Arts & Culture
Filipino Dancers Take Spotlight in Ballet Philippines' Gala
With National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes back as its artistic director, Ballet Philippines prepares for its 48th season.

Ballet Philippines opens its 48th season this month, with National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes, the woman who founded the country’s premier dance company, back as its artistic director. One of the original dancers of the acclaimed Bayanihan dance company, Reyes went to the United States in the mid-1960s to expand her dance skills, training first at Colorado College and then later earning her Master of Arts degree in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College. It wasn’t long after she returned to the Philippines in 1969 that she established Ballet Philippines. This performance season, dubbed “Quintessence,” opens with “A Gala Celebration,” which is a homecoming of sorts, not only for Reyes but also for alumni of the company.

Rita Angela Winder and Jean Marc Cordero in Norman Walker’s “Summer’s End”

Alice Reyes in the 1960s

“In the gala, we are featuring Filipino dancers who have made it big outside the Philippines. Normally we’d invite guest artists, but they’d be foreigners. Now, they’ll be Filipinos, and we’re very proud of that,” says Reyes. Included in the list of performers are Candice Adea (most recently with BalletMet and Hong Kong Ballet), Marcelino Libao (Hamburg Ballet), Paul Ocampo and Chien-Ying Wang (OcampoWang Dance), and Jean Marc Cordero and Rita Angela Winder (Ballett Kiel).

Kris-Belle Paclibar Mamangun

Candice Adea and Ronelson Yadao

As Reyes explains, the production will highlight classic pieces from BP’s previous seasons. “People always come up to me and ask what’s our new piece. I think we want to show off the wealth of what we’ve mounted. How many companies here can show what we have? Our vast treasures of gems of choreography? For many patrons, a lot of these ballets will actually be new because we first presented them in the 1970s, so not many will have seen them.” The dance pieces that will be performed at the gala include Agnes Locsin’s “Salome,” Bam Damian’s “Minamahal, Sinasamba,” Edna Vida’s “Vision of Fire,” Norman Walker’s “Summer’s End,” and an excerpt from the ballet Raymonda, by Alexander Glazunov. August 18 to 20, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay; Tickets available through Ticketworld, 891.9999,;

This story was originally published in the August 2017 issue of Town&Country.

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Pierre A. Calasanz
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