The plot of Cervantes’ Don Quixote is too familiar for retelling; thus, I shall instantly comment on the performance of Minkus’ choreography as restaged by Anatoly Panasyukov for the Philippine Ballet Theater (PBT).
The spectacular production at the CCP main auditorium manifested to a most remarkable degree the technical skill, grace and musicality of both the soloists and the corps de ballet.
Behind their smooth proficiency and precision was PBT’s ballet master Panasyukov whose authoritative dedication and perseverance through all these years must be given due recognition. Of course, to begin with, the dancers are chosen for their inherent talent.
Don Q’s major drawing card for the particular presentation was 29-year-old Joseph Phillips, principal dancer of Russia’s State Primorsky Opera and Ballet Theater, winner of more gold medals than any other American danseur.
In the pas de deux and solo variations, Phillips as Basilio demonstrated clarity, purity and beauty of line, refinement and elegance of movement and poses. Then, too, there were his soaring leaps of ballon (lightness), the rapid, multiple pirouettes. Not the least, Phillips was a superb partner, showing off the ballerina to utmost advantage; in the lifts, she seemed to float on air, her turns with his support ending in seamless fish dives.
Astonishingly, Phillips’ exceptional display of technique and expression was expected from the “Ballet’s Golden Boy”.
Lobreza Pimentel as Kitri was a delightful surprise. A brilliant, fleet-footed ballerina with high extensions—her arabesques ending in almost straight lines—her fouettes and airy jumps, her miming charmed and impressed the audience.
Josi Galeste, the Dryad Queen, enthralled with her striking technique and personality; Kim Abrogena and Regina Magbitang as Kitri’s friends exuded bouncy vitality and precision.
Eloquently etching and delineating their distinctive qualities were the many character-dancers. Ian Ocampo as Espada; Rofel Artaiz as Gypsy Girl; Mark Pineda as Gypsy King.
Andrie Roslovtsev, towering as Don Quixote, incomparably walked about in a daze. Out of touch with reality, he egregiously drew his sword to fight the windmills in an awesome scene. As Don Q’s servant-aide Sancho Panza Ronilo Jaynario with his antics, vastly amused. The deft, nimble cape work of the matador, Ian Ocampo was thrilling to behold.
Enhancing the performance was the brisk pacing of the cast attired by Julie Borromeo’s colorful costumes and performing with the ravishing, eye-catching set designs of Adolfo Lasin. Ronilo Jaynario served as artistic director of the enthralling presentation.
PBT chairman Triccie Sison and president Sylvia Lichauco de Leon should be warmly commended for their unwavering faith in the company’s artistic aim.
Phillips performed for the gala shows, partnering Lobreza Pimentel, July 4 and Regine Magitang, July 5. Peter San Juan, danseur for the matinees, partnered Regine and Lobreza respectively.