A mix of modern and classic: An engrossing BP spectacle / 'A Lightbulb Moment' onstage
SUNDRY STROKES - Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - July 11, 2012 - 12:00am

Ballet Philippines began as a modern dance company, including classic (ballet) dances in its repertoire only much later. Modern dance remains its chief strength as was reflected in its concert entitled ‘Songs’ at the CCP main theater.

Paul Alexander Morales’ ‘Cadena de Amor’, which featured Candice Aldea, Richardson Yadao, Katherine Trofeo, and Jean Marc Cordero had love for its theme, as did ‘Les Petits Mots D’Amour’ choreographed by Redha Benteifour and re-staged by Alda Lugnasin, its eight performers led by Carissa Aldea and Emmanuelle Guillermo.

The execution of both numbers was excellent, the dancers being remarkably skilled and disciplined. However, the latter choreography tended to be repetitious and too lengthy, thus bordering on tedium.

‘Half Past Dead’, described as “a modern piece depicting the consciousness of the soul after death”, had choreographer Alden Lugnasin expressing the spiritual through the physical as soloist Cyril Fallar powerfully interpreted a virile modern dance.

Doubtless the concert highlight was the performance of Candice Aldea – BP’s most outstanding ballerina – and Jean Marc Cordero in Rossini’s ‘Grand Pas de Deux’. Candice won first prize in a prestigious international dance competition; Jean Marc garnered a special award in it subsequently proving how richly they deserved the honor.

Candice conveyed musicality, grace, admirable balance and extension, controlled technique and what might be described as unshowy virtuosity. Jean Marc displayed elan and panache, a technique comparable to a Bolshoi or Kirov dancer. As partner, he lent Candice solid support.

Together, the two awed viewers in Augustus Damian III’s imaginative and ingenious choreography, dazzling them in their solos and solo variations. Their elegant, colorful costumes enhance the pas de deux: Candice’s feats (e.g., double fouettés) and Jean Marc’s light, airborne jetes. Their dancing is seldom equalled by local performers.

‘This Is My Life’, choreographed by Alden Lugnasin, was aimed at highlighting the independence of a hardworking woman. It had jerky, staccato, angular and arresting movements of arms and legs. These, as well as Celina Dofitas’ stern, unsmiling countenance, seemed to suggest a woman who, dissatisfied with her state in life, is aggressive, audacious and ambitious. The dramatic interpretation led viewers to empathize with her feelings and state of mind. The recorded song ‘This Is My Life’ by Bruno Canforra was strikingly rendered by Pilita Corrales.

Delicacy, charm and fluid grace characterized ‘illustrated Dialects’ which interpreted Filipino love songs by Mike Velarde Jr., Lucio San Pedro and one in Visayan beautifully arranged by the incredibly versatile Raul Sunico. The dances on toes featured three dainty ballerinas, followed by a pair and three others. The exquisitely lyrical number was choreographed by Hazel Sabas Gower whose Phil-Spanish Dance Company was recently seen here.

I have yet to attend a Moriones Festival and Agnes Locsin’s choreography served as a tremendous incentive and impetus for me to see one. Dancers Marvin Arizo, Earl John Arisola, Emmanuelle Guillermo and Timothy Cabrera, in colorful costumes and masks designed by Conrad Dy-Liaco, were the epitomé of virility, vigor and masculinity. Their brisk, jerky, lightning swift movements, executed in the closest coordination to propulsive and percussive music by Philip Glass, was magnetic, holding the audience spellbound from start to finish. How exciting, how electrifying their force and intensity!

Re-staged by Alden Lugnasin, the dance should be viewed repeatedly.

Except for very minor reservations, ‘Songs’ presented generally inspired choreographies, either modern or classic, which were alternately engrossing and enthralling.

* * *

I missed “A Lightbulb Moment” which fell on the same date as the general assembly of Harvard alumni.

The dance program, directed by Bart Guingona and choreographed by Douglas Nierra, featured dancer Marge Enriquez. Text was from Dadi Janki, “the world’s most stable mind”. Guest speaker Charles Hogg of Brahma Kumaris Australia, shared his insights on the “Power of the Lightbulb Moments”. Sculptures were by Impy Pilapil.

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