The Inbox

Alice Reyes’ Rama Hari returns to the stage

Christian Bautista and Karylle in Rama Hari

By Pablo A. Tariman,VERA Files

In town for a short visit is   choreographer and Ballet Philippines founder Alice Reyes who is re-staging her work, "Rama Hari" which will open at the CCP main theater on November 30.

With music by Ryan Cayabyab and libretto by poet and National Artist for Literature Bien Lumbera and retaining the original set and design of Salvador Bernal, Rama Hari was last seen in 1980 with Kuh Ledesma and Basil Valdez as the singing voices of the pop ballet's protagonists.

For its 2012 revival,  Christian Bautista and  Karylle have taken over the singing roles of Rama and Sita while the dancing parts will be essayed by Jean Marc Cordero and Richardson Yadao and Carissa Adea and Katherine Trofeo.

With humor, she likes to think that her 1980 opus was once her baby and rehearsing it once more after 32 years felt like seeing a favorite grandchild come to life again.

"It is exciting for me because it's like rediscovering something dear to you and now you are suddenly confronted on how to make it fresh and relevant for the new generation," says Reyes who earned a BA in history and foreign affairs at Maryknoll College. "Nevertheless, it is interesting to see the same piece now being interpreted by young, if somewhat, different bodies."

In the initial rehearsals, she was overwhelmed by young energetic bodies.

"The new breed of dancers is just amazing. I was just stunned by what they could do with the little studios that are available. When we started here 43 years ago, the offices and resident companies were just us and we had the basement rehearsal hall to ourselves. Now, they are cramped in those little studios but otherwise doing well. Looking at the dancers, I must say they are technically fantastic," Reyes shares her admiration for the young artists.

Alice Reyes in rehearsalAlice can certainly look back to enjoy the fruits of her dance pioneering. Forty three years ago, she started with 40 dancers who appeared in regular seasons.

Forty  three  years ago, she struggled to put up a dance concert by harnessing a few dance enthusiasts. This was the seed that later sprouted to become the CCP Dance Company later called Ballet Philippines.

"When we were starting, I realized I had to involve not only the dancers but also their parents. I literally had to implore them to care of their children's costumes for the time being. Indeed, we started with nothing but talent and imagination."

Since her school days, Alice thought that dancing was, for her, the most natural thing to do. After all, her parents are highly artistic people. Her father, Ricardo Reyes, was known as Mr. Philippine Folk Dancer"; her mother, Adoracion Garcia was a voice teacher whose pupils include former first lady, Imelda  Romualdez Marcos.

Born in October 70 years ago,  Alice is a Libra and is, in her own words, very positive.

Just as down to earth as she is aware of the realities of dance, she had no fear of being uprooted from the realm of dance. "One thing about me is that I have no fear of not being n dance at some stage of my life. I think one of the reasons I keep my sanity is that I've always worked on the premise that if I were not involved in one activity, I am also creative enough to be into something else."

Alice Reyes with Paul Morales, Ryan Cayabyab and Bien LumberaAnd so when she left Ballet Philippines some 20 years ago, she found work teaching design in an export and design company.

"You can say that at some point in my life, my choreographic life literally went to sleep while I was doing designs in another field of work.  It isn't really far from choreography.  I also have to tap into my artistry while dealing with artisans and craftsmen. The big difference in this new work is that I don't have to raise funds," she says with a big laugh.

Looking back, she can be honest with the highs and lows of a choreographer's life including her stint as former artistic director of Ballet Philippines.

She shares the wisdom of experience:"Choreographing is an unending cycle. You always have to start from zero and as you work with your imagination and your dancers, you always wonder if it is going to work. You mount it  on stage and make your statement. You always say 'I could have done this and that or you say 'It could have been better if I did this and that'.' The biggest pleasure as a choreographer is when I see dancers take my breath away. I think this attitude is a blessing. Because I am never threatened by anybody. I could take joy in somebody else's success."

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. During the assault, Kim screamed a slogan in favour of …

  • Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile
    Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago believes granting Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile house arrest, while former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains under hospital detention, will violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. “That’s already a violation of the equal protection of the law,” she said. …

  • 8 of 10 cities most at risk from natural disasters located in Phl – study
    8 of 10 cities most at risk from natural disasters located in Phl – study

    Eight of 10 world cities most exposed to natural hazards are in the Philippines and more than half of the 100 cities most exposed to earthquakes, storms and other disasters are in four Asian nations, according to a research. The study, published on Wednesday by risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft, analyzed the threat posed by storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, volcanoes and landslides in more than 1,300 cities. The study found that the 10 cities most at risk are Port Vila in …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

  • Ex-crew recognizes photos of sunken Japanese battleship
    Ex-crew recognizes photos of sunken Japanese battleship

    TOKYO (AP) — A former crewmember on a Japanese battleship that sank during World War II said Thursday he recognized photos of wreckage discovered this week off the Philippines by a team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options