is a dance piece from the full-length work Rock Supremo that narrates the important incidents of the Filipino hero Andres Bonifacio. The song depicts Bonifacio's fictional last love letter to his beloved Oryang, as his last words to her are sung, his hope overcomes his despair.

NOCTURNE (Choreographed by Carlo Pacis, Music by Felix Mendelssohn)

The final duet from A Midsummer Night’s Dream showcases the reconciliation of Titania and Oberon as imagined by Hong Kong- based Flipino choreographer, Carlo Pacis. The production won a lion’s share of awards at the 2013 Philstage’s Gawad Buhay! Awards including Outstanding Modern Dance Production and Outstanding Choreography.

TAMBOL AT PADYAK / DRUM AND BEATS (Choreographed by Tony Fabella; Music by Samuel Asuncion, Carol Bello, Kalayo-Pinikpikan)

Set to local beats, global beats and heartbeats, this award-winning and audience-rousing work is full of youthful energy which mirrors the Filipinos’ joy of living.  This showstopper, utilizing the local “bakya” (wooden slippers) to amplify its rich rhythm, has wowed adults and children, foreigners and expatriates ever since it premiered at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

*Repertoire subject to change

Ballet Philippines (BP) is the flagship professional classical and contemporary dance company in the country. A resident company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, it was founded in 1969 by Alice Reyes and Eddie Elejar. It is widely recognized today as a cornerstone of the contemporary Filipino identity. The Ballet Philippines Dance School continues to produce dancers of international caliber.

For inquiries, visit www.ballet.ph, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or call Ballet Philippines at (+632) 551-1003. 

Connect to Ballet Philippines online through the following social media networks:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/balletphilippines

Twitter: @balletph

Instagram: @balletphilippines

YouTube: balletph

To join in the Ballet Philippines conversation, use our official hashtag: #balletph.

 

BP celebrates its 46th anniversary season under the direction of Paul Alexander Morales. Witness the rise of a new generation of Philippine dance in Dance Spring [Pagsibol].

See you at the ballet!

 

 

 

She Dares

 
This article was originally published in Ballet Philippines' 45th Anniversary Commemorative Magazine.
 
When you are born into a family of artists, you will be subject to scrutiny. And when your eldest sister puts up a dance company that your mother decides you and your youngest sister will be a part of, you will be subject to comparison. And then in turn, both you and your youngest sister take a go at the helm of the company your sister established? Well, that's just fate. 
 
She is the “D” in the ABCDE of the Reyes sisters: Alice, Betty, Cecile, Denisa, and Edna (they also have a brother, Ronnie). Their mother, Adoracion, sent the three younger sisters to Philippine Women’s University after finishing their secondary education at Maryknoll. Her resolve was clear and firm: Denisa and Edna were to study to be dancers at the company that their eldest sister Alice was putting up.
 
Denisa was destined for dance, but being a dancer is one of the things she is least remembered for although she was a Ballet Philippines (then called CCP Dance Company) company member for several years. She instead found her strength in designing movement and discovering the next new thing - be it in dance, in art, or in artists themselves. She earned her BFA in Dance at the State University of New York in Purchase, and lived in New York for a total of 13 years. Those years filled Denisa with the inspiration and experiences that would later define her role in the history of Philippine dance.
 
Among all her collaborations and artistic achievements, "Neo-Filipino" is arguably the greatest contribution Denisa made to Ballet Philippines and to the Philippine dance scene as a whole. From its conception, this concert program was all about innovation - new ways of movement, young choreographers, and the latest and most groundbreaking collaborations with artists from other genres. 
 
Neo-Filipino began in New York, during a time when funding for the arts was down even there in the city that many consider as the artists’ mecca. Living abroad had given her a deeper appreciation of her homeland’s culture, and so she brought together several of her Filipino artist friends, including but not limited to dancers, and they put up a show. Three years later, Denisa brought Neo-Filipino to Ballet Philippines, and it has since evolved into a tradition that only grows richer over time.
 
Denisa was always searching, always hungry for new ideas. Although her daring productions have garnered mixed reactions, her boldness played a significant part in further strengthening the company's dual mastery in the classical and contemporary. But perhaps the audiences of today are now ready for the works and ideas she first stirred up a decade ago. Like countless other artists, she could simply just have been ahead of her time.
 
She has not ceased in making indelible marks on Philippine art and culture, especially nowadays as a faculty member of the De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde, a member of the advisory panel of the Philippine High School for the Arts and of the panel for the Department of Education's K-12 dance curriculum. 
 
Denisa has a knack for stimulating minds and bringing out fresh concepts, and wants to continue sharing this gift for as long as she can, and in any way that she can. She had her stage directorial debut at Virgin Labfest 10 with Allan Lopez' "Sa Isang Hindi Natatanging Umaga, at ang Ulap ay Dahan-Dahang Pumaibabaw sa Nabubulok na Lungsod". Her “Muybridge Frames” was one of the most lauded pieces in The Art of Dance, a mixed bill of performances that wrapped up Ballet Philippines’ 44th season. This season’s Blue Moon Gala will feature her piece, “For the Gods”, which will also be performed on BP’s tour of the US and Canada. With her ever-expanding lineup of works, the country can't help but wonder, "What's next for Denisa Reyes?"