This October, Ballet Philippines will mount another powerful production in The Innovators: Carmen and Other Dances.
Choreographers Denisa Reyes, Augustus “Bam” Damian III, and Alden Lugnasin take center stage as they showcase their visions and powerful interpretations on October 5-7 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Love Lies Bleeding and Te Deum, both by Denisa Reyes, tackles explosive scenarios in two different circumstances.
Bam Damian, on the other hand, shares his own interpretation of French composer George Bizet’s tragic opera Carmen plus another electrifying dance in After Whom.
Former Ballet Philippines lead dancer Alden Lugnasin leaps to another field as he choreographs Swimming the Ilog Pasig and This is My Life.
Behind these three artistic individuals, however, is the original visionary. Alice Reyes, the founder of Ballet Philippines — now National Artist for Dance — is back on the scene as Ballet Philippines’ Artistic Director.
This vibrant lady is so proud of the company’s new generation of visionaries that she has dubbed the first and second group of choreographers as The Exemplars and The Innovators, respectively.
“I started last year with The Exemplars, the first generation of choreographers. And now, this is the second generation and they keep innovating, they keep experimenting, they go out and break ground. I’m very proud of the creative thrust and creative mind that we have,” tells Alice.
An Anniversary to Remember
Ballet Philippines, which was founded in 1969 by Alice and Eddie Elejar, has produced almost 500 choreographic works and has received numerous accolades from audiences around the world.
Next year, the iconic dance company is turning 50 and with it is a year-long celebration headed by none other than Alice herself.
“We are going to have costume exhibits, we are going to have a book, we are going to bring back as many of the former members who had gone out into the world and started their schools and other companies… We’ll also have guests that we are inviting to celebrate some of the performances. Madaming-madaming plano,” shares the artistic director.
She will also choreograph next year’s presentations of the classic romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet and Ballet Philippines’ original modern ballet Tales of the Manuvu.
Alice tells The Good Life that she is extremely proud that the company is still going strong.
“There may have been eight or nine artistic directors who took on [the position]. It’s a tremendous position to take on. There are also staff members who have dedicated their lives [to the company] and that’s very important… And I do highlight the fact that it’s not a one person thing. It takes a village. It takes a whole community,” she shares passionately.
Of course, it would not be a company without its principal figures, the dancers. Alice, who has danced most of her life, knows about the hardships ballet dancers face and the discipline one must practice to be part of Ballet Philippines.
“It’s extremely hard. You must really want to be a dancer to become one and to stay one. So it is really dedication. It is being highly disciplined and again, you have to want to do it. Fortunately, the company had grown when I stepped back in.”
Just like one proud mom who has watched her children grow and spread their wings, Alice was a bit teary-eyed at the end of this interview as she talks about the performers. “Every time I see them, I forget my frustrations. You see them and they’re dancing so well…”
The Innovators: Carmen and Other Dances running from October 5-7 at the CCP Main Theater. For more information, call 551-1003.