By Delphine Buencamino

Two dances for nature

Posted on July 27, 2012

Ballet PUNO: Pangatlong Galaw July 27-29 Locsin Dance Workshop Studio Theater, Quirino Ave. Davao City, Davao Aug. 1 PETA Theater Center, No. 5 Eymard Drive, New Manila, Quezon City Encantada Aug. 8-10 PWC, Matina, Davao City, Davao

THE MODERN DANCE scene in Davao City is alive and flourishing this year thanks to choreographer, Agnes Locsin, who is being celebrated in her home town. Two of her creations are to be staged in the next few weeks. The first is a new choreography titled PUNO: Pangatlong Galaw. The second is Ballet Philippines’ restaging of Encantada, one of Locsin’s most iconic works.


PUNO is the third installment in Ms. Locsin’s Alay sa Puno performance series that started with UGAT: Unang Galaw in December 2010, touring in Manila in January 2011; and DAHON: Ikalawang Galaw in February 2012, touring in Bacolod and Manila in June of the same year. The first and second solo concerts focused on the common trees around the Philippines. PUNO will focus on the hard and red wood trees found mostly in the vanishing forests of the Philippines.

This ballet will show the strength of nearly if not already extinct trees like the apitong, yakal, tugas, kamagong, mangkono, bagtikan, etc. In a collection of solo and duo dances, PUNO will expound on parallelisms in a fight against extinction and the fight for survival of men, women and trees.

The Alay sa Puno series has featured world-class dancers who were Ms. Locsin’s former students and dancers she has worked with, mostly under Ballet Philippines (BP). Biag Gaongen danced in UGAT while DAHON had Georgette Sanchez, and PUNO will feature Unita Gaye Galiluyo and Sanchez once more. All three dancers were BP soloists and all three have also ventured into the dance scene in Europe -- Gaongen is currently with Tanz Graz in Austria, Sanchez is set to return to Germany to dance with the Tanz Oper Munich this August, and Galiluyo is on vacation from Germany where she is flourishing as a freelance dancer.

PUNO: Pangatlong Galaw will premiere on July 27 in Davao City and will run for three successive nights. It will be performed in Manila for one day only at the PETA Theater Center.

The Alay sa Puno Series is a tribute to Carmen D. Locsin, the founder of the Locsin Dance Workshop.

Only nine days after PUNO, Encantada is set to be performed in Davao City.

Encantada was originally staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in 1992. It was restaged in 1996, and again in 2011.

The most recent restaging swept the awards for the modern dance category in the PHILSTAGE Gawad Buhay! Awards held on July 1, also at the CCP.

Encantada won the awards for Outstanding Modern Dance Production, Outstanding Choreography for a Dance Production (Locsin), Outstanding Ensemble Performance (Ballet Philippines), Outstanding Musical Composition (Joey Ayala), Outstanding Costume and Set Design (Salvador Bernal), Outstanding Lighting Design (John Ilao Batalla), Outstanding Sound Design (TJ Ramos), Female Lead Performance in a Dance Production (Georgette Sanchez), and Female Featured Performance in a Dance Production (Carissa Adea).

But even before earning this overwhelming number of awards, Encantada was already a famous and beloved contribution to Philippine dance.

Conceived by the tripartite partnership of Locsin for choreography, Ayala for music, and Al Santos for the libretto, Encantada was Locsin’s first full-length production in Manila and in her very own neo-ethnic style of dance.

Set during the early Spanish colonization, this ballet celebrates the pagan Filipino traditions of the Babaylan (wise women) and the belief in the spirits of the mountains or the spirits of the nature, which the character of the Encantada herself embodies. It also explores the issue of man’s destruction of nature and its consequences.

It is only fitting that Encantada be brought to Davao once again as Locsin and Ayala are renowned artists that both hail from Davao. Paul Morales, BP’s current artistic director, and Margie Moran Floirendo, the president of BP’s board of trustees, also have roots in Davao.

It is also no coincidence that both productions carry strong themes of man’s destruction of the environment. It is one of Locsin’s advocacies.

“I want to build a forest onstage and in real life,� she says in a speech before every performance of DAHON.

When her passion for trees and her passion for dance are combined in artistic expression, relevant and beautiful works come into existence.

For details and reservations for PUNO: Pangatlong Galaw in Davao City call 227-4753; text 0916-909-5099, e-mail locsindanceworkshop@yahoo.com, or check out Locsin Dance Workshop on Facebook. For PUNO at PETA Theatre Center, call 725-6244, 410-0821 or 0916-580-5153. For Encantada at the PWC of Davao, call or text 0917-705-4759 or e-mail lljacinto@anflocor.com.