This Month in BM History: August 1998
Ballet Manila has always believed in the power of dance as a unifying element among cultures. This is why in 1998, it readily took part in an event that stood for that ideal.
The 1998 Philippine International Dance Festival and Conference, held from August 3 to 9, was particularly meaningful as it was one of the flagship activities celebrating the country’s centennial year.
With the theme “Dance Revolution – Revolution in Dance”, it was an undertaking jointly organized by the Philippine Centennial Commission, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, World Dance Alliance and other agencies.
The gathering featured the Singapore Dance Theater (Singapore), Guangdong Experimental Modern Dance Company (China), Elisa Monte/ David Brown Dance (United States), Inrepacion Dance (Spain) and Modern Dance Turkey (Turkey).
The Philippine Night which was held on August 9 at the CCP’s Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo showcased the country’s three professional ballet groups – Ballet Manila, Ballet Philippines and Philippine Ballet Theatre.
For its suite of numbers, Ballet Manila presented three numbers that represented its varied repertoire: the classical White Swan Adagio from Swan Lake, the martial arts-flavored Arnis and the neoclassical Dancing to Verdi by Tony Fabella.
About two other dozen groups from various countries, including the Philippines, were to perform in shows in the festival’s two key venues – the CCP and the University of the Philippines’ University Theater.
Apart from being a showcase of performances, the complementing conference sought to tackle issues affecting dance. The main topics were: Technical/ Artistic Revolts in Contemporary Usage, Social Revolution as Dance Troupe, The Changing Asian Dance Scene and Social Structure and Dance Leadership.
A message issued by the CCP underscored the significance of the event: “Dance, just like music, reflects a particular culture, but nonetheless speaks a universal language. A potent and effective force, it fosters friendship and promotes mutual understanding among nations – regardless of race or creed.”