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June 27, 2017

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Ballet Philippines to produce provocative 'adults only' number

Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network--Ballet Philippines' principal dancers Carissa Adea and Richardson Yadao execute sensual dance moves in their rehearsal.

At one time, her legs are in "second position;" that is, her legs are spread apart, with Richardson between them.

The rather risque position is part of a new work called "Zebra" by Ernest Mandap, a former BP dancer now based in France.

The 30-minute choreography, which explores sexuality and same-sex relationships, is the most provocative work in BP's season-ender "The Art of Dance." This is why BP will offer two programs, "Day" or matinee shows with works for the general public, and "Night" for the evening shows with "adult" themes.

At a press conference and open rehearsal, artistic director Paul Morales explained that he wanted to show the diverse creativity of BP choreographers, ranging from seasoned artists such as Denisa Reyes and Agnes Locsin to newbies such as Gilliane Gequinto and Edana Labitoria, who has created a street dance in a formal setting. Then there are the familiar favorites — the good ol' "Black Swan Pas de Deux" and "Paquita Grand Pas De Deux."

"Ballet Philippines is known for variety," said Morales. "I wanted to capture the diversity of emotions and culture. It's all in our bodies. We grew up exposed to the West but there's also that Asian sense in us."


For this show, Morales pays homage to the centennial year of National Artist for Music Lucio San Pedro. He complained that great Filipino artists have largely remained unappreciated by Filipinos themselves, so his show is but a "modest tribute" to them. His six-piece neoclassical ballet is set to the music "Recuerdos," with live piano playing.

"It waxes nostalgic and shows how Filipinos love music and what makes them move," he said about the work. The ballet portrays the old-fashioned coyness of a Filipino couple, the rapturous movements and ecstatic lifts motivated by the San Pedro composition.

In the past few seasons, most of Morales' works favored pas de deuxs. "I have this foolish belief that love can conquer all," he said with a chuckle.

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