Ballet Philippines ends its 53rd season with an original production of Carlo Calma’s DIYOSA. Opening night which you could read about here was one for the ages. Patrons and special guests were treated to the world premiere of the ballet, which was written by architect Carlo Calma and choreographed by Ballet Philippines Artistic Director Misha Martynyuk. The production was generally secretive, as the company aimed to surprise audiences with a modern take on the mythology of Filipino gods and goddesses.
Audiences were struck by the big risks Ballet Philippines made. DIYOSA was noted for being distinctive from past productions for its use of electronic music, modern dance, and architectural design to tell a uniquely Filipino story. Congressman Toff de Vencia writes in his review that DIYOSA is “a stunning showcase of Pinoy creativity—from the amorphous and totemic set pieces to the architectural and geometric costume design, from the industrial soundscape that accompanied each vignette to the contemporary choreography…This is a way forward for our creative economy.”
The production also touches upon the themes of climate change by showcasing numerous environmental issues the country faces today. The show is abstract in nature, and leaves a lot to interpretation. Cat Juan Ledesma calls it: “Carlo Calma’s fever dream that brings together Filipino folklore, architecture, techno and the environment. A wild ride indeed.” Niccy Cabas writes: “The concept of using architecture and performing arts to promote environmentalism is an interesting and timely one, and it’s encouraging to see artists like Carlo Calmo using their talents to raise awareness about important issues. Kudos, Ballet Philippines!”
Other reviews noted how the production was able to showcase different aspects of Filipino artistry in a fun and interesting way. Franz Sorilla of Philippine Tatler writes: “Carlo Calma’s Diyosa for Ballet Philippines is an explosion of visual and performance art…It’s an enjoyable showcase of all the things I personally love about the arts and our Filipino culture.” Kanto’s Gabrielle de la Cruz states in her review that DIYOSA is “fun and entertaining with eclectic quirky god characters-fusing art, music, fashion, architecture, and the power of dance.”
Artistic Director Mischa Martynyuk’s choreography was also celebrated for its creativity and modern edge. Luliette Monbiot shared: “The quality of the choreography and dancing kept to a high standard and never flagged.” Dr. Joven Cuanang was another guest at the gala premiere who spoke about DIYOSA with enthusiasm. “The performance was superb in every possible way,” he writes. “It felt like I was transported to the moon. It was pure genius! Clearly, [Ballet Philippines] is on its way to the next 50 years with only the best!”