Ballet Manila presents: Ibong Adarna

25 August 2017

When I was still studying, I had this habit of reading my school books immediately after my Mom buys them for me at enrollment. Even before the official school year rolls around, I have already finished reading all the stories in my Filipino, English, and Christian Living books.

One of the books I devoured was Ibong Adarna, which was required reading in our Filipino subject when I was in first year high school. This folk tale follows the journey of three mighty brothers—Pedro, Diego, and Juan, as they search for the magical bird whose voice possesses healing powers. There's drama, comedy, adventure, and of course, romance.

Imagine my delight when I found out that Ballet Manila is doing their own interpretation of Ibong Adarna!

For the past couple of decades, Ballet Manila has constantly made great leaps in classical dance. Now on its 22nd performance season, the company is again raising the bar as it prepares to just take off and soar.

With the title Flights of Fantasy, the upcoming season is opening with the world premiere of Ibong Adarna featuring the choreography of principal dancer Gerardo Francisco. The multi-awarded choreographer and gifted danseur is set to bring to life the magical kingdom of Berbanya at the Aliw Theater stage.

The ballet will feature original music by Diwa De Leon, son of National Artist Felipe de Leon Jr. Adding magic to the script by Angela Blardony Ureta, new costumes and sets were designed by Make It Happen Workshop just for this production. Everything is tied together by Gerardo’s libretto, which will showcase its range and creativity through scenes such as the Alitaptap Dance, the Monkey Dance, and the scene between Juan and the Ibong Adarna.

Ballet Manila's CEO and Founder prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde describes the show as “a modern ballet with neo-classical and classical styles that serve as the cornerstone of the dance vocabulary.” Ballet Manila is known for its Vaganova roots, and this ballet highlights the company’s strength and foundations—creating a sleek and distinct look for all of Ballet Manila’s performers.

Ibong Adarna promises a world-class show that will make any Filipino proud. Other than the magical story itself, Gerardo used elements like music and traditions from all over the Philippines. Through this combination, he shows the country’s rich culture not only a Filipino audience, but also to the whole world.

Taking on the starring role of the Singing Adarna is Lisa’s sister and West End actress, Gia Macuja-Atchison, whose credits include The Lion King (Princess Nala), Miss Saigon (Gigi and Ellen), Jesus Christ Superstar (Mary Magdalene), and Here Lies Love (Estrella Cumpas).

I wish we can also support Filipino talents and productions the same way we support foreign acts who go here.

Ibong Adarna’s world premiere is tomorrow, August 26 at 6:00 PM. Other show dates are: September 2 at 6:00 PM, and on August 27 and September 3 at 3:00 PM. All shows at Aliw Theater in Pasay City.

For more information about the shows, including ticket prices and schedules, you may visit Ballet Manila's website or follow Ballet Manila on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Tickets are also available through all TicketWorld outlets. Please call 891-9999 or visit their website for more information. In addition, those who are planning to watch all the shows may take advantage of the company’s Season Subscription Programs, which offer up to 50% discount on ticket prices. For more information, you may visit this link and click on ‘View Details’ under ‘Season Subscription Program’.

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