This Month in BM History: July 2003
From ballerinas dancing in gowns in Dalagang Pilipina to an eagle soaring solo in Agila, Ballet Manila’s season production in 2003 dubbed OPM at OPB showcased a gamut of riveting numbers created for the company.
The title OPM and OPB was a nod to Original Pilipino Music and Original Pilipino Ballet, a fusion that Ballet Manila had already been known for long before this show. While most known for dancing the classics, the company simultaneously sought to develop original pieces making use of local music to beef up its repertoire.
Artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde in her director’s notes extols the “electrifying energy that rejuvenates a dance company” with the introduction of pieces they are performing for the first time.
The line-up for OPM and OPB included competition pieces commissioned by Ballet Manila for its dancers – Agnes Locsin’s Agila and Joey Ayala’s Ritwal (a solo about a girl coming of age) for the New York and Tokyo International Ballet Competitions that year; and Gerardo Francisco’s Hunting, about a hunter on the prowl, created for the Asian-Pacific Tokyo International Ballet Competition.
In addition, Agnes Locsin also put together Urban Natives, an insightful look at city folk fighting the smog and the crab mentality on the streets of Manila.
The production also brought back neo-classical choreographic jewels – Eric V. Cruz’s Visions in Blue and Tony Fabella’s Dancing to Verdi – displaying Ballet Manila’s distinctive Vaganova technique.