May 2022, Gallery by Chele. Weeks before BALLET PHILIPPINES’ first in-person season launch, save-the-dates and formal invitations had been sent out to patrons, VIPs, art enthusiasts, and media friends. The evites read: DANCE WHERE NO ONE ELSE HAS. Enlivened by re-emergence and the prospect of returning to the grand stage, the country’s premier dance company had been rigorously preparing for a 53rd Season for months on end.
“We wanted a launch that would reflect the inspired and invigorated spirit of the company,’ explained BALLET PHILIPPINES President, Kathleen Liechtenstein. “Think of this as ‘revenge dancing.’ After years of online classes, live streaming, and digital migration, we wanted to step out again–and go where ballet has never been. We’re not just talking about locations, although that has been in the pipeline, but also new partnerships and collaborations.”
Gallery by Chele was the choice venue for gathering an intimate guest list of BP’s longtime friends and new partners. The award winning restaurant, helmed by Asia’s 50 Best Chef Chele Gonzales (at #90), has long drawn epicures with its interactive menu inspired by local flavors. An art gallery on the mezzanine, and contemporary interiors echo that forward-thinking mindset distinct to this culinary gem and BALLET PHILIPPINES.
Partner, owner and architect Juan Carlo Calma was hands-on with preparations for BP’s 53rd Season Launch. He worked closely with Chef Chele to put together a three-course meal of Octopus Salad, Fish main, and dessert. “We’ve also prepared a special Proclamation Gin welcome drink to go with pass around bites,” he said weeks before the launch. Vignettes showcasing artworks by Cianne Xavier were elements that added a fresh layer of inspiration to the launch.
“More than the usual preview of performances, we also wanted to showcase the new collaborations of BALLET PHILIPPINES in our aim to empower the creative community,” added Liechtenstein. During the launch, an exhibit featuring couture creations of Fashion Design Council of the Philippines designers, and artist Jo Ann Bitagcol will be mounted.
Opening remarks from BP’s President Kathless Liechtenstein and a brief introduction by Artistic Director Mikhail “Misha” Martynyuk explained in detail exciting initiatives and projects of the dance company. Excerpts from the season lineup of performances also allowed guests a preview of what’s to come. With Ballet Philippines Dance School Director, Rhea Bautista, as host and emcee, announcements were also shared regarding the return of in-person ballet classes.
It was a day dedicated to dance and the coming together of a creative community ready to take one the next normal. During the 53rd Season Launch of Ballet Philippines, fashion, food, art, photography and dance banded to go where no one else has.