Like its previous season, BP’s 52nd run will be mostly done through its digital platform, Ballet.ph.
Ballet Philippines announced the opening of its 52nd season, following last year’s pivot to digital. Through its digital platform BP OnStream, the company says it was able to keep the dream of keeping ballet alive in these difficult, socially-distant times.
BP’s digital platform is among the few of its kind in the world, having big names in the ballet world leading 52 masterclasses to 1,617 attendees. A total of 365 company classes were conducted with 6,847 corresponding company class attendees while showcasing 31 original video productions.
The company’s evolution had them reaching out to more people with the likes of their K12 Kalusugan exercise breaks for students and teachers and Batang BP educational and entertaining materials. These new forays, initiatives, and activity lineups kept BP’s passionate patrons well abreast of relevant events and happenings in the Philippine and global art community.
“Having adapted and integrated BP well to survive the lockdowns, closed stage, banned live shows makes me very proud of the dancers and executive staff who have demonstrated such awesome talents and fortitude!” says BP president Kathleen Liechtenstein.
Liechtenstein officially turned over the 51st Season by announcing the World Premiere of the last two productions of the season: Dystopian Body and Diyosa.
Both explorative and socially-relevant, Dystopian Body is a performance that is concerned with a place where the body evolved despite an environment where conditions do not provide the most basic needs of its citizens.
Diyosa, on the other hand, takes the audience back to the times when Filipino gods, goddesses and humans lived together in peace. Human greed and selfishness, however, disrupts this harmony, and with it, divine favor.
With these last two productions marking the end of the 51st Season, Mercedes Zobel of BP’s Board of Trustees announced the official opening of the 52nd Season. Zobel shared her happiness and excitement as the company looks forward to more fantastic productions and fresh repertoire while paying homage to Philippine culture and Mother Earth.
Zobel also looks forward to more globally-competitive training for the dancers through company classes and free Masterclasses from legendary superstars from the ballet world. There is much anticipation of BP Dance School’s 2021-2022 schoolyear, where dance will continue to teach and engage its students online.
She also expressed pride and appreciation for BP’s talented dancers who have shown such resilience and perseverance as well as the executive staff’s behind-the-scenes fortitude.
BP artistic director Mikhail Martynyuk adds that the new season promises to be interesting.
“We are waiting for new meetings online, master classes, lectures. We add professional master classes on the skill of the actor on the system of Stanislavsky, a man who invented the first dramatic theatre in Russia and this system enjoyed all over the world,” he says, adding that there will be classes on the development of plastic expressiveness as well as lectures from the Vaganova Ballet Academy.
Hope and expectations
“I am confident that in the 52nd season we will have many dance projects that will be created online during the period of non-stop pandemic and will appear as video projects,” Martynyuk continues. “I hope and expect that Ballet Philippines will participate and will adequately present its theatre and its culture at the International Theatre Festival of Arts.” This will be held from December 2021 to February 2022 on the Black Sea Coast.
“The pandemic has allowed us to focus on classes. This leads to improvements in the dancer’s technique so that the company will be ready to take on new challenging choreography,” Joseph Phillips says. “We want to give our dancers pieces of choreography that are usually reserved for larger companies.” Dubbed as the “golden boy of ballet” for his many wins at international competitions, Phillips currently serves as guest artist and choreographer for Ballet Philippines.
“Let us applaud the efforts of Ballet Philippines to keep art and culture alive during the pandemic,” says Tourism Secretary Berna Puyat-Romulo, who was the launch’s guest of honor. “In times of sorrow, art can uplift. In times of crisis, art can unite. Now more than ever we need to find strength in unity.”