"SAYAW, Sabel" (a masterpiece by Agnes Locsin). Surreal. Humorous. Mesmerizing. Dance critic Marge Enriquez comments, "A hearty mixture of the choreographer's kinetic fire and humor, the performers' maturity and a striking design..."

It was shown in Negros Occidental for two consecutive days - July 23 in Silay and July 24 in Bacolod. In Silay, it was presented for free at Natalio G. Velez Sports and Cultural Center. The Silay City Government and the Locsin Genealogy Foundation, Inc. made the presentation possible as some kind of an outreach program to bring first class cultural entertainment to the grassroots. Mayor Jose Montelibano said, "We are bringing Agnes' work to Silay because we want Silaynons to see an obra maestra executed by seasoned dancers and choreographed by an ingenious dance master." The free show was swarmed by more or less 4,000 theater enthusiasts.

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"Sayaw, Sabel" was much awaited by Silaynons who are hungry for the new work of Agnes Locsin. Her last masterpiece in Silay was a neo-ethnic ballet, "Encantada". And, now the dance! When the curtain opened, there was some kind of a profound thought hitting the audience as they saw Sabel, "Ang Babaeng Grasa" shuffling out at the right side of the stage. Dirty. Tattered. Ragged. Grey. Her smell emanated from the dumpsite. One by one, the dancers entered and assumed their position on stage. And, the 4000 crowd responded with deafening silence. There went the music scored by bodies in pliable forms moving from the heart while responding to the light designs of Manny Montelibano.

"Kayod" was performed by Judell Sicam. She was plodding through work pressure and stress. She could be any working woman in our midst - a jornalera in the canefield, a factory worker, a sales lady standing for more than 8 hours, or a dedicated classroom teacher who developed varicose veins in her overloaded classroom. She got children to feed, dirty clothes to wash, house to clean, and a husband to amuse. Agnes calls it, kayod-kabayo.

"Sugatan" was Agnes' statement on Mindanao as performed by Annette Mariano. She screamed of the pain of being a victim of war-torn Mindanao. Women were raped. Nature was abused. Filipinos fought Filipinos. Lip service from the government. Promises to be broken. Only one thing is certain, defeat! "Nasaan Ako?" of Georgette Sanchez (a Negrense; daughter of my friend Janet - a Bacolod-based choreographer) was a commentary of life's instability. It was a projection of psychological disorder, of uncertainty, of fragmentation. Her self was loaded with corridors, labyrinths or mazes.

"Dalawahan" by Gaye Galiluyo dealt with schizophrenia, a common mental disease whose characteristics may include separation of the intellect from the emotions, inappropriate emotional reactions, distortions in normal logical thought processes, withdrawal from social relationships, delusions and hallucinations. The dance pained the audience hearts. The dynamic energy of the dancers exploded too forcibly causing her life to shatter. She was lost in space and time.

"Ako Una" made Camille Ordinario to tackle the obsessive-compulsive behavior. It is man's passion to make himself first always. "No one is above me but me!" It brings to the surface his ambition, his obsession, his aggressiveness, his greed, and his own destruction. How about Sabel? She danced, too! The taong grasa is after all human. She reacted to insults, negligence by society and violation of human rights. But, Sabel is receptive to love, compassion, pity and reconciliation. Just the same... Go ahead Sabel! Sayaw! Sayaw! Sayaw! Maribel Legarda did it with exceptional talent.

The viewers left the gym with mixed emotions...admiring the excellent performance, confused on who really is he, gnashing his teeth and stumping his feet for hatred, laughing without a cause, feeling weak (probably for lack of vitamins or simply hungry), blurred vision for crying too much, pent up emotion for lack of courage to see reality...

Sabel was national artist BenCab's creation, given life and put on stage by Agnes Locsin. A second tour is scheduled for Sept. 26 to October 10. Interested sponsors can call CCP Outreach Department or text 09189385741.

To Agnes Locsin, I want to say, "Your being a part of Silay has given measure to your artistic excellence. Keep on exploring the human mind and always find meaning in the metaphysical anxiety of the world." Kudos!