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In the early years of the American colonization, ballet and modern dance were introduced to the Filipinos through a steady stream of foreign teachers, notable among whom were Luva Adameit, Kaethe Hauser, Trudl Dubsky and Anita Kane.  They promoted dance in the 1930s not only by opening their own schools but by staging performances and presenting their own choreographies.  In particular, for their works, Adameit and Kane drew inspiration from folk dances and themes; Adameit did Planting Rice and Cariñosa and Kane producedMariang Makiling, Mutya ng Dagat, Aswang, among others.  Dubsky created works to classical music like Petite Suite-Au Bord de la Seine, Peer Gynt Suite, Polovetsky Dances, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.   Then followed the arrival of Paul Szilard who choreographed The Four Seasons, La Gioconda, The Mad Thinker and Ricardo and Roberta Cassell with Fifth Symphony, Adagietto, Graduation Ball, Peter and the Wolf, Lady Be Good.

       These foreign artists undertook the task of shaping the first generation not only of Filipino ballet dancers and teachers but choreographers as well.  Among these were:

Leonor Orosa Goquingco, who continued her teachers’ work of blending folk dances and classical ballet inTrend: Return to Native, Noli Dance Suite, Filipinescas;

Remedios de Oteyza
, who was known for her abstract ballets to music Rhapsody in Blue, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Serenade for Strings, Cappriccio Espagnol;

Inday Gaston Mañosa
with Four Elements, Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra with Eli Jacinto;

Rosalia Merino Santos
, who would later on concentrate on modern dance and produced What is Dance, Feminine Gender, Ugaling Pilipino, Halina’t Maglaro, Of Cocks and Kings

Julie Borromeo
with Zagalas de Manila, Mir-i-nisa, Babae at Lalake, Philippine Revue, Merry Widow, who later became one of the leading exponents of jazz

Corazon Generoso Iñigo
with Lam-ang, Jubilation, Gabriela, Sisa, Baile de Ayer

Alice Reyes
with Amada, Itim-Asu, Company, Tales of the Manuvu, Rama, Hari, Romeo & Juliet, The Nutcracker;

Eddie Elejar
with Masks, Juru Pakal, Kapinangan, Misang Pilipino, Rigodon Sketches, May Day Eve;

Tony Llacer
with In the Beginning, Les Patineurs, Quintet, Triad, Hijinks, Variacciones, Movements Cinq;

Israel Gabriel
with Duetto, Jazz Piece on Ice, Le Printemps Eternel, Rashomon, Caprice;

Fe Sala Villarica
with The Diadem, Zodiac, The Santo Niño, Philippine Panorama;

Felicitas Layag Radaic
with Mir-i-nisa, May Day Eve, The Prey, Nan-Pangkat, La Innamorata, Tanan, Tubig!;

Effie Nañas
with Variations d’Amour, Images, Parvatti, Chopin Piano Concerto, Snow White;

Lydia Madarang Gaston
with Buntot Pagi, Tree of Life, Halad, Anak Bulan;

Alcuin Pastrano
aka as Al Quinn;

Manolo Rosado
with Claire de Lune, Arms Etude, Serenata d’Amore;

Rose Borromeo

Joji Felix-Velarde

Kristin Jackson
with Field, Arctic Archipelago, Mail Order Bride, Still Waters; and

Lulu Puertollano
with Diego Silang

       The second generation of dance artists were born with the subsequent formations of dance companies and opening of dance schools.  De Oteyza founded the Classic Ballet Academy in 1947, Orosa-Goquingco theFilipinescas Dance Company and Merino Santos the FEU Experimental Dance Group in 1958, Fe Sala Villarica the Queen City Junior Ballet in 1963, both in 1968 de Oteyza and Gaston-Mañosa formed the Hariraya Ballet Company; and Borromeo, Elejar and Layag-Radaic the Dance Theater Philippines.  These companies would produce significant choreographers like:


Eric V. Cruz Visions in Blue, Panaginip, Carmen, Mir-i-nisa, Medea, La Gitana,
Camille, The Interior Castle
Reynaldo Alejandro The Legend of Sarimanok, Kay Selya, Sayaw Silangan, Bagong Salta
Cesar Mendoza Etude Moderne, Hallucinations, By the Hillside, The Book of Job, Ecole de Ballet, Difficult Years
Rene Dimacali  
Basilio Esteban Villaruz La Lampara, Mosque Baroque, Tropical Tapestry, Ode to Botticeli, Misa Filipina, Testament Spiritual Canticle: An Eclogue-Oepratorio
Eli Jacinto  
Tommy Sabarre Puntan dos Amantes
Luis Layag Take Four, Positive-Negative, Transcept, Fugitive, Bagatelle
Veda Bañez Alonso  
Carmelito Castillo Solitaire, The Creation, Jesus Christ Superstar
Nicolas Pacaña El Amor Brujo, El Amor, Ballet Imperial, Ballet Classique

       Modern dance was given an impetus by Alice Reyes with the CCP Dance Company (later Ballet Philippines).  Her company strove to excel both in modern and classical ballet thereby creating an expansive and impressive repertoire. With established and young choreographers were given an avenue for their artistic creations.  Most of the current choreographers came from the ranks or were developed in this company:

Tony Fabella Kristo, Prince of the Pagodas, Orpheus Descending, Batuque, Limang Dipa, Ang Kasal, Mantones
Denisa Reyes For the Gods, Te Deum, Muybridge/Frames, Siete Dolores
Gener Caringal Ang Sulatan, Recuerdos, Labaw Donggon, Vinta, Prism, Pinoy Komiks
Edna Vida Pagsamba, Vision of Fire, Peter Pan, Ensalada, Ibong Adarna, Thatness, Thereness
Ester Rimpos Duo
Brando Miranda The Awakening, Lawang Paoay, Vivaldi Concerto
Agnes Locsin Igorot, Bagobo, Moriones, Encantada, Babaylan, La Revolucion Filipina
Nonoy Froilan Danzas, One Afternoon, Amparo, Kung Hindi Man, Stone Figures
Enrico Labayen Mindstorm, Etchings, Icarus, Sa Isip, Sa Salita at sa Gawa?
Hazel Sabas Six to Borodin, Daragang Magayon, Padyak Tadyak, La Belleza de la Filipina
Jojo Lucila I, Judas, Huling Hibla, South Road, Banished: Genesis 4, Sari at Bahag, Martial Ways
Manuel Molina South American Suite
Joy Coronel Handurawan, Fandango, Tango Argentino, Kulintangan
Myra Beltran Star Maiden, Women Waiting
Ric Culalic Arnis
Judell de Guzman  
Alden Lugnasin The Swan
Melvin Martinez  
Brezhnev Larlar  
Conrad Dy-Liacco Simplex
Douglas Nierras specializes in jazz dance

       Innovative works have also been produced by the following, who all continue their choreographic pursuits in their respective regions.

Osias Barroso In Quest, Gabriela Silang
Liza Fernandez Femina
Raul Alcoseba Subic Bay, Ego has Me, Earth Moves
Shirley H. Cruz Alice in Wonderland, Valse Engrande, Konsiyerto
Sonia Domingo Anak ni Pulau
Jess de Paz The Barren Flower, Oh, Mga Huyohoy, Mariang Maya, Pintados
Steven Patrick Fernandez  
Carmen D. Locsin  
Edwin Duero Hinilawod
Odon Sabarre  

       Since the time of Adameit, Kane and Dubsky, several foreign choreographers would follow but three would stand out by enriching Philippine dance with their body of works:

1. Madame Sulamith Messerer who restaged Paquita, La Bayadere and Esmeralda
2. Norman Walker – Season of Flight, Songs of a Wayfarer, Wanderings of a Wayfarer, Nijinsky
3. William Morgan – Ang Pilya, Cincerella, Nuances

       Alongside the introduction of ballet during the American period was the introduction of jazz dancing via the bodabil shows.  In the 1960s, it became main feature in television, movies, variety shows and musical productions.  Leading exponents of jazz were Julie Borromeo, Al Quinn and Jamin Alcoriza.  Inevitably, other artists would venture into these alternative dance forms and medium.  These include : Generoso-Iñigo, Rally Calvo, Ruben Nieto, Lito Calzado, Ernie Estrella, Julie Borromeo, Alice Reyes, Amelia Apolinario, Lally and Terry Aldeguer, Choy Talosig.   In the 1980s and 1990s, television and variety shows would be dominated by choreographers like: Bobby Ongkiko, Maribeth Bichara, Lito Calzado, Geleen Eugenio, Eric Edralin, Mel Feliciano, Douglas Nierras and Veda Bañez.

About the Author:
Ida Beltran Lucila has played the roles of Odette/Odile in “Swan Lake”, Gamzatti in “La Bayadere”, Sugar Plum Fairy in “Nutcracker”, the Ballerina in “Paquita Grand Pas”, the pas de deux of “Harlequinade”, Hermia in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and the Bluebird Pas de Deux in “Sleeping Beauty”. She is the Associate Director of the Chameleon Dance Studio, the Ballet Director of the Malate Catholic School of Ballet and the ADB Junior Dance Guild.