Ballet Manila’s Ibong Adarna: A True Pinoy Classic

We all know the story of Ibong Adarna. We’ve read it. We studied it in school. It’s a beloved Philippine classic. It’s an adventurous story about kindness, perseverance and family. Ballet Manila brings this story to life in a spectacular way, in their all-new, original production of Ibong Adarna. 

Ibong Adarna kicks off Ballet Manila’s 22nd Performance Season entitled Flights of FantasyThis season promises magic, romance and adventure.

Ballet Manila Ibong Adarna Flights of Fantasy Aliw Theater 2017I was able to catch their debut August 26 show at Aliw Theater and had loads of fun! It was indeed a beautiful ballet performance, but certain elements also made it seem like I was watching a musical! For one, West End theater actress Gia Macuja Atchison sang live and gave  justice to the Ibong Adarna’s legendary singing prowess. But of course, what made it more magical were the flawless movements of the dancing Adarna– Ballet Manila soloist Abigail Oliveiro. Her movements were as fluid as a bird in flight- quick and powerful, yet also gentle and delicate. Whenever she danced a solo, she brought everyone into a trance.

Ballet Manila Ibong Adarna Flights of Fantasy Aliw Theater 2017

Another sight to behold is when the troop came together to form the grandeur of the Ibong Adarna, each dancer representing a feather, colorful and moving in harmony as if swaying to the wind.

The male leads showed power and strength in their performance. Something about their choreography made it distinctly Filipino. I would bet that some of the choreography were based on Filipino ethnic dances. For this feat, the show’s master choreographer- Gerardo Francisco definitely deserves a lot of credit.

Apart from the dances, the music and the costumes reflected our indigenous culture as well. If I remember correctly the illustrations of (Kahariang) Berbanya and their constituents were always depicted wearing Western clothing (for princes and monarchs). But I thoroughly appreciate that Ballet Manila’s take on the story was fleshed out in an unmistakable Filipino way. The king for example dressed like a Datu or a tribal chief. A lof ot their set design were wood, bamboo and pawid. And as for the music, especially towards the finale, you could hear instruments similar to a kumintang and the like.

Ballet Manila Ibong Adarna Flights of Fantasy Aliw Theater 2017

I just wished that Lisa Macuja had more solos, but I’m sure she was happy to let the new generation shine. Her mere presence made the production a hundred times more magical.

I highly suggest that you bring the entire family to watch Ballet Manila’s Ibong Adarna! Not only does it cultivate love for dance and the performing arts, it also showcases good values, and the beauty of our culture.

You can catch Ballet Manila’s production of Ibong Adarna this weekend! Sept. 2, 6 p.m., and on Sept. 3, 3 p.m., at Aliw Theater, CCP Complex, Pasay City.  For tickets, call 8919999.

You may also visit their website at

Ariane Astorga

Ariane Astorga

Ariane Astorga is an events host, voiceover talent, singer, and freelance writer from Metro Manila. Ever bubbly, she's a little firecracker who aims to inform and inspire.
Ariane Astorga

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