Choreography in Focus: Pulp Asia by Edna Vida
Choreographer Edna Vida doesn’t like to make things easy for dancers. In fact, Pulp Asia – which was commissioned by Ballet Manila in 1998 – was meant for them to push their limits.
“I wanted to challenge the BM dancers then who were steeped in mostly classical ballet – and they were amazing, strong and committed!” Edna remembers, describing the original cast – composed of Osias Barroso, Pamela Asprer, Elline Damian, Aileen Gallinera, Melanie Motus and Eileen Lopez – as “superb.”
Requiring six dancers (five girls and a boy), Pulp Asia is a fusion of Asian, jazz and classical ballet styles. Edna used Ifugao and Balinese hand movements, jazz and Swan Lake poses all in an 18 and a half-minute number set to music by Rufige Kru and Doc Scott.
“The whole piece is one of my favorite works. I've never done anything like it before but it's very technical and complicated so it needs a lot of rehearsals to get the style and counts,” Edna notes. “You need to ingest the different styles. It's not easy to dance like tribesmen, jazz dancers and swans at the same time!”
Pulp Asia had its world premiere in the all-Filipino production titled Gabriela, OPM, Atbp. Dubbed as the Philippine Centennial Celebration of Ballet Manila, the show was staged on May 30 and 31, 1998 at the GSIS Theater.
A condensed version of Pulp Asia is featured in Ballet Manila’s repertoire for its Ballet & Ballads series this year.