AS the term of Ballet Philippines’s founder, National Artist Alice Reyes as Artistic Director is ending in March, the Board of Trustees of Ballet Philippines has appointed her replacement — Mikhail “Misha” Martynyuk.
The appointment was announced in a memo dated Feb. 8 and signed by Ballet Philippines’ (BP) president Kathleen Lior-Liechtenstein.
A Feb. 10 post on the BP’s Facebook page states: “Ms Reyes has steered the 50th season’s presentation and will finish her term as mutualy agreed in March 2020. The Board of Ballet Philippines is grateful for her efforts in contributing to the success of the 50th season that has upheld the standard of excellence of the national dance company. Ballet Philippines anticipates new heights as it moves into the 51st season.”
Ms. Reyes, with the support of Eddie Elejar, founded the professional classical and contemporary dance company in 1969, and served as its artistic director for 20 years until 1989.
She returned to BP in 2017, replacing Paul Morales as Artistic Director.
According to the Kremlin Palace website, Mr. Martynyuk is a star dancer of The Kremlin Ballet theater and holds the honorary title of People’s Artist of the Russian Federation which was given to him in 2011.
Mr. Martynyuk is not unfamiliar with the Philippines, having been a guest star with Ballet Manila several times since 2012.
Martynyuk joined the The Kremlin Ballet theater in 2003, just after graduating from Perm State Choreographic School. He has earned a number of accolades through the years: winner of the Triumph Youth Award in 2005; 1st Prize and Gold Medal at the 1st International Ballet Competition in Astana in 2006; winner of the Soul of Dance Ballet Prize in The Rising Star in 2010; and he received a diploma for The Best Partner of the Arabesque-2014 13th Open Competition of Ballet Dancers, among other awards.
The news has not been well received, with former CCP president Nestor O. Jardin, who served BP in various capacities, including lead soloist and artistic director, denouncing the move in a Facebook post on Feb. 9. “I am appalled to learn that National Artist Alice Reyes who is currently artistic director of Ballet Philippines did not get the full support of its board of trustees and president causing her to resign from the company she co-founded with Eddie Elejar. And more appalling is that she was not at all consulted on the choice of her successor,” he wrote.
Theater lighting director Monino Duque wrote in a Facebook post showing a photo of Ms. Reyes next to the Philippine flag: “They are one and the same… they are both symbols of our Nation. And when you disrespect and trample a National Artist, it is like you disrespect and trample our flag.”
The dance company’s next show is Itim Asu and Other Dances, which will be presented on Feb. 21 to 23 at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. BP is currently working on the finale of its 50th season, Rama, Hari, which features works by five National Artists — Bienvenido Lumbera, Rolando Tinio, Salcador Bernal, Ryan Cayabyab, and Alice Reyes.