BALLET MANILA (BM) is taking both the literal and figurative meanings of “Tour de Force” as the title of its 23rd season which opens in September.
“‘Tour’ is the French term for the way we call turns in ballet. And in order to accomplish tours, you have to gather force to do the 360-degree revolutions,” BM’s CEO and artistic director Lisa Macuja said during a press preview of its season’s repertoire on Aug. 2.
Of course, tour de force also means “an impressive performance or achievement that has been accomplished or managed with great skill” which can certainly refer to BM’s achievements through the years as a classical dance company — and its upcoming season is a force to reckon with thanks to the selection of its best originals, classics, and returning favorites.
“Tour de Force” will open with two weekend shows called Iconic 1.0 on Sept. 1 and 2, and Iconic 2.0 on Sept. 8 and 9.
Ms. Macuja said she curated the two Iconics as retrospectives where 14 different performances from 17 top choreographers will be showcased. The featured choreographers’ include Osias Barroso, Jr., Rudy de Dios, Tony Fabella, Bam Damian, and Agnes Locsin.
Following the Iconics is the classic ballet Le Corsaire (The Pirate). The ballet — about pirates and maidens and love and betrayal — promises to show the leaps and lifts and lots of strength thanks to the Vaganova technique which the company is known for. Le Coirsaire will have performances on Oct. 20 and 21.
A classic tale fit for children and the kids-at-heart, Cinderella will be restaged on Nov. 24 and 25 and Dec. 1 and 2. Choreographed by the prima ballerina herself, Ms. Macuja said her Cinderella is light, requires audience participation, and has comedic elements incorporated within it.
Cinderella will be BM’s early Christmas gift before it proceeds to its final show for the season, Deux, in 2019.
Deux will be a mash-up of rock and roll and classical ballet. It is a two-part show featuring the classic Les Sylphides which is set to the music of Frederic Chopin, as one half, and The Winding Road which is set to Beatles’ songs.
“Ballet Manila is about developing new audiences and presenting classics — not [to] our ‘old’ audiences, but our loyal audiences — and to new young people to come and watch ballet. This has been our mission since 23 years ago,” said Ms. Macuja.
All BM shows will be staged at the Star Theater in the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ complex. — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman