Ballet Manila Dances Papa Jack’s Radio Show

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Prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Ballet Manila co-artistic director Osias Barroso

Prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Ballet Manila co-artistic director Osias Barroso

In another pioneering effort, Ballet Manila combines pop radio, ballet and original Pilipino music (OPM) in its 19th season-opener dubbed Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika: An OPM Festival.

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The gala night will be on August 22, 7:30 p.m., at the Aliw Theater in Pasay City, with other performances slated on August 23, 24, 29, 30 and 31.

Featured in this production is the top-rating advice show TLC (True Love Conversations), hosted by Papa Jack and aired on 90.7 Love Radio.

Four Ballet Manila dancer-choreographers have come up with new pieces based on love stories culled from the radio program. “Musika’t Pag-ibig” by Jonathan Janolo depicts the search for love. “Pangarap” by Francis Jaena focuses on a love triangle that later has a twist. “Handog” by Michael Divinagracia is the story of a man’s ultimate sacrifice for his beloved. “Barkada” by Gerardo Francisco is a celebration of friendship, love and happy endings.

Papa Jack, John Gemperle in real life, appears onstage for the TLC ballet, giving advice—as he does on his program—for each story presented in dance.

“I have to thank my co-artistic director Osias Barroso for this idea of creating a ballet bringing in the mass appeal of this highly popular program and its charismatic host,” reveals prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde who is also artistic director of Ballet Manila.

The first part of Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika features the Luzviminda Ballet Suite, comprised of numbers representative of the country’s three major island-groups.

Jojo Lucila interprets a story from the upland communities in “Sari’t Bahag” (Luzon); Rudy de Dios portrays a fisherman’s daily activities in “Kinabuhing Mandaragat/ Buhay Mandaragat;” and Gerardo Francisco creates a wedding scene taken from the Ballet Manila epic production “Alamat: Si Sibol at Si Gunaw (Mindanao).”

Ballet Manila has always drawn on the richness of OPM to set the tone for its locally flavored productions. This can be traced to Macuja-Elizalde’s first experience dancing classical ballet to Filipino music shortly after returning from Russia. This was in 1987 when she got to share the stage with Basil Valdez, Celeste Legaspi and Douglas Nierras in Tuliro Ngayon at Kailanman.

Shortly after, she and Barroso were invited to dance at the Urian Awards—to Gary Valenciano’s Sana Maulit Muli, one of the nominated movie theme songs. In both instances, viewers were able to relate instantly to their numbers, even if what they were dancing wasn’t widely known, because of the music.

The ballerina thus believes the fusion of classical ballet and OPM music is here to stay. “It creates a bridge between ballet and audiences, particularly the young ones. That’s why we want to continue celebrating OPM through the Filipino productions we present.”

For tickets and other inquiries, contact Ballet Manila at 525-5967 or 400-0292, info@balletmanila.com.ph and www.balletmanila.com.ph; or Ticketworld at 891-9999 or ticketworld.com.ph.

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