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August 20, 2011

BALLET PHILIPPINES GOES ON TOUR

Ballet Philippines goes on International and National Tour with award-winning ballet to celebrate Rizal’s 150th
Katherine Trofeo and Jean Marc Cordero as Maria Clara and Ibarra

To coincide with the 150th birth anniversary of national hero Jose Rizal this year, Ballet Philippines will be touring its original dance production, Crisostomo Ibarra on June and October 2011 supported with a grant from the National Commission on Culture and the Arts. The ballet won Outstanding Dance Production at the 2010 Gawad Buhay awards, as well as awards for its dancers Jean Marc Cordero (Outstanding Male Lead Performer), Carissa Adea (Outstanding Featured Female Performer) and Angel Gabriel (Outstanding Featured Male Performer) for their work in the ballet.

The contemporary ballet, choreographed by Ballet Philippines’ artistic director Paul Alexander Morales, depicts Crisostomo Ibarra’s transformation from aristocratic idealist to revolutionary pragmatist. Ibarra’s internal journey begins on his travel back home, where he metaphorically resists the strong tides that sway his co-passengers.

His journey takes him to the dinner party of Kapitan Tiyago, to the streets of Manila where he confronts the bitter truth about the friars whom he held in high regard, to meeting his betrothed, Maria Clara, and finally, to being embroiled in an insurrection. The events make him realize that he can no longer deny change… that all the signs point to a course of action the old Ibarra never wanted to take.

Rizal’s narrative is rich and nuanced, and the ballet focuses on the vignettes of the novel that focus on Ibarra. With music by Jed Balsamo, and sets and costumes by Jose Melencio, the ballet does a good job at depicting the period in which it was set. It is also helped along by videos by filmmaker Ruelo Lozendo, a testament to the multi-media inclination and collaborative nature of BP’s Morales, who is also a theater director and filmmaker.

Controversial in its modern approach, one thing is for sure: students who will be watching it will be entertained as well as challenged to recall and connect the scenes with their Noli me Tangere lessons.

Ballet Philippines kicked off their tour at the birthplace of Rizal on June 19 at SM Calamba, and have performed at the Washington Sycip Park for Rizal’s descendants, in Vigan, Silliman University in Dumaguete, and Colegio San Agustin in Bacolod.

Their tour will take them to Singapore (courtesy of Air Asia), and key venues in Batangas, Cavite, Bacolod City, Iligan City, Tacloban City, Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City.

For inquiries on how to include your school or city in Ballet Philippines’ national tour, please contact Rejina Malay at (2) 551-1003 or rejinamalay@gmail.com.

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