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‘Ibong Adarna’: First Filipino full-length ballet touring internationally restarts | Philstar.com
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Arts and Culture

‘Ibong Adarna’: First Filipino full-length ballet touring internationally restarts

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo - Philstar.com
âIbong Adarnaâ: First Filipino full-length ballet touring internationally restarts
“’Ibong Adarna’ happens to be the first Filipino full-length ballet that was touring internationally,” she said, noting that they staged two performances of the show in Israel as part of an arts festival. The show’s international tour was halted by the pandemic.
Philstar.com / Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

MANILA, Philippines — After conquering adversities such as the Aliw Theater and Star City fire and the COVID-19 pandemic, Ballet Manila is back for its 25th season and 27th year as a leading classical dance company.

For Ballet Manila Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, their phoenix rise is symbolized by the mythical Filipino bird Ibong Adarna. 

As such, after opening with British choreographer Martin Lawrance’s iteration of “Romeo and Juliet” last month and following it up with “Don Quixote” in May, the 25th performance season will close with an original Filipino work, “Ibong Adarna” by Gerardo Francisco.

Francisco received multiple accolades for “Ibong Adarna,” including Gawad Buhay awards for Outstanding Male Lead for Modern Dance, Outstanding Modern Dance Production, and Outstanding Choreography for Modern Dance, among others. “Ibong Adarna” goes on stage in August 19, 8 p.m. and August 21 at 5 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit Balletmanila.com.ph.

“This season is really difficult first and foremost because I really don’t know how many dancers I’m going to have during the season,” Macuja-Elizalde professed at a recent presser.

In fact, Lisa said she thought it was not possible to put up a season until last year when they re-opened Aliw Theater last August. She postponed the announcement of a full season until all other Manila ballet companies have also restarted.

“The reason we put ‘Ibong Adarna’ in August… is we did plan to open our 25th season with a national tour of ‘Ibong Adarna.’ This was before the pandemic happens. And when the pandemic happened, all those plans to bring Gerardo Francisco’s ‘Ibong Adarna’ all over the country and in different theaters in Metro Manila, that fizzled out,” she shared.

RELATED: ‘Parang panaginip’: Filipino ballet dancers back onstage, invite audiences to return to live theater

“’Ibong Adarna’ happens to be the first Filipino full-length ballet that was touring internationally,” she said, noting that they staged two performances of the show in Israel as part of an arts festival. The show’s international tour was halted by the pandemic.

“It wasn’t easy. We had to make many concessions. First of all, all those rehearsals just for those two performances, that’s painful for an artistic director to do because I know that my dancers would love to be able to perform more.”

Lisa is just happy that they can restage “Ibong Adarna” once more and even prepare it for touring with enhanced animation projected through high-definition LED (light emitting diode) screen that the company could setup in any stage anywhere in the world.

“But at the end, we’re all adjusting to the new normal, we’re all finding our way to the new audiences that we would bring to the new Aliw Theater,” she said.

“I believe that this an auspicious beginning. It might be a simple beginning but it’s a beginning nonetheless… we’re just starting and we’re going to soar!”

RELATED: American ballerina ‘honored’ to return to the Philippines for Ballet Manila’s ‘Don Quixote’

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BALLET MANILA

LISA MACUJA-ELIZALDE

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