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'Giselle' opens Ballet Philippines' 44th season

August 16, 2013 6:10pm
"Giselle," regarded as one of the greatest of the Romantic ballets, headlines the Ballet Philippines' 44th season—"illumiNATION,"—which opens on Friday, August 16.

On opening night, Carissa Adea will star in the much-coveted role of the young peasant girl Giselle, while Richardson Yadao dances the part of nobleman Albrecht and Timothy Paul Cabrera takes on the peasant boy Hilarion.

Paul Alexander Morales, artistic director of Ballet Philippines, said the other Giselles in the production are Katherine Trofeo and Denise Parungao. The other Albrechts Jean Marc Cordero and Earl John Arisola, the latter of which also doubles as Hilarion along with Marvin Ryan Arizo.

Award-winning veterans Bembol Roco and Shamaine Centenera-Buencamino grace the 2013 mounting of "Giselle" by performing the roles of the Duke of Courland and Giselle’s mother Berthe, respectively, Morales said.

A love triangle over the years

"Giselle" was first performed in Paris in 1841 with choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot and music by Adolphe Adam. Ballet Philippines (BP) first mounted "Giselle" at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in 1979.

In the 1979 BP production, Natalia Makarova was Giselle, Patrick Bissell was Albrecht, and then-Philippine premier danseur Nonoy Froilan was Hilarion. Froilan is re-staging for BP the 2013 edition of "Giselle."

Morales likened the plot of "Giselle" to a love-triangle movie produced by the defunct LVN Pictures, then one of the prominent and biggest film studios in the Philippines.

In an interview, Morales said "Giselle" is one of Froilan’s most favorite ballets because it "requires dancers to find a sense of truth, not only to be showy in depicting that truth, but to exist in that truth."

"Giselle is a wonderful story of love and forgiveness. It is about a girl falling in love with the wrong boy. The boy turns out to be a prince who pretends to be a peasant to win her. It is like a movie of the LVN Pictures. When the peasant girl finds out the truth, it breaks her heart and then she dies," Morales said.

Margie Moran-Floirendo, BP president, said in a separate interview that "Giselle" opens the "illumiNATION" season because it "expresses love through dance."

"The 44th season is called 'illumiNATION' because we feel that the Philippine economy and our country as a whole are reinvigorated. We hope that the cultural scene in the country will grow in the same manner that our economy is growing. This will interest more people to see what we offer at the CCP," said Moran-Floirendo.

The music of "Giselle" was a pioneer work during the Romantic Period, said Morales. "Giselle is said to be the first ballet where a leifmotif was created. This means that the music in the first part goes on to the other parts in a different emotional level," she added.

Behind 'illumiNATION,' other performances

Morales explained the idea of calling this season "illumiNATION" is to emphasize BP as "a nationalist ballet company—our biggest contribution to Philippine cultural scene are our Filipino ballet pieces and the training of Filipino ballet dancers and talents."      

"We are happy to be recognized for our original choreography, designs, and musical compositions accompanying our original ballet productions," Morales said.

One of the highlights of the 44th season is the Nonoy Froilan and Edna Vida-Froilan tandem in restaging two major works, with Froilan handling "Giselle" and his wife choreographing "A Christmas Carol," which is based on Charles Dicken’s popular novel, Morales said.

"Rock Supremo," the second production for the 44th season tells the romantic and revolutionary lives of Andres Bonifacio in rock ballet and rock songs, with the participation of Radioactive Sago Project, Gloc 9, Sandwich, Dong Abay, Diego Mapa, Kai Honasan, and Francis de Veyra, among others.

"Rock Supremo" will see the stage on September 20-22 and Septembe 27-29, in cooperation with Rock Ed and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

Vida-Froilan’s new choreography for "A Christmas Carol" will bring back her retired ballet dancer-husband Froilan on stage in the role of "Scrooge." "A Christmas Carol" will run from November 29 to December 8.

"Rock Supremo" and "A Christmas Carol" will feature an all-new approach opposite to traditional ballet, which challenges one’s preconceived notions on the dance form, “Morales said.

To close the season, "The Art of Dance," a mixed bill of new and revived works from BP’s arsenal features works that showcases the company’s twin mastery of classical and contemporary ballet. It will be mounted in February 2014. — VC, GMA News

For inquiries, visit, send an email to, or call Ballet Philippines at 551-1003. For tickets and reservations, call the CCP Box Office at 832-3704 or Ticketworld at 891-9999. Like the official Facebook page and follow on Twitter.
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