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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ballet Philippines Unveils Its New Beginnings

Ballet Philippines’ continues its celebration of 39 years of dancing with its second production of the season, NEW BEGINNINGS. Opening on Friday, October 17, 2008 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines , the wide-ranging program is highlighted by the company premiere of Alvin Ailey’s acclaimed NIGHT CREATURE. New to the Ballet Philippines’ repertoire are company and Philippine premieres of Max Luna III’s MGA AWIT and THE HURT WE EMBRACE and Alan Hineline’s THRESHOLDS II.

First staged in 1974 for his own company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, this internationally acclaimed work has been described by the New York Times as “One of Mr. Ailey’s happiest works. It has a joyful pulse, a sophisticated entente with its sophisticated music that carries on the best of the Ellington tradition.” The inclusion of NIGHT CREATURE in this season’s programming was a natural choice. Artistic Director Max Luna III’s involvement with Alvin Ailey organization as dancer, choreographer and teacher spans a period of over 20 years. The work was restaged in Manila for Ballet Philippines by BP alumna and former Alvin Ailey principal dancer, Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish and is set to the music by American jazz music legend, Duke Ellington.

In keeping with the artistic directors’ strong belief in the importance of live music and keen desire to re-introduce it to the Ballet Philippines’ audience, Max Luna III’s MGA AWIT will be performed live. Luna uses Filipino composer Michael Dadap’s stunning trio for tenor, cello and piano, “Mga Awit ng Pag-ibig,” as a source of inspiration to explore the complex world of male camaraderie. MGA AWIT features 12 male dancers of Ballet Philippines in an athletic, sensitive and masculine exploration of the Luna/Dadap work.

In a recent interview, Luna described his work, THE HURT WE EMBRACE, as a depiction of the treatment of women in mid-twentieth century Filipino Society. The work, a duet for a male and female couple, explores the complexities and vagaries of their relationship. THE HURT WE EMBRACE was originally created for Elizabeth Roxas-Dobrish, Honorary Gala Chairperson of this year’s New Beginnings Gala, and premiered for his own company, LUNA.

Artistic Director Alan Hineline has collaborated with U.S. composer Jerome Begin to create THRESHOLDS II. The ballet and score were originally commissioned and premiered by the Dayton Ballet in March of 2008, just prior to Hineline’s arrival in the Philippines to assume duties at helm of BP. Collaborators for many years, THRESHOLDS II, is the eighth in a series of works by the two artists. Over the years, the process of making new work together has evolved into collaboration in the truest sense of the word – an on-the-spot pairing of music and dance which ties the music directly to the choreography. Critics have said “Hineline successfully integrates classical ballet with contemporary dance movement in a way that encourages one to view both styles anew. He propels the dancers through space on pointe one second, but in the next moment, is just as likely to have them turn by pivoting on their heels, jutting their hips out to the side.”

NEW BEGINNINGS is made possible in part thanks to the gracious support of Ayala Land Premiere, Olay, Philippine Tatler, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Liwayway Marketing Corp., BMW, Globe Telecom, Cathay Pacific and Fiori di M. The performances of NIGHT CREATURE are made possible through the generous support of Imelda Cojuangco.

NEW BEGINNINGS’ schedule is as follows: Oct. 17 ( 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. ), Oct. 18 ( 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. ) and Oct. 19 ( 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. ). For information about ticket prices, subscription and the season’s performances, please call 551-0221 and 551-1003, email or check its website at

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