This Month in BM History: October 2011
Inspired by the masked Roman centurions of the Moriones Festival, Gerardo Francisco’s Morions was the perfect fit for a festival and a competition revolving on masks. With that distinctive look, the energetic dance fusing ethnic movements and pantomime was a certified attention-getter at the 2011 Andong International Mask Dance Festival, eventually capturing the bronze at the festival’s Maskplay Contest.
Gerardo Francisco led the six-man delegation that represented Ballet Manila at the dance festival held from September 30 to October 9 in Korea’s city of cultural heritage, Andong. The theme was “Festival, make me a King.”
Joining Francisco were Rudy De Dios, Alvin Santos, Michael Divinagracia, Niño Guevara and Ricardo Mallari.
During the festival, visitors enjoyed mask dance performances and exhibitions in Hahoe Village, Andong Folk Museum and several other venues in downtown Andong. Aside from Ballet Manila, mask dances were presented by groups from such countries as Russia, France, India and Indonesia. Visitors also had a chance to make their own masks, and learn some of the traditional mask dance choreographies from professional mask dance performers.
Morions was also warmly received at the 2012 Ten Drum International Festival in Taiwan and finally made its premiere locally in Lab Ko ‘To, Ballet Manila’s Valentine presentation and season-ender in February 2012. Critic Rosalinda Orosa commented on how the masks exuded an air of mystery in her review. But it was the dance itself that earned her praise: “Virile, jerky, staccato movements, intense vigor and vitality calling to mind the brisk precision of gymnasts, were utterly energizing. Indeed, how exciting and magnetic! No wonder Francisco won a bronze medal in Korea’s World Maskplay Contest!”