‘BLACK SWAN’FOR REAL IN BALLET PHILIPPINES’ SWAN LAKE
By Pablo A. Tariman
The 2010 Darren Aronofsky film “Black Swan” came to life when Ballet Philippines mounted Swan Lake at the CCP last February 24 to 26.
“Black Swan” — which won for Natalie Portman the Best Actress Oscar trophy — had its world premiere as the opening film at the 67th Venice Film Festival in 2010. It received a standing ovation whose length Variety said made it “one of the strongest Venice openers in recent memory.”
Manila balletomanes had a taste of the Black Swan in the recent revival of Swan Lake with three ballerinas alternating in the part namely Candice Adea, Denise Parungao and Jemima Reyes with the Siegfreds of Joseph Phillips, Victor Maguad and Gary Corpuz.
“I see the Black Swan as grounded and mysterious and obsessed with revenge,” said Adea during the presscon. “But the thing is I also have to work on the White Swan to be able to give a good character contrast.”
Parungao said she sees the Black Swan as the scheming kind. “She is the other side of good people and I just have to imagine how it is to be bad and to possess a black soul. It is a tough character to portray if you are not naturally bad.”
Adea is the first Filipina to win gold medal in the Helsinki International Ballet Competition in 2012 and silver medal at the 2010 USA International Ballet Competition.
Last seen at the CCP as the sensational Nutcracker Prince and Basilio in Don Quixote two years ago, Phillips’ Siegfred will be seen for the first time in Manila with Nonoy Froilan restaging the coming production.
Parungao and Reyes agree on one prerequisite of the ballet warhorse.
“This ballet needs a lot of stamina. We have to secure our technique first but we should not lose sight of the characterization. We are white swans and black swans in this ballet. For sure, nothing is easy doing these dual roles.”
The country’s first Black Swan in a full-length ballet was prima ballerina Maniya Barredo with the Siegfred of Froilan in 1982.
He recalled: “Apart from being a very lyrical dancer, Maniya is strong technically. I don’t have to work hard to support her because she can do balance with very little help from her partner.”
In the Black Swan episode, balletomanes usually count in unison curious if the lead dancer can complete the required 32 killer fouettes.
Maguad said the hard part of the ballet is not just portraying the prince but being a good and reliable partner. “Good partnering is another equally difficult requirement for a Siegfred aside from projecting his princely character. It is not enough that you can lift the ballerina without effort. Foremost of all, she should look good up in the air and down.”
Reyes (as Odette-Odile) and Maguad (as Siegfred) ended the first weekend run of Swan Lake literally with a bang.
Reyes was a surprisingly tender Odette with a lot of delicate swan-like turns of her head and with arms simply perfect for a swan used to good advantage in her dramatic exit in Act II (White Swan).
Moreover, she was a flashy Odile in Act III delivering triple fouettes in the grand pas and outnumbering the output of the earlier Odiles.The crowd simply went crazy as the fouettes — later turning into pirouttes — went as far as the 20th mark.
Reyes did her homework well and she was lucky to have a good and stable partner in Victor Maguad who was a superb and remarkably youthful Siegfred.
As the icon of choreography George Balanchine once noted: “All leading dancers want to dance Swan Lake at least once in their careers and all audiences want to see them dance it. To succeed in Swan Lake, is to become overnight a ballerina. Petipa and Ivanov (the composer and choreographer) are to the dancer what Shakespeare is to the actor. If you can succeed in their choreography parts, there is a suggestion that you can succeed at anything.”
(Swan Lake will have its last weekend run March 3, 4 5 at the CCP. Call the CCP box office (8321125 or TicketWorld ) for tickets.)