By Patricia Simone Dauz

There is beauty in tragedy. Having gathered some of the top choreographers in the country, Ballet Philippines (BP) presented an ode to a killer disease with a minimalist stage. Save for a very few props in some numbers, as well as textual video projections for each ones. The stage was laid bare to fully focus on the dancer’s body alone as a medium of expression.

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Aptly titled Body Positive, the show endeavors to spread awareness regarding HIV’s statistics in the country. Daily, twenty new cases on the average have been recorded for this year. MSM’s (men who have sex with men) activities accounted for 84% of the cases in a survey which was conducted between 2010 and 2015.

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Sala sa Init, Sala sa Lamig
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A scene from Sala sa Init, Sala sa Lamig

“Internationally, artists and gays have always been prone to this disease and this has increased in our present world of quick connections and invisible borders,” said BP Artistic Director Paul Morales in the show’s souvenir program. This recognition of the harsh truth that the disease spares no one has motivated BP to mount this show which promotes HIV awareness.

Viewers can expect both restaged BP dance pieces, as well as new ones when they watch the show. Some recycled dances favorites are “Black Swan Grand Pas de Deux,” “Cucurucucu Paloma,” “ Sala sa Init, Sala sa Lamig,”  “Two Barres, a Man and the Plague (A Sad Truth),” “Bach Concerto,” “Requiem to a Cygnet,” “White Swan Grand Pas de Deux,” “Cloth,”  “Will You Still Be There,” and “Bolero.”

My most favorite piece is danseur-choreographer Labayen’s “Cloth” which was performed by Victor Maguad and PJ Rebullida. I was unaware that time I watched that the dance piece received the Outstanding Achievement in Choreography from the Isadora Duncan Awards. I liked the way the dancers deftly maneuvered the white cloth as they pulled it and even encased themselves in it. What I saw in the dance was the clear image of endless cycles, going back and forth, making the same mistakes, and starting over again stronger.

The lineup of choreographers and stagers include Enrico Labayen, Marc Bogaerts, William Carter, Max Luna III, Alden Lugnasin, Erl Emmanuel Sorilla, Nonoy Froilan, Katherine Trofeo, Carissa Adea, Cecile Sicangco, and the BP Artistic Director himself Paul Alexander Morales.

The show will have its last run on the  19th of September at 6 o’clock in the evening.

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