Wednesday, August 28, 2013


“I have this great love for trees. I was deeply hurt when I saw a number of beautiful trees being cut down just around our neighborhood. Now, I want to create my own forest --- a real forest. As an artist, I felt that before I could do that, I need to build it first on stage to get the message through… To make people see the beauty and importance of trees,” said choreographer Agnes Locsin as she welcomed the audience to her dance concert, SANGA: Ika-Apat Na Galaw.
Agnes Locsin is a multi-awarded choreographer and the pioneering force behind the Philippine neo-ethnic dance movement. Her choreography usually demands a lot from dancers, requiring the strength of a classical ballet background, yet a willingness to break its stringent rules, blended with a great imagination and a theatricality to bring life to its nationalistic, environmental and gender themes. Her works are poetry in motion, with movements derived from poetry, paintings, and other art forms.
Her fourth installment to her Alay Sa Puno Performance Series had its world premiere in Davao last weekend at the Locsin Dance Studio, and was attended by dance and theater enthusiasts.  
The dance series began in 2010 with UGAT: Unang Galaw which featured Biag Gaongen as the performer in a solo dance concert about the plight of trees in the Philippines.  The series was triggered by Agnes’s concern about the disappearance of trees in the country, causing flash floods that have taken so many innocent lives.  UGAT was followed by DAHON: Ikalawang Galaw (with Georgette Sanchez), and PUNO: Pangatlong Galaw (with Gaye Galiluyo and Georgette Sanchez).
SANGA starred seasoned dancers Sonny Locsin and Kris-belle Paclibar, who both started training under Agnes’s mother, the late Carmen D. Locsin. “For me, this concert is very personal and special because both dancers first set their foot in the field of dancing here, in this studio.” Biag Gaongen, the featured choreographer for this piece, calls his mentor Nanang as he also considers her as his second mother, after being maternally orphaned at the age of 15.
The show proved to be a visual and aural treat. Poet and academician Ricardo De Ungria stepped in as narrator, his own compositions as overture to each act. Kris-belle and Sonny showed dancing prowess with seemingly effortless leg extensions, flexibility, precise and challenging movements, and muscle control.
The 60-minute production ended with a well-deserved standing ovation. At curtain call, Agnes was surprised by the alumni and dancers of Ballet Philippines with their simple yet touching tribute. Each took turn to give her a hug and a flower, which moved the choreographer and audience to tears… Me, her former student, included.
Story published on my newspaper column, Metro Mom.
A1, Indulge, Edge Davao, Vol. 6 Issue 118, 28 August 2013.


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