Ode to the Feminine
Ballet Philippines and the Yuchengco Museum; Opening Virtual Doors to Dance and Visual Arts for Women’s Month
Communicating through ballet and visual art ‘The Power of Choice’ in ‘Ode to the Feminine’
Ballet Philippines is excited to announce a noteworthy partnership with the Yuchengco Museum in time for Women’s Month.
‘Ode to the Feminine’ is a collaboration that depicts the harmonious relationship between female-centric Philippine masterpieces displayed in the Museum and impeccable choreography performed by top Ballet Philippines’ dancers. The timing for this performance could not have come at a more appropriate time as Women’s Month celebrations are in full swing.
This is the first of a series of video productions that will be collaborated on by these institutions who have adjusted to the times by bringing their respective audiences to a digital platform. Ballet Philippines’ President, Kathleen L. Liechtenstein, shares how BP OnStream, their digital platform, has served both their audience and the dancers,
“Pivoting to a digital stage was a daring move for us but nearing a year of this, we’ve seen positive results. Our daily (Monday to Friday) online classes for our dancers resulted in a total of 5, 166 attendees in the past 8 months. We’ve brought in fantastic learning opportunities through our Masterclass series with big names in ballet such as Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, Joy Annabelle Womack, Jason Kittelberger, Anthony Huxley, George Birkdaze, Matthew Ball, Anthony Huxley and Victoria Ananyan, just to name a few. These masters have provided our dancers with training that would otherwise have been challenging to arrange in regular times.”
On how BP OnStream has given the audience a chance to continue to enjoy ballet, she says,
“Each month, we have free streaming classic full-length ballet productions available for viewing which we highly encourage our audience to make an occasion of watching with their family and loved ones. Our aim is to continue the connection we have with our audience but in a safe environment. Which is why we also have the portion of OnStream dedicated to original video productions such as ‘Ode to the Feminine’. We not only provide our dancers the chance to continue to perform their craft, but we also reach out and engage with a wider audience that may be new to ballet.”
This is how the idea of ‘Ode to the Feminine’ was born. Both institutions have taken their offerings to the digital arena to continue the relationship forged with their audience. This time by celebrating Women through art and dance. Liechtenstein continues,
“The Yuchengco Museum holds a rich collection of Philippine cultural heritage in visual art. The idea of using these masterpieces to showcase the strength, grace and beauty of a woman in time for Women’s Month was exciting! It’s the perfect way to expose both ballet and Yuchenco’s impressive woman-centric art collection, to a larger and perhaps newer audience during this pandemic.”
Jeannie Javelosa, Director of the Yuchengco Museum, adds,
“The objective of this collaboration is to expand the experience of art. So with dance, movement, visual art, music and spatial imagery of the museum, we hope that we can expand this appreciation of multi-arts coming together to create new experiences for everyone.”
The opening scene of this unique production in fact, focuses on National Artist, Botong Francisco’s, oil on canvas entitled ‘Courtship Ritual’ (1937). Francisco is an artist known for his historic murals. When asked why they focused on this piece in particular, Javelosa explains,
‘To highlight his small genre work with such subtlety of color, composition and emotive qualities makes the piece unique. The subject of the painting is representative of the courtship practice in the Cordillera region (Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Kalinga). The man serenades the woman of his choice from the communal home where young ladies (who are ready to marry) all live together. The ritual can be controversial in that it ends with the lady letting the man of her choice in her blanket. It is the lady’s choice, no one else’s. If they conceive (important to make sure they have offspring to work the land) they can get married.”
This is why the central theme of ‘Ode to the Feminine’ both visually and in choreography is ‘The Power of Choice’. Choice, as depicted in ‘Courtship Ritual’, shows that even in the pre-Spanish Philippines, women were empowered to make decisions independently. From those days till today, it makes a solid statement on women’s empowerment for this March offering.