“Like a spirit caught between two opposing forces, Inang bayan grows weak. The dictator’s dance of power is overwhelming but Inang Bayan tries to be brave, for the rebel vows to stop at nothing for his mother country.”
The dramatic encounter is one of the many heart-wrenching scenes in Ballet Manila’s “Rebel” opening on February 25, featuring the choreography of British artist Martin Lawrence. The production is in line with the 30th anniversary of the People Power Revolution and showcases the artists of Ballet Manila.
Lisa Macuja-Elizalde as Inang Bayan
Ballet Manila Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde returns onstage as Inang Bayan. The cast also includes Rudy de Dios and Mark Sumaylo (Benigno), Gerardo Francisco and Brian Williamson (Ferdinand), Katherine Barkman and Dawna Reign Mangahas (Corazon), Tiffany Chiang and Abigail Oliveiro (Imelda), and Michael Divinagracia and Rudolph Capungcol (Juan dela Cruz).
Inang Bayan is the spirit-like character and soul of the Philippines according to Lisa Macuja-Elizalde. “It is a role that I wanted for myself – as ‘Rebel’ is a dream project of mine. I just wasn’t sure that I would be able to dance after my hip operation, but when I realized that I could, I immediately contacted Martin Lawrance to start work on the project.”
Joanna Ampil as the Voice of Inang Bayan
“Rebel” also features internationally acclaimed musical theater artist Joanna Ampil (as the voice of Inang Bayan), and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga. Costumes are by contemporary fashion designer Jeffrey Rogador.
“Inang Bayan was given a voice because there are so many EDSA anthems that are familiar and immediately identifiable with People Power. Music and lyrics can be very powerful and moving – just like dance. Inserting these anthems with a dramatic singer like Joanna Ampil would simply make our ballet a unique and even more dramatic and effective experience”.
(READ: Joanna Ampil with Broadway Vets in Defying Gravity, Stephen Schwartz Concert)
Lisa has seen Joanna in several performances and has always wanted to perform with the international singer. ” It was in my bucket list to be able to work with her. When I saw her in ‘Bridges of Madison County’ everything just snapped in place Before Bridges, I have seen her work in ‘Miss Saigon’ and ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ in London and also in local theatre productions and concerts.”
(READ: ATEG Brings the Bridges of Madison County to Manila)
Ballet Manila’s “Rebel” was inspired by the full-length ballet “Spartacus,” although the characters and events were from the historic EDSA Revolution. The music was composed by Aram Khachaturian in 1954, and was awarded a Lenin Prize on the same year. “Spartacus” remains one of Khachaturian’s best-known works.
The music of “Rebel” will blend Khachaturian’s “Spartacus” with the People Power anthems. Lisa strongly believes that the soulful tunes about the Edsa revolution will complement the Khachaturian score.
Maestro Gerard Salonga and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic orchestra will set the momentum for the powerful dance drama. “Gerard was the first and ONLY choice to do Rebel. I have worked with him many times in the past. He was my only choice. The music and the dance will tell the story – the songs and lyrics will be secondary. It will be a beautiful and moving moment of theatre and pure art”.
“Rebel” is presented in cooperation with the Manila Broadcasting Company, Star City, ACS Manufacturing Corporation, First United Travel, with Official TV Partner – 2nd Avenue. Special thanks to Philcom, Empire Salon, Island Rose, Ramada Hotel, Oasis Park Hotel, Manang’s Chicken, Papa John’s Pizza, Slimmer’s World, Microtel, Armada Hotel and Hot Star Chicken.
Ballet Manila’s “Rebel” goes onstage at 8pm on February 25, 26, and 27, and at 3pm on February 28 at the Aliw Theater in Pasay City. Tickets are available through Ticketworld outlets, call 891-9999 or at www.ticketworld.com.ph.