BIRD ON A WIRE
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.