La Revolucion Filipina Opens Ballet Philippines’ 45th Season
When in Manila, one should never miss out on watching Ballet Philippines, the country’s classical and contemporary company. This year, Ballet Philippines, in cooperation with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, proudly announces the return of Agnes Locsin’s La Revolucion Filipina to kick off the company’s 45th Anniversary – The Sapphire Season.The sublime paralytic Apolinario Mabini and the story of his role in the Philippine Revolution are brought into the limelight once again, just in time for the hero’s sesquicentennial birth anniversary.
La Revolucion Filipina is named Outstanding Dance Production and winner of Outstanding Choreography for Agnes Locsin at the 2008 Gawad Buhay Awards, La Revolucion Filipina features original music by Ryan Cayabyab and libretto by Dennis Marasigan. Choreographer Agnes Locsin was a former artistic director and resident choreographer of Ballet Philippines. She was the Gawad CCP awardee for Dance in 2012.This fourth restaging of the modern dance masterpiece is led by three members of La Revolucion Filipina’s original cast, Annette Cruz-Mariano, Judell de Guzman-Sicam, and Alden Lugnasin.
Sonny Locsin as Apolinario Mabini.
As the curtain was raised up, two men were seen on stage. Set in June 1898. Apolinario Mabini, the “sublime paralytic” of the Philippine Revolution is resting on his hammock by a roadside en route to Kawit, Cavite where Emilio Aguinaldo is set to proclaim the independence from Spain of the whole Philippine archipelago. Mabini believes that declaration to be premature. Aguinaldo disagrees.
The Heroes – Richardson Yadao as Aguinaldo, Sonny Locsin as Mabini, and Earl John Arisola as Bonifacio
Act I takes place sometime in the 16th century. A tribe of lowland dwellers go on their daily lives, their bodies seeming to be influences of foreign cultures as they take on new manners and new clothes. Finally, the shadow of Spanish subjugation covers them all. Amidst all of this, the figures of Apolinario Mabini, Emilio Aguinaldo, and Andres Bonifacio stand out.
Sonny Locsin as Apolinario Mabini in Agnes Locsin’s La Revolucion Filipina
1890’s. Bonifacio, Mabini, and Aguinaldo become witness to cruelties inflicted on their fellowmen by the Spaniards and by other “indios” of their time. With the inspiration of the muses of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, Bonifacio forms a secret society called the Kagalang-galangan, Kataas-taasang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan, or Katipunan. Aguinaldo later joins the secret society. Mabini chooses to side with the reformists. With the discovery of the Katipunan, the Revolution begins. The schism among Filipino heightens. Aguinaldo is elected President of the nascent Filipino nation. Bonifacio is tried for treason and killed. Mabini blames Aguinaldo for Bonifacio’s death. The citizens become confused.
The Triad – Kris-Belle Paclibar, Rita Winder, Karmela Cortez
Richardson Yadao as Emilio Aguinaldo and Sonny Locsin as Apolinario Mabini
Act II starts with the scene where the United States of America is drawn into war with Spain. Mabini expresses caution in dealing with the Americans. Aguinaldo in exile, instructs three women to sew a flag for the Filipino nation. Aided by the Americans, he returns to declare Philippine Independence. Mabini is asked to become Aguinaldo’s adviser. Mabini guides Aguinaldo in running the government of the fledging nations.
In Malolos, Aguinaldo convenes a Congress that ratifies the Declaration of Independence. The Congress proceeds to form a new Constitution, much against the wishes of Mabini. Aguinaldo is caught between his influential adviser and ilustrado-dominated Congress.
Mabini, Aguinaldo, and the Ilustrados
One by one, Aguinaldo allies desert him and join the Americans.Aguinaldo contemplates a peaceful settlement with the Americans. Mabini resigns from the Cabinet.Armed hostilities between the Filipinos and Americans begin. Mabini witnesses the treachery of his fellowmen and the cruelty they inflict on their fellow Filipinos.
The Americans close in on Aguinaldo as his aides are killed or desert him. In Palanan, Aguinaldo wrongly trusted those whom he thought were dressed as Filipinos to be faithful to the Filipino cause. Aguinaldo is captured and forced to pledge allegiance to the American flag. Aguinaldo becomes witness to the continuing division among Filipinos. He is unable to take any action, paralyzed by his belief that no longer holds any lofty position.
Mabini and Aguinaldo at the Malolos Congress
The show ended when Mabini rises from his chair and accuses the present of turning its back on its past. The tribesman must shed his second skin to rediscover his own. Only then can people see what truly makes a nation one.
Richardson Yadao as Emilio Aguinaldo in Agnes Locsin’s La Revolucion Filipina
The show is set in a neo-ethnic dance technique, in which Agnes Locsin is known for as a pioneer in the Philippine dance scene. She draws inspiration from Philippine tribal dances, practices, beliefs, and stories, Locsin reworked and reinterpreted these into the framework of existing classical ballet and modern dance technique, resulting in a unique dance form suited for the Filipino’s physical frame, temperament, and culture.
La Revolucion Filipina was able to capture Filipino artistry and at the same time educate its audience on what it truly means to be a Filipino. As a dance artist, it is good to know that in the Philippine dance scene shows like this are being produced and as I observe the crowd who watched the show more and more youth were able to watch and appreciate such classics of the dance industry.
The artistic and creative teams of La Revolucion Filipina are led by Agnes Locsin (Choreographer), Ryan Cayabyab (Music Composer), Dennis Marasigan (Librettist), Mio Infante (Set Designer), Virgilio “Katsch” Catoy (Lighting Designer), Victor Ursabia (Costume Designer), Annette Cruz-Mariano, Judell de Guzman-Sicam and Alden Lugnasin (Restagers).
The 45th Anniversary Sapphire Season features rare scenes of power and grace, love, valour and redemption under the artistic directorship of Paul Alexander Morales. This is a toast to 45 years of dance excellence!
Cultural Center of the Philippines