WASHINGTON, USA:  MANILA  BALLET  WOWS  WASHINGTON  PINOYS

MANILA, June 27, 2005
 
(STAR) By Jose Katigbak STAR Washington bureau — Manila Ballet conquered Washington with a bravura performance Saturday night that brought a small but enthusiastic audience, made up mostly of Filipinos, roaring to its feet with applause and cheers.

For one magical moment, the audience all but forgot the political crises and corruption scandals in the Philippines. The audience was so enthralled by the 21-member troupe’s stirring performance of pure energy — a performance that was capped with the flag-waving number "Sabihin Mo Ikaw ay Pilipino (Tell Them You Are Filipino)."

"It felt good to be a Filipino" that night, embassy cultural attaché Joy Quintana said.

People filing out of the Ernst theater at the Northern Virginia Community College agreed, shouting out superlatives — "fantastic," "terrific," and "great" were the three most heard — to describe the unique blend of Philippine folk dances and traditional ballet that held them spellbound for over an hour.

"I thought it would be your regular, garden-variety Bayanihan performance, but it was unlike anything I’ve seen before," one woman was overheard saying.

Ticket prices ranged from $20 to $100 and only half of the 550-seat theater was occupied — but what the crowd lacked in numbers they more than made up for in enthusiasm, energy and appreciation.

Bing Cardenas Branigin, Manila Ballet’s public relations consultant in Washington, said most of the pricey tickets were bought by companies and she reckoned that, at the very least they would break even.

Before the show began, an emcee told audience members they would see red flags emblazoned with the Katipunan’s initials of KKK — Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalangang Katipunan. The Katipunan was a secret society founded by revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio.

For Filipinos, the initials KKK stood for the righteous organization that fought against great odds to liberate the Philippines from Spanish colonial rule. For most Americans, however, the initials KKK stand for the infamously racist Ku Klux Klan.

Ballet Manila is on a seven-week tour of the United States, performing in Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; La Fayette, Louisiana; Washington DC; Charleston, West Virginia; Chicago, Illinois; Nashville, Tennessee and Detroit, Michigan.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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