REVIEW: “Hugot sa Rosas” – from the core


Hugot sa Rosas
Photo by Erickson Dela Cruz

TFM Review: Hugot sa Rosas by Pia de Ungria
Ballet Philippines dug deep within, far beyond the earth’s crust, past the mantle and we got boiling-hot emotions that steamed from geysers onstage.

Hugot sa Rosas, comes from the concept of “hugot,” an overused albeit truthful expression that roots from our culture’s proclivity to utilize our own experiences in creating colorful phrases, and projecting a certain emotion when needed.

And “hugot” was what we consistently saw in each of the pieces.

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The show started with the premiere of “Where the Light Settles,” a series of three MTVs, and was thus conceptualized to be a short film, about mental illness and coping with it. Featuring the songs Unstable by Autotelic, Kung Alam ko Lang by Maya’s Anklet and In Darkness by The Sun Manager, the short film was able to successfully act out and dance the roller-coaster of emotions that go along with dealing and coping with an ordeal.

Following the premiere is the actual re-staging of Hugot sa Rosas, that featured the songs of Vincent de Jesus from his 2013 album, “Songs to Slash your Wrist by.” The show began with the dancers entering the stage, some staggered with pain, some wandered listlessly like lost souls in limbo, some with nonchalance and youthful folly; a host of emotions flooded the stage, setting the mood for the rest of the pieces.

Each individual performances told a story that revolved around longing, loss and love. The dancers, fueled with angst, had their movements flexing, and extending with the magnitude of “hugot” they bring onstage.

Among the standouts were “Hopia,” a brave depiction of homosexual love that reflected the truth and the niggling fear of the love of one’s life eventually ending up in a heterosexual relationship. “Torpe” was a playful approach to what could have been another coming-of-age story. It captured the innocence of youthful love, and the roguishness of boys. “Padayon” was another commendable piece; raw with emotions, each female dancer was able to show the sorrow of martyrdom and sacrifice. They bent and swayed like palm trees in the middle of their own personal storm.

The stage itself featured random props that helped capture the banality of everyday life which became a stark contrast to the angst raging generously on stage. The light was always soft, and changed in color: a soft blue that bruised with sadness, a vibrant red that burned with passion and sometimes, a darkened-out stage with a soft spotlight that fell dramatically on the dancers.

“Hugot sa Rosas” was indeed a piece that was not just very emotion, but was emotion itself. It was not just the simmering theme that was heartbreakingly quiet; it was scalding, the burn leaves a scar of the third degree kind.

“Hugot sa Rosas” was shown on September 20, 2015 at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino in CCP.

Were you able to catch the show? What did you think?

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