My friend KGB took me to the ballet again, this time to watch Ballet Philippines’ season-ender, NEO-FILIPINO. Her cousin, the gorgeous Georgette Sanchez, was the main dancer in two of the three parts of the show that we watched. I had a short meet-and-greet with Georgette backstage after the show and I resisted the urge to ask that my picture be taken with her. Upon learning that she was leaving for Germany soon, I regretted this decision, for last night, I became her fan.
I am no ballet expert so I would not dare review the performance, except to express my opinions.
The first dance was Ulaging, with vocals by Grace Nono. A BP patron’s comments, overheard in the ladies’ room, summed it up for me – it was largely experimental, but there was strong dancing. Georgette stood out in this number simply because her movements were the most fluid, her expression was the most engaging, and her overall bearing was the most captivating. I stopped trying to figure out what the dance was about (I only read my program during the break), and immersed myself in the dance.
I studied Nick Joaquin’s famous short story, “Summer Solstice”
when I was a college freshman, and was drawn to the pagan-Christian flavor of the piece. It was a treat, therefore, that I got to watch Amada, Ballet Philippines’ dance inspired by said story. Georgette was luminous as Amada, who started out doing flamenco-like moves, then tempted to dance “like a loose woman” after she watched the Tadtarin and her followers doing pagan rituals. Her transformation came from within and showed in her dancing. Her eyes held the audience spellbound, showing her blind obedience to her husband at first, then revealing her wild desire to become the Tadtarin and rebel from her husband. The audience showed their appreciation with wild applause after the show.
For the third dance, the music of Kalayo (formerly Pinikpikan) enthralled me. As I was more exposed to classical piano, I could not imagine how that kind of music was written and performed in perfect rhythm with the choreography by Max Luna III. KatiTaog’s set design, music, and moves was like a visit to my favorite spa – soothing and relaxing. It was a stunning world premiere of the best of Filipino talent. Here the dancers leapt and twirled and looked like they were enjoying it. KGB and I thought that their costumes were a winner too.
What I love about watching ballet is that it combines music, theater, and dancing. I think dancers are so blessed to have both athleticism and artistic talent. Their bodies show just how beautifully God designed them, and for me glorified the Creator. NEO-FILIPINO was exceptionally entertaining because the dancers did not have to exert too much effort to portray roles and convey stories that were alien to them. They had more room for fun, as they danced to themes inspired by their homeland, as compared to the effort required to interpret “Swan Lake” or “Nutcracker Suite”, for example. Last night, I felt like the country’s premiere ballet company did the country proud and made me want to shout, “Mabuhay kayo, Ballet Philippines!”
To you Georgette, I will pray for continued success as you bring Filipino talent to Europe once more. May you inspire more dancers to perfect their craft, dance with passion, and share their gift to the world.
Catch NEO-FILIPINO’s last two shows tomorrow, March 15, at the CCP Little Theater. For ticket inquiries and show schedule, please jump here.