BALLET PHILIPPINE’S (BP) HOLIDAY offering, Noordin Jumalon’s version of “Nutcracker,” centers on the coming of age of little Marie whose love for the wooden Nutcracker doll transforms him into a chivalrous Prince.

Instead of the Sugarplum Fairy, Marie will assume the grand ballerina role. Her advantage is the character development from a wide-eyed child to ballerina who will imbue the grand pas de deux with royalty and a sense of mystery.

Part of this production’s magic is the rotating carousel of dancers who will take on everything from the leading roles of Marie, Sugarplum Fairy and Dewdrop including the soloists of all the Land of Sweets character dances.

BP’s wunderkind Camille Ordinario Joson is now looked upon as the most seasoned member of the company. At 9 years old, she had outsize gifts in technique. She counts William Morgan and former BP artistic director-choreographer Agnes Locsin as significant people who have shaped her style. Morgan’s attention to fine points in ballet technique and nuances in expression polished her skills. And it was in her collaboration with Locsin that she discovered the world of emotional intensity and dancing on the edge.

“In modern dance, you explore the whole spectrum from the ugly to the beautiful. In ballet, it’s about perfection and grace. When you interpret a character, you sometimes venture into the dark side and that gives you a sense of release,” says Joson.

Fullness of attack

With her bold, clear lines and fullness of attack, highlighted by her tantalizing looks, EA Torrado is easily cast as Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen and Arabian Coffee. She shares these roles with Joson.

Her propulsive quality is attributed to Ballet Manila’s Russian training and Myra Beltran’s dramatic free-flowing style.

Torrado describes herself as a dancer in a hurry: “The career is short. I want to do everything as much as I can.” For now, she continues to razzle-dazzle with her physicality, imbued with relaxed musical phrasing.

As a student at Philippine High School for the Arts, Katherine Sanchez Trofeo was lauded for her instinctive performance and delicacy. Her artistic maturity was further honed in the Lab Project of Myra Beltran and Enrico Labayen. Although both had extensive experience in the classics, they imparted the dancers not to get caught up in the narcissism of ballet perfection, to go beyond technique and elevate dance into a spiritual experience. That training helped her create depth in performance.

Her petite frame, girlish looks and delicate dancing make her an ideal dancer for soubrette or juvenile roles. In BP’s “Nutcracker,” she plays Marie and Dew Drop in the “Waltz of the Flowers.”

Carissa Adea is today’s It Girl, bestowed with sultriness, perfect proportions, cambered feet, graceful arms and a nuanced sense of how to use her upper body. A favorite of choreographers, she pierces like an arrow through the technical demands of any classic or contemporary role, yet infuses the part with warmth. Her well-defined lyricism is equally matched by daring surges of motion, thus making her ideal for Marie, Snow Queen and Arabian Coffee.


'Nutcracker' ballerinas of Ballet Philippines

by Marge C. Enriquez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First posted: 11/30/09