Dance Innovators Return to the CCP Stage This October for Ballet Philippines’ Second Performance of the Season

  • September 27, 2018

Just two weeks ago, Ballet Philippines opened their landmark 49th season with Carmina Burana. The opening night audience (which included several Philippine National Artists) stood for a standing ovation after performers defied gravity and movement in Alice Reyes’ modern interpretation of the ballet. To follow up the presentation of Carmina Burana, the company is set to heat up the CCP Main Theater Stage this October with The Innovators: Carmen and Other Dances.  

As the company approaches their 50th anniversary, they have decided that this year’s theme includes re-imaging ballets from their vast repertoire. Innovative choreographers such as Denisa Reyes, Augustus “Bam” Damian II, and Alden Lugnasin have come onboard for the follow-up show, lending their masterful skills to pay homage to Ballet Philippines’ rich history. Notable ballets such as Carmen, Love Lies Bleeding and Swimming The Ilog Pasig, amongst others, are all set to be presented this October 5-7, 2018 at the CCP. Scroll down for a sneak preview of several selections set to premiere at Ballet Philippines’ The Innovators: Carmen and Other Dances…

Bam Damian's Carmen (Photograh by Jojo Mamangun)
Bam Damian’s Carmen (Photograph by Jojo Mamangun)

Carmen by August “Bam” Damian II

Often regarded as one of the most beloved pieces of classical music, George Bizet’s Carmen, has had multiple interpretations both for the stage and screen. Musicals, ballets, operas and movies have been built around the music. This year, for Ballet Philippines, esteemed chorographer Augustus “Bam” Damian II, will present his version of Carmen. Damian has had a dancing career in Europe that spanned over 20 years. He has worked and danced in numerous prestigious theaters such as the Paris Opera Garnier and the Deutsch Oper Berlin. After retiring, he focused on choreography work. As a former Artistic Director for Ballet Philippine, audiences and dancers were inspired by his modern take on ballet, which married stunning visuals with athleticism. The company promises a fresh, new take with this season’s performance of Carmen, under the dance direction of Damian.

“The first major difference is I only have three dancers carrying the entire narrative,” Damian said, comparing his work to Erik V. Cruz’s Carmen, choreographed for the Dance Concert Company many years ago. “Because there are only three people, there’s nowhere to hide. The three people have to sustain the narrative physically and technically. If I did it with a corps de ballet, soldiers and market people, then it will just look like everybody else’s. I think stylistically, my mark’s there without being redundant or looking like all the other pieces I’ve choreographed for any Company here in the Philippines or abroad.” 

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Jemima Reyes as the Story Teller in Denisa Reyes' Love Lies Bleeding Bam Damian's Carmen (Photograh by Jojo Mamangun)
Jemima Reyes as the Story Teller in Denisa Reyes’ Love Lies Bleeding Bam Damian’s Carmen (Photograph by Jojo Mamangun)
Denisa Reyes' Te Deum (Photograph by Jojo Mamangun)
Denisa Reyes’ Te Deum (Photograph by Jojo Mamangun)

Love Lies Bleeding by Denisa Reyes  

Denisa Reyes will present two performances that weekend, Te Deum and Love Lies Bleeding. The latter, which is described as a “raw and emotional look into the temperaments that best describe love and relationships,” is highly anticipated. “There is nothing as intricate as relationships between lovers. It is amazing how these feelings are so deep within us but then can be clearly manifested through movement. Love Lies Bleeding was inspired by the most heartbreaking human relationships. All of these relationships connect so much on a personal level to anyone who watches. Love is such a universal and very human theme that touches each and every one of us. We know it can hurt but we never feat it. It is something we are willing to go through and hope would turn out right,” she shared about the upcoming performance.

Reyes describes her work as “truthful and fearless.” She is a formally trained dancer and choreographer, who has had a career in film and theater directing, choreographing for theater, and mentoring younger dance artists. Reyes is also a former Artistic Director for Ballet Philippines, known for collaborating with artists to shed light on social and political issues through dance. Her resume includes choreographing Realizing Rama for the ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information.

In addition to Love Lies Bleeding, Reyes is also set to showcase To Deum, a ballet described as “a window into the Filipino socio-political consciousness of the 80’s, mirroring the emotional state of the Filipino citizens of today.”

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Alden Lugnasin's Swimming The Ilog Pasig (Photograph by Jojo Mamangun)
Alden Lugnasin’s Swimming The Ilog Pasig (Photograph by Jojo Mamangun)

Swimming The Ilog Pasig by Alden Lugnasin

“My inspiration for this piece is the different swimming movements but the heart of the piece is the Pasig River,” shared Alden Lugnasin. “I was inspired by the Barcelona Olympics. It started on the benches that were lying around the hallways. From those diving boards the movement grew. This piece would not be possible without the help of Georgette Sanchez, who was also a swimmer. She taught us the different swimming techniques and we practiced them in Ella Locsin’s apartment building swimming pool to get the feel and energy of being submerged in water.”

Swimming The Ilog Pasig was also conceived as a campaign to clean up the Pasig River. Its choreographer, Alden Lungnasin, was a lead dancer for Ballet Philippines. He is best known for his role as Mabini in La Revolucion Filipina, which he performed in theaters around the world. Because of his unique style and chorographic vocabulary, he eventually become Ballet Philippine’s Associate Artistic Director and resident choreographer, and BP2’s Artistic Director. During the Innovators: Carmen and Other Dances performance, Lugnasin will also present, This is My Life, a solo piece that “highlights the independence and elegance of a woman.”

Experience Ballet Philippines as it brings to the stage masterworks from master dance makers in The Innovators: Carmen and Other Dances running from October 5 – 7 at the CCP Main Theater. For more information or tickets, call them at +63 551-1003. 

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