Novy Bereber choregraphs for Ballet Philippines' "Inamorata" Sept. 23-25, 2011

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Ballet Philippines stages Inamorata
By Walter Ang
September 2011

Novy Bereber choreographs for
Ballet Philippines' "Inamorata"
Former Ballet Philippines choreographer and company member Novy Bereber is returning to choreograph a new piece for the company's production this September.

He will stage "Nanay" for "Inamorata," (Italian for "the beloved") a showcase of "classic and contemporary works about the women we love, presenting the many their facets" with works by different choreographers.

The production is part of BP's 42nd season (2010-2011) dubbed "The Faces of Eve," a celebration of the centennial of International Women's Day.

Other new works are choreographed by BP artistic director Paul Alexander Morales, BP resident choreographer Alden Lugnasin, and former BP artistic director Denisa Reyes.

Also choregraphing are Dance=Pull Dance Company artistic director Dwight Rodrigazo; Hong Kong-based choreographer and 2010 Gawad Buhay winner for Outstanding Choreography ("Shifting Wait") Carlo Pacis; and winner of BP's 2011 Choreographer's Cup, Don Adrian Obviar.

Each one will render a dance sketch of their muse, accompanied by sopranos Rachelle Gerodias and Camille Lopez-Molina, among others.

The show will feature costumes designed by top Filipino fashion designers Rajo Laurel, Lulu Tan Gan, Ito Curata and Jojie Lloren.

Despite the company's name, BP doesn't just focus on classical ballet; its dancers are trained in different forms.  Just last month, it restaged Agnes Locsin's neo-ethnic "Encantada," allowing the old work to be seen by new audiences and to be learned by younger dancers.

This notion of "passing on" is mirrored in Bereber's own revisiting to BP.  With his more than a decade's worth of experience as dancer, choreographer and teacher, he is sharing his exposure with the dancers via a dance style he's developed which he coins "Asian contemporary."

"As with all my pieces, style is dictated by subject matter; style and subject can never be separated. The OFW situation is a contemporary issue; the style of the dance is therefore contemporary. At the same time, this is an Asian issue.  I'm incorporating many gestures and movements from all the Asian genres: from folkloric Filipino traditions to Bollywood, from Thai classical dance to the constantly changing dance genres of Beijing Opera."

"'Nanay' is about all Filipino mothers who leave their children with their families as overseas workers. It's about the many levels of suffering caused by the OFW experience: the suffering of a mother who has to abandon her children; and the pain of the children."

Bereber's own mother was an OFW and left him to the care of his grandmother.  "This piece has so much emotional resonance for me; the passing earlier this year of my dear grandmother, who brought me up, has made it very emotional for me," he says.

"In addition, my piece is also about the 'nanay' of the mothers-they have to bring their grandchildren up, substituting as their mother.  She is burdened with having to explain to the children why their mother, her own daughter, is not there for them."

Around the world
Ironically, Bereber has not been able to pursue his career in dance without having to leave the country himself.

"I think it's incredibly sad that the enormously skilled and talented dancers produced by the Philippines find it difficult to work locally. They have to work in cruise ships or theme parks abroad.  Having lived and worked in Canada and Australia, I never cease to be amazed by how much support, financial and otherwise, is given to dancers by the government."

Born in Capiz, Bereber started out with Dagyaw dance company in his native Visayas region.  He later joined Ballet Philippines and has since worked in countries all over the world.  He performed in the 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Vancouver, Canada and recently choreographed "Black Swan Apotheosis!" for the 2011 Sydney Mardi Gras.

Even as he dances his way around the world, he still consistently returns to Manila to create works for all the major dance companies including Ballet Manila and Philippines Ballet Theatre.  He's also done work for Dagyaw and contemporary dance company Airdance.

Other works
The classic pieces included in the show are from different ballets, all restaged by Victor Ursabia.

"The Dying Swan," choreographed by Mikhail Fokine for ballerina Anna Pavlova, set to the music of Camille Saint-Saens' "Le Cygne."

The comedic love pas de deux from "Harlequinade," to show women's wit and whimsy, choreographed by Marius Petipa with music by Riccardo Drigo.

The bravura pas de deux from "Flames of Paris," a ballet set in the French Revolution, choreographed by Vasily Vainonen with music by Boris Asafiev.

"Inamorata" runs for one weekend only, Sept 23-25, 2011, at Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater), Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City. Call 551-1003, 345-6601, 832-3704 or Ticketworld 891-9999. Visit

Bonus! Here's a video from Ballet Philippines about the show:

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

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