Ballet Philippines brings Master Pieces to the Middle East from August 7 to 14

 

Following BP’s highly successful North American Tour in October of 2014, the company set off once again to perform in five theatres in four countries: Ductac Centerpoint Theatre (Dubai, United Arab Emirates), Abu Dhabi Theater (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates), Bahrain National Theatre (Manama, Bahrain), Katara Cultural Village (Doha, Qatar), and Al Hussein Cultural Center (Amman, Jordan). The tour is co-presented by the Department of Foreign Affairs-Manila and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

This is Ballet Philippines’ first trip to the Middle East in its 46-year-long history. BP’s Artistic Director, Paul Alexander Morales leads the performing group. An initiative in cultural diplomacy by the Office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations, the tour offered much more than a rich and stunning cultural experience. By bringing the performers into the region, Undersecretary Laura del Rosario wants to change the mindset of the Middle Eastern audience about Filipinos. The group also hopes to give the Filipinos residing in the Middle East a taste of their own culture.

The company performed “Master Pieces”, a mixed bill showcasing a collection of some of Ballet Philippines’ most acclaimed works. 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)

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.

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.

MOSLEM (Choreographed by Agnes Locsin; Music by Bayanihan Dance Company)

A neo-ethnic ballet inspired by the Singkil, Pangalay, and Kzadoratan dances of Southern Philippines.

DIANA AND ACTAEON (Choreographed by Agrippina Vaganova; Restaged by Victor Ursabia; Music by Riccardo Drigo)

Diana and Acteon is a bravura concert number often performed to showcase the dancers’ virtuosity. The piece depicts a brief scene whereby the hunter Acteon unwittingly intrudes into the favorite haunt of the goddess Diana.

BLUEBIRD PAS DE DEUX (Choreographed by Marius Petipa; Restaged by Victor Ursabia; Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky)

The Blue Bird Pas de Deux is an excerpt from the classic ballet, The Sleeping Beauty. This pas de deux featuring Princess Flourine and the Blue Bird, exhibits the dancers’ playful but elegant technique.

ESMERALDA PAS DE DEUX (Choreographed by Agrippina Vaganova; Restaged by Victor Ursabia; Music by Ludwig Minkus)

The Esmeralda Pas de Deux is an exciting excerpt from La Esmeralda, a ballet inspired by Victor Hugo’s “Notre Dame de Paris”.

MORIONES / THE CENTURIONS (Choreographed by Agnes Locsin)

Inspired by the Moriones Festival of Marinduque, Locsin’s Moriones was choreographed for Ballet Philippines II’s participation at the Recontres Festival Du Danse in La Baule, France. This highly kinetic choreography highlights the dancers’ athleticism and musicality, and exemplifies Locsin’s signature neo-ethnic style.

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!

 

 

BP Represents the Philippines at the Asia Pacific Dance Festival

From July 13 to 27, Ballet Philippines set off for Hawaii to participate in the 3rd Asia Pacific Dance Festival, co-produced by the East-West Center Arts Program and the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Outreach College. In line with the festival’s mission of showcasing the finest dances, dancers and choreographers from Asia and the Pacific, BP was invited to take part in the performances, lectures, and workshops to foster diverse and dynamic interactions leading to an increased cross-cultural understanding and respect. Ballet Philippines’ trip was supported by Philippine Airlines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Ballet Philippines brought its unique blend of classical and contemporary dance with a distinctly Filipino style, performing masterworks from its extensive repertoire. Artistic Director Paul Alexander Morales led the BP dancers in facilitating lectures as well as repertoire and technique classes to enrich the cultural exchange throughout the festival. The other participating companies were Hālau I Ka Wēkiu from Hawai’i and Oceania Dance Theatre from Fiji. The 2015 Festival explored the theme of "Stories" and danceʻs own way of telling them: stories of dancers, of what the human body can do, of culture and history.

Audiences at the festival were treated to signature BP classics by National Artist Alice Reyes, Agnes Locsin, Alden Lugnasin, Augustus “Bam” Damian III, Tony Fabella, and Paul Alexander Morales. In the first of two concerts, Ballet Philippines performed Moriones, a piece originally choreographed for BP 2’s participation at the Recontres Festival Du Dance in La Baule, France in 1991; Duha, which originally premiered at the 2014 USA International Ballet Competition; Halik, an excerpt from the full-length ballet Crisostomo Ibarra, based on Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere; and After Whom, a widely toured and performed piece that boldly showcases BP’s dynamic neo-classicism.

For the second concert, the company performed the abstract Filipino-Chinese inspired piece Lahat ng Araw; Bungkos Suite, a collection of dances created on traditional and popular folk songs that reflect the various moods of the Filipino; and Moslem, a neo-ethnic ballet inspired by the dances of Southern Philippines. To close the concert, the other participating companies joined Ballet Philippines in the award-winning piece, Tambol at Padyak.

The Asia Pacific Dance Festival is offered in the summer of every other year (in odd-numbered years) and is a co-production of the East-West Center Arts Program and the University of Hawaiʻi Outreach College. Additional support is provided by the Universityʻs Theatre & Dance Department.

Each Festival is built around a central theme, which unites the various activities. The host culture of Hawaiʻi is represented at each Festival, together with representatives from Asia and a region of the Pacific other than Hawaiʻi. Because the Festival acknowledges the importance of both older, or so-called "traditional," practices as well as the continually evolving nature of these practices, Festival audiences have the opportunity to experience the traditional as well as the contemporary.

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 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 hashtags: #balletph,  #dancespring, & #pagsibol.

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!

Young Dancers Speak: My Ballet Dream

 

My dream is to become a professional ballet dancer. I see myself joining ballet competitions both local and international and being part of a company dancing lead roles here and abroad.

One of my goals is to compete in the CCP Ballet Competition. I was really inspired as I watched the competition. I want to compete not only here but internationally as well and be amongst the best. I also want to meet other famous dancers. I also want to take ballet intensive abroad and experience the way other schools teach students.

As professional dancer, I would like to dance the lead roles in ballets like Giselle and many others. One day, I want to go to Europe and to the US maybe join a ballet company somewhere there. My goal is that by next year, I will be able to dance and do consistent double/triple pirouettes on pointes without worrying that I might fall. Someday these dreams may come true; with a lot of hard work and determination, sweat, blood, and tears – with God’s help and the support of my family and teachers these dreams will come true.

Victor Ursabia - A Man of Many Hats

 
When we hear the name Albert Einstein, we automatically recognize him as a pioneering scientist.  When we hear Ninoy Aquino’s name, we recall him as a Filipino martyr and hero.  But when we hear the name Victor Ursabia, many things come to mind for those who know him.  He is a ballet teacher, a ballet master, a choreographer and a dance school director.  However, Victor Ursabia is also a photographer, painter, craftsman, a set and a costume designer.  He doesn’t just stop there.  He is also a father, a friend and a life coach.  Victor Ursabia, or “Teacher Vic” as we dancers call him, has excelled in all those fields of life.   
 
He has done many things for the dance world.  With Ballet Philippines, he has restaged many classical ballets such as Paquita, Sleeping Beauty and Alice Reyes’ Cinderella.  Teacher Vic has also done amazing work behind the scenes.  He has created many sets not only for Ballet Philippines but also for many dance schools, such as Steps Dance Studio.  He has also designed costumes and has been nominated for them in the Gawad Buhay Awards, like his design for Agnes Locsin’s La Revolucion.  He has taken many great photos of many dancers, which many of us have proudly made as our profile pictures in social media.  However, he is best known in the dance world for his philosophy in dance.  His simple corrections such as “up!”, “strong body” and ”use your center” as well as sound effects like “e-e-eng”, will forever be in our minds as we take our ballet classes.        
 
I first met Teacher Vic when I was a young student at Steps Dance Studio while he was taking my picture for the souvenir program of our recital.  I thought he was just a photographer who had a very good understanding of dance.  But, the more I got to know him, the more my admiration grew for him.  Teacher Vic is a very creative and unique teacher whose teaching techniques are not conventional.  I remember, during one of our coaching sessions, looking at him with shock when he asked me to actually hit him with my leg in the process of learning how to do a certain turn.  I also remember, when he taught one ballet class, laughing as he asked us dancers to shout in order to execute the throwing out action of our legs in a grand battement.  However weird Teacher Vic’s strategies may be, you’d be surprised with how your body responds to them, almost like magic.
 
Now, Teacher Vic sets out on a new journey.  This August, he flies to the other side of the world to share his unique brand of teaching with schools in the United States of America.  It is with sadness that we bid him adieu, but it is with great pride as Filipino dancers for us to see him spread his wings and share his knowledge internationally.  We wish you luck, Teacher Vic, on your new endeavor, and we know that you will be successful in spreading your magic in the American ballet scene!

Young Dancers Speak: Milestone

Some of my friends who have known me for long like to tease me about what kind of person I was when I first started dancing. I don’t blame them, because it’s kind of a funny story. Once upon a time, I was the sad little weirdo in class, who didn’t know a tendu from a jeté. My hair fell out of its bun constantly. My leotard didn’t fit right.

We're all familiar with that ghost of a girl who slithers around and lurks at the back of the studio, terrified of being seen; the one who stands behind everyone else, cowering like a deer caught in the headlights. Basically, Little-Miss-Please-God-Make-Me-Invisible? Well, much as it pains me to say it now, not so long ago, that girl was me. That was a point in my life when I literally thought that there was no way to make a dancer of me; absolutely none. After all, I had the neurotic grace of a slug and the elegance of a moose.

Fortunately though, I also had the heart of a dreamer. As often as I could, I would sneak down to the Rehearsal Hall, and watch the older dancers, only wishing with all my heart I could be like them. It wasn’t too long after that I realized that wishing for something is only going half way. Doing something to make your wish come true constitutes the next step. So I straightened myself out. I put my hair in a bun, got a leotard that fit, and finally stood where people could actually see me. But my appearance wasn't all I had to fix. Most dancers start at 3 or 4. I started at 12 1/2, and it was obvious from the start that I had a LOT of work to do.

It’s been said that ballet is 5% talent and 95% hard work. The way I saw it, the 5% of talent I lacked could be compensated for if I put in 100% hard work. It wasn’t always easy, and sometimes I wanted to quit altogether, but something in my heart just wouldn’t let me.

Three years later, I stand in the Rehearsal Hall, with some of the dancers who I once admired so much, just inches away from me. The best part is knowing that I have earned my place amongst them; that I belong with them.

Unbeknown to my classmates, sometimes when I look at myself in the studio mirror, I don’t see me anymore. Instead, I see a young girl, not quite thirteen years old yet. Her pale blue leotard hangs off of one shoulder, and tendrils of hair have fallen loose from her bun. Her head is bowed, and she looks almost shy; but she slowly lifts her chin to look at me. I smile at her, and acknowledge her as if she is an old friend. She smiles right back at me. She doesn't make a sound or speak, but a whisper in my heart tells me that every day I get one step closer to making her fondest wish come true.