‘Ibong Adarna’ flies to Israel for international dance festival
Ballet Manila’s award-winning Ibong Adarna – the Filipino tale about an enchanted bird with a healing voice – reaches new heights as it heads to Israel for two performances at the famed Karmiel Dance Festival 2018.
Touted as Israel’s largest dance celebration, the festival is now on its 31st year and showcases a wide array of local and international groups. It also draws tens of thousands of spectators from all over the country and abroad.
Ibong Adarna will go on stage on July 24, 7 p.m., at the Karmiel Hall of Culture as part of the festival proper running from July 24 to 26. It will have an additional show on July 28, 9 p.m., at Shmulik Shiloh Eshkol Auditorium.
Aside from Ibong Adarna, Karmiel Dance Festival 2018 offers such varied fare as: The Nutcracker on Ice by the Russian National Theatre (Russia); Salsa Viva by the Salsa Viva and Tango Viva Troupe (Colombia); Agni by the Navdhara India Dance Company; Mosaico Español by Larreal (Spain); and White Beast by the Mirage Ensemble (France).
“I’m so grateful that Ibong Adarna was chosen for the festival. I also feel the pressure but I’m super happy at the same time. I hope the audiences there will like it as much as the audiences here enjoyed it,” said Francisco, who continues to rehearse the group just days before they leave for Israel.
Ballet Manila artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde said it was the organizers, led by festival director Aaron Solomon, who chose Ibong Adarna for the event.
“When they watched the video of Ibong Adarna after its world premiere in our 22nd season, they wholeheartedly decided to support bringing it to the festival because they wanted a Filipino story and ballet with a national/ folk theme with characters and a plot that the Israel audience could easily relate to and understand,” related Macuja-Elizalde.
“The values of respect for elders, love and loyalty to family and the golden standards of being good and kind to others and being rewarded for this are aspects that appeal to all audiences,” she added.
This edition of the Adarna is a slightly pared down version to adjust to touring constraints. Instead of seven moving platforms, the production will make do with just three, cited Francisco.
Principal dancer Abigail Oliveiro will again perform the lead role, but she will not have singing counterpart as in the original piece. Some of the dancers will be taking on double roles, as the story takes the three princes on a journey marked by encounters with groups of Alitaptap (fireflies), Hunters, Monkeys and Amazonas.
Ibong Adarna features the original music of Diwa De Leon and costumes by Otto Hernandez and Make it Happen Workshop.
Francisco himself will be performing as the King’s Assistant who ushers in guests to the kingdom with spirited dancing marked by multiple jumps.
It will be a return to the stage for Osias Barroso as the king, Haring Fernando, whose sudden illness sends his three sons on the search for the magical bird.
Performing as the three princes are principal dancers Elpidio Magat (Pedro), Romeo Peralta (Diego) and Rudy De Dios (Juan).
Company artist Rissa May Camaclang will play the queen, Donya Valeriana while BM 2’s Godwin Merano dances as both the Ermintanyo (Hermit) and the Albularyo (Healer).
Since its world premiere in August 2017, Ibong Adarna has won numerous awards. Most notably, the epic retelling of the Filipino legend swept honors at the Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards last April, winning Outstanding Modern Dance Production, Outstanding Choreography For Modern Dance for Gerardo Francisco, Outstanding Ensemble for Modern Dance, Outstanding Music Composition for Diwa De Leon, Outstanding Male Lead for Modern Dance for Rudy De Dios and Outstanding Featured Male for Modern Dance for Romeo Peralta.
It also won an Aliw Award for Best Dance Production in December 2017.