FROM the deep forest where engkantos dwell and co-exist with man to Davao city where everything “bawal” is strictly implemented for the good of the citizens, the 32nd Summer Showcase of the Locsin Dance Workshop presented these stories through dance.

Unlike the typical dance recitals, artistic director Agnes Locsin featured the workshop attendees—toddlers, teens and adults— as the “stars” of the shows where she integrated the dance routines and techniques they learned—ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop and tap—into the storylines she created. Each portrayed a character, and perhaps to most of them, it was their first taste of how an actual dance production is mounted. Who knows what the future holds for this talented bunch, there just maybe a prima ballerina and another celebrated choreographer who may rise among them.

It was engaging as it was humorous, both the matinee and evening presentations. The afternoon show presented Engkanto, a daughter’s trek through the forest in search of the hermetanyo to seek amends for his father who was cursed after chopping down a tree. Feared and misunderstood, it was the engkatos—the tikbalang, kapre, nunosapunso, white ladies and manananggal—who helpfully directed the young lass to the man she sought.

The evening show presented the PulsongDabaw, Atbp. It was going through a list of everything Davao every visitor (and local) should know about the city—the much-talked about rules- the smoking ban, no over speeding, no drugs, etc., that should be followed lest be yelled at with “Hoy, bawalyan!” or worse, deal with the authorities; and the sights and sound that shaped the modern city- the San Pedro Cathedral, the durian, and even the budots dance and music.

For both the matinee and evening shows, as animated as the first part was, the second part was compelling— classical ballet in the afternoon and modern ballet in the evening. Taking center stage were the Ballet Filipiniana and guests from Ballet Philippines who were breathtaking in BiagGaongen’s world-premiering original creation, SukatnaSukat, and in Agnes Locsin’s notable original opuses, Igorot, Moriones, etc.

What will Locsin Dance Workshop come up with next year? Whatever story will unfold, it will be surely be something worth waiting for.


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