Ballet Philippines’ ‘Dance Here and Now’ – Manila Bulletin

Ballet Philippines opens its 53rd season with great performances of “Bolero”, “Dance Through Time” and “Equus”

After two years of streaming productions online, theaters across the Philippines are reopening to welcome audiences to share in the magic that comes from the stage and live performances. Ballet Philippines (BP), the resident dance company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), was among those making their return to physical events with their gala, “Dance Here and Now: Equus, Bolero, and other Dances.” . ”

The Cultural Center of the Philippines lit up for the 53rd Philippines Ballet Season Gala

On September 17, Manila’s art enthusiasts, established and emerging names in design and fashion, the CEOs and presidents of the country’s largest organizations, and the capital’s high society gathered wearing their best iteration of New Formal Dressing to celebrate the opening of BP’s 53rd season. Also present at the event were ambassadors and business representatives from the diplomatic community. The nation’s brave men and women in uniform also joined in the gala celebration, part of the company’s Men In Uniform program.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines were in full force at the Ballet Philippines gala
“Dance Through Time, The Exhibit” produced in collaboration with FDCP and Jo Ann Bitagcol

Jo Ann Bitagcol’s photographs featuring BP dancers wearing designs by distinct Filipino fashion designers from the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines were exhibited at the event. Company president Kathleen Liechtenstein welcomed everyone to CCP’s main theater.

“How wonderful to see you all back at the CCP. Thank you for celebrating with us at tonight’s gala! When the world closed in on us with nowhere to dance live, our battle cry was to keep the dance alive,” Liechtenstein said. “Here we are on our 53rd season post-COVID, we thought why not dance where no one else has? Not just in terms of the destination, but with the new state of collaborative spirit to empower the company while valuing our past as we embrace the future of hybrid programming.

“Dance Here and Now” featured three standout dance performances, a preview of what the company promises for its season. “Dance Through Time”, a collection of excerpts from dance pieces – “Romeo and Juliet”, “Filibuster”, “La Bayadère”, “Schéhérazade”, “Don Quichotte”, “Ballet Folk” and “Carmen”, between others, choreographed by BP Artistic Director Mikhail “Misha” Martynyuk. The idea was to present the most iconic ballet dances of the time with stories, landmarks and scenes from local life as a fitting backdrop.

“Don Quixote”

Another highlight of the evening was the “Bolero” show. Featuring Martynyuk’s choreography and Maurice Ravel’s musical work, “Bolero” was a powerful performance steeped in strong Spanish influences. The dancers moved with fluid, almost hypnotic gestures reminiscent of those of a toreador. The crowd can’t help but applaud each leap and spin of the dancers, making for a truly spectacular experience.

“I bring a part of me to every piece we perform tonight,” Martynyuk said. “’Bolero’ will reveal my inner Spanish. It’s as close as it gets to expressing how I move, and it’s something I hoped to convey to my dancers.


Ending the night is BP’s performance of “Equus.” The metal horse sculptures on the stage set the tone for the dance. While the musicians played their tunes, the dancers presented on stage the choreography of Martynyuk and Artem Ignatiev. Inspired by Peter Scheffer’s play of the same name, “Equus” offered “a reflection of the art of ballet”, that “it’s hard work; not a festive titmouse.

“In ballet, the artist works painstakingly for long hours. Mental toughness, rigid discipline, athleticism and physicality are needed every day – in equal measure,” BP detailed in its broadcast notes. “There is a beauty and a burden when viewers watch the unobtrusive work flow of a ballet artist.”


Watching “Equus” was like witnessing the lives of ballet dancers off stage. Dancers are seen throwing lines at each other, preparing for their performance and rehearsing choreography, making the show both fresh and contemporary in the eyes of ballet aficionados. “Equus” is a true masterpiece offering an artistic insight into the passion and dedication of Filipino dancers to their craft, which has helped the local dance scene survive during the pandemic.

“Quality. Power. Character. Invigorated grace. These are the gifts we bring to the stage not just tonight, but for the rest of the season,” Martynyuk said.

BP’s 53rd season plays with the theme “Dance Where No Else Has”. The company’s upcoming performances also include “The Nutcracker” (December 17-18, 2022) and “And Tatlong Pag-ibig ni Jose” (March 11-12, 2023). Learn more about her final season here or stay up to date by following @balletphilippines on Instagram.

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