BIRD ON A WIRE

Town & Country (Philippines) - - OUT ABOUT -

Bal­let Manila pre­pares to soar this month as it launches its 22nd sea­son with the tagline “Flights of Fan­tasy.““Our dancers are of­ten caught on cam­era ‘in flight’ and al­ways de­fy­ing grav­ity,” says BM artis­tic di­rec­tor Lisa Macuja-El­izalde, ex­plain­ing the bal­let com­pany’s theme. Set­ting the tone for BM’s sea­son will be the world pre­miere of Ger­ardo Fran­cisco’s Ibong Adarna. In­spired by a clas­sic of Philip­pine lit­er­a­ture, the bal­let de­tails the search for the myth­i­cal bird whose singing is be­lieved to have mag­i­cal cu­ra­tive pow­ers. The elu­sive and clever bird is brought to life on­stage by prin­ci­pal dancer Kather­ine Bark­man and soloist Abi­gail Oliveiro al­ter­nat­ing in the ti­tle role. West End vet­eran Gia Macuja Atchi­son pro­vides Ibong Adarna’s singing voice. Beloved for gen­er­a­tions—some say it was writ­ten as far back as the 1500s—Ang Ibong Adarna is an epic burst­ing with ad­ven­ture, treach­ery, and sor­cery; at its core, it’s a story about good tri­umph­ing over evil and the power of for­give­ness. Trans­lat­ing all of this through chore­og­ra­phy, the pro­duc­tion fea­tures sev­eral fly­ing se­quences, ex­quis­ite cos­tumes, and in­no­va­tive set de­signs. “We gave free rein to our prin­ci­pal dancer/res­i­dent chore­og­ra­pher Ger­ardo Fran­cisco to do his first orig­i­nal two-act bal­let. He is such a multi-tal­ented artist that we are go­ing all the way in sup­port­ing his vi­sion. It should be a rev­e­la­tion,” says Macuja-El­izalde. Au­gust 26 and Septem­ber 2, 6 p.m., Aliw Theater, CCP Com­plex, Pasay; 525.5967; Tick­ets avail­able through Tick­et­world, 891.9999, tick­et­world.com.ph; bal­let­manila.com.ph; @Bal­let­Manila on Face­book, Twit­ter, and In­sta­gram.

FANCy FEATh­ERS Bal­let Manila soloist Abi­gail Oliveiro soars in Ibong Adarna.

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