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Some of the people behind the Dance.MNL festival during a press conference at Hotel Jen in Pasay City on May 11. They include Ballet Manila Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Philippine Ballet Theatre (PBT) President Sylvia Lichauco-de Leon (front row, first and second from left, respectively); and PBT Artistic Director Ron Jaynario, Cultural Center of the Philippines Vice President Chris Millado, and Ballet Philippines Artistic Director Paul Morales (back row, first, fifth and sixth from left, respectively). Photo: Alvin I. Dacanay

Top Philippine ballet companies to hold first Dance.MNL

In what’s considered a first in the history of Philippine dance, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and Ballet Philippines (BP), in cooperation with the Philippine Ballet Theatre (PBT) and Ballet Manila (BM), will jointly hold the inaugural Dance.MNL: The Philippine Dance Festival in June. 

In a statement, the CCP described Dance.MNL as a “new biennial festival focused on uniting and celebrating the Filipino dance community” that “will bring the Filipino classical, modern, and contemporary creations to the stages of the CCP, Aliw Theater, and Star Theater,” all within the CCP Complex in Pasay City.

The festival, which will run from from June 14 to 26, is supported by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Manila Broadcasting Company, and is expected to gather more than 500 dance professionals in Metro Manila. It will feature 11 performances, “Dance Intensive” classes, and a two-day conference.

Leading Dance.MNL are festival directors Paul Alexander Morales, Ron Jaynario and Lisa Macuja-Elizalde—the artistic directors of BP, PBT and BM, respectively.

All three expressed gratitude and happiness that the festival will be held.

“It is a great joy for all three companies to be collaborating for a cause again, the first time being the fundraising concert for [retired ballerina] Edna Vida-Froilan back in 2011,” Morales said in the statement.

“This time, the cause is Philippine dance itself, and we are very grateful for the generosity of all the participating companies in contributing their time and talents in this effort to further professionalize and industrialize dance in this country,” he added.

For his part, Jaynario said Dance.MNL “will generate much enthusiasm and great joy to all dance lovers and enthusiasts. It will also bring a lot of excitement to all the companies’ dancers for it is very rare that these three ballet companies come and work together in one theater.”

“This is what Dance.MNL and all dance festivals are about—collaborating in order to present something unique and festive,” Macuja-Elizalde said. “I think that not only will there be an exchange of knowledge, talent and resources that will result in learning for all—but also we are able to offer our audiences performances that you will not be able to see during our respective seasons.”

Scheduled performances during the 13-day festival include The Winners Circle (CCP Main Theater, June 21, 8 p.m.), which celebrates the numerous Filipino dance artists who have made their mark in local and international ballet communities; BP’s lauded Master Pieces, which has been performed in North America, the Middle East, China, South Korea and Indonesia; BM’s Giselle (CCP Main Theater, June 25, 2 and 8 p.m.), to be staged partly in tribute to Filipino dance icon and PBT co-founder Felicitas Radaic, who has mentored many ballerinas and danseurs; Generation Next (Aliw Theater, June 26, 2 p.m.), which promises a peek into the future of Philippine dance; and Ballet Filipino (CCP Main Theater, June 26, 8 p.m.), which will feature BP, PBT and BM celebrating the best of Philippine choreography.

Individual tickets to the performances cost between P200 and P1000. Festival passes are also available, and classified into two: Pass A offers reserved seats for three showcases and two gala performances of one’s choice for P3,500, while Pass B guaranteees seats for all performances for P5,000.

During Dance.MNL, intensitve classic, modern and contemporary dance classes will be held and taught by some the country’s best dance teachers, including Macuja-Elizalde, Jaynario, Nonoy Froilan, Toni Lopez Gonzalez and Regina Magbintang. The classes range from basic to advanced levels, and crash courses for adult beginners and master classes for pre-professional dancers will be offered.

Packages for these classes are priced from P2000 to P5000. TMM 

For more details, call (632) 551-1003, send an e-mail to info@ballet.ph or visit www.dancemnl.com.

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