PBT: Kalayaan on Pointe in San Francisco | Inquirer

PBT: Kalayaan on Pointe in San Francisco


SAN FRANCISCO — Over the weekend, the hottest ticket in the Filipino American community in the Bay Area for once was not a show featuring a popular singing group, a matinee idol or beauty queen but the Philippine Ballet Theatre, a resident company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

As part of the 121st celebration of the Declaration of Philippine Independence, PBT, as the troupe is called, was flown in by Philippine Airlines. Its June 23 debut performance in San Francisco entitled Kalayaan on Pointe at the McKenna Theatre was hosted by the San Francisco Manila Sister City Committee under Carmen Colet, KalayaanSF with Chairman Radi Calalang, and the Philippine Consulate General headed by Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. PBT its well applauded pas, solos and suites with aplomb and finesse.


PBT artists modeling in Kalayaan Heritage Fashion Show in Union Square. NICOLAS PHOTOGRAPHY

The Bay Area audience got a glimpse of PBT artistry at the KalayaanSF Open Air Festival in Union Square on Saturday, June 22, via a flashmob performance and a uniquely presented Kalayaan Heritage Fashion Show with creations by Cora Manimbo, also a PBT Trustee, featuring stylized traditional Ternos, Maria Claras and Barongs in handwoven fabric. The clothes were modeled by the ballet dancers who pirouetted on the stage and just blew the crowd away. For accessories, they wore fine handcrafted gold filigree jewelry created by Oscar Atendido.

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PBT: Kalayaan on Pointe began with the Great Classics showcasing dynamic  technique and grace, as principal dancers showed precision and form: Veronica Atienza and Matthew Davo in “Nutcracker Sugar Plum Fairy” grand pas,  Irene Kim Abrogena and Crimson Guijem as charming and gallant Danilo in “Merry Widow, ” and  Ma. Regina Magbitang with Dominador Delmo in “Don Quixote” grand pas.


“Andres KKK,” an original choreography by Gener Caringal, displayed in full fury the painful journey of the revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio, his wife, Gregoria, and outnumbered brave Katipuneros. It was riveting and heart-tugging. Anatoly Panasyukov, formerly of the Bolshoi Ballet and now PBT Philippine Ballet Master, played the Spanish Officer.

PBT artists in performing a classic grand pas. REY DEL FIERRO

“Our audience was transported back to Philippine history and never felt prouder.  When they danced to ‘Ang Bayan Kong Pilipinas.’ I saw Filipino guests shedding tears!” said Marilou Magsaysay, president of PBT.

The third part of Kalayaan on Pointe, Serye at Sayaw, choreographed by Ranilo Jaynario, brought romantic twists, while making the audience swoon to love scenes and music of the late 1900s sung by matinee idols like Gary Valenciano in Hanggang sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan, Regine Velasquez/Tuwing Umuulan, Ariel Rivera in Ngayon at Kailanman, Martin Nievera for Ikaw ; Kailangan Kita by Piolo Pascual, and Kay Ganda Ng Musika by Hajji Alejandro.

Principal male soloist Kazier Policarpio partnered with Kim Abrogena in “How Do You Keep the Music Playing” and with Maika Samson in “Ngayon at Kailanman.” Mark Pineda danced in “Hanggang Sa Dulo Ng Walang Hanggan” and Julafer Fegarido partnered with Gladys Baybayan in “Kailangan Kita.”


They were lyrical, light like dryads, quick and fearless. The athleticism of Ma. Regina Magbitang was jawdropping. To complete the ensemble were Maria Michaella Carreon, Marika Desembrana, Marianne Francisco, Maria Isabel Gonzalez, Carl Lacaba, and Clarise Miranda. Artistic Director Ranilo D. Jaynario took care of the light and sound team.


The audience was on its feet at curtain call. For an encore, PBT did a contemporary number called “Dancing In One Voice.”

PBT dancers with John and Barbara Osterweis, President Emeritus of San Francisco Ballet (last row, left); Radi Calalang, Chair of KalayaanSF (in Barong Tagalog) and Dr. Ennie Arguelles, Vice Chair of SFMSCC (extreme right). REY DEL FIERRO


The San Francisco debut was preceded by performances in San Jose and Los Angeles. “The reception in each venue was as amazing and heartwarming, with standing ovations and thunderous applause,” said Noemi Estrella Casino, PBT treasurer.

While in San Francisco, Anatoly Panasyukov conducted a master class at the Westlake School for the Performing Arts in Daly City. During the few days in town, the tourists visited all the famous landmarks of the City, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Ghirardelli Square. Last Friday, the Philippine Consulate General of San Francisco hosted a reception for the entourage.

As soon as it returns Manila, PBT will be rehearsing the re-staging of “Mir-I-nisa,” the first full-length Filipino ballet slated for July 27-28 at the Cultural center of the Philippines as part of its 50th anniversary.

The PBT performances were made possible by a corporate and community partnership. Kudos to the following: Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippine Consulate General of San Francisco, San Francisco Manila Sister City Committee, KalayaanSF, Oishi, NorCal Performing Arts, One Global, Chevron, SM Development Corporation, MegaWorld and Philippine Airlines.

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TAGS: art, ballet, dance
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