Friday, May 14, 2010

ONE MOMENT IN TIME (March 15, 2010)

Some 114 years ago, when the Philippine Revolt erupted, another revolution broke out in Athens, Greece via the first modern Olympic Games of 1896!
When the First Philippine Assembly was convened, and the University of the Philippines was founded in 1908, it was also when ice skating was introduced to the Summer Games.
And when we sent Filipino athletes to the 1924 Olympics in Paris – making us the first country to compete and win a medal in Southeast Asia – that was the time when the first Olympic Winter Games took place in Chamonix, France.
During the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, historic events happened that could and should make us all proud!
First, there's J.R. Celski -- a Filipino-Polish speed skater representing the United States – who won the bronze in the Short Track Speed Skating category.
Second, there's Amanda Evora -- a Filipino-American who, together with partner Mark Ladwig, failed to make it to the figure skating pair’s finals but became “the first person of full Filipino ancestry to represent the US in a Winter Olympic event.”
Third, there's Novy Bereber.
Novy who?
What event?
Why and how?
Well, he was featured in The Filipino Channel's Balitang America last February 24 not as an athlete but as a dance artist!
Is dance now an Olympic sport?
How Novy and the rest of the Alberta Ballet wish.
However, he got the gold when the world witnessed him during its Opening Ceremony's ballet segment.
He performed Sacred Grove – a piece about anyone and everyone, even a Pinoy like him, could be enchanted by Canada’s forests -- while being projected on 50-meter x 30-meter horizontal screens that perfectly pictured him: “On the elevated stage, multi-platinum artist Sarah McLachlan played her hit Ordinary Miracle, while the Vancouver Symphony added pizzazz and gravity, but for one moment seen around the world the show belonged to a young Pinoy dancer/choreographer. It was another fascinating step in a journey that began years before in Pres. Roxas City in IloIlo.”
All Novy could say: “When I went out there that night, I put myself into a total trance, like my spirit was completely together with that huge forest…”
That forest could mean figuratively as his uphill climb to be the best.
Long before he would be described as one of the Philippines’ leading young dancers and choreographers, he was just another face in the internationally famous Dagyaw Theater and Dance Company of Iloilo City National High School.
It was not the end, for him, though.
It was more of his start.
And he ended up as a Ballet Philippines scholar.
In fact, it turned out to be the turning point for his special area of interest now.
What others may call fusion of modern, classical and folkloric styles, he considers it: Asian Contemporary!
After two years, he became BP's full member who did other things on the side.
Though it entailed hard work, he was able to follow the road by choreographing, say, CineMalaya's opening and closing gala at the Cultural Center of the Philippines or creating, for instance, for the WiFi Independent Dance Festival.
Two years ago, he did it on and off stage in Windows to Paradise: Pride of Country, the Independence Day Gala staged by the CCP and the Department of Tourism.
At home with anything and everything about dance, he had helped Ballet Manila, to name a few.
He toured China, Malaysia, Singapore, and Korea with the Broadway Asia production of The King and I.
Then he was featured as a principal dancer in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.
That did it.
He was noticed by its artistic director Nacho Trápaga, who was born in Manila but bred in Australia where he was recognized as “Ignatius Jones.”
Nacho, or Ignatius rather, happened to be the artistic director of the Vancouver Games in 2007.
Novy paid Nacho a visit in 2009.
During that time – after the former served as a soloist in the Traces Independent Dance Festival in New York City – the latter introduced him to Jean Grand-Maitre, who is the Alberta Ballet's big boss.
“Jean still asked me to send him a video of me dancing although they already had a cast for the Winter Olympics,” Novy recalled.
Perhaps the role was really meant for him.
Somebody dropped out and they offered the job to Novy.
And the rest was histrionic!
His travels here and abroad did not drain his energy to conduct for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts workshops in Iloilo, Camarines Norte, Mindoro, and Quezon province where we had the chance to collaborate as facilitators for Commissioner Elmar Ingles' projects.
For awhile he taught at the International School before he was offer classes at the Kababayang Pilipino of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
Recently, he had a hand at the Singapore International Kids Performance Festival.
Earlier this month, last March 5 to 7 to be exact, he was at the CCP Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Little Theater) for the Neo-Filipino 2010 : Dance in a Time of Changeas the fourth and final offering of Ballet Philippines ’ 40th anniversary season.
From Denisa Reyes’ landmark New York concert, the Neo-Filipino series was transported to the Philippines through its first production in 1991 when the likes of Novy began collaborating with theater directors, filmmakers, visual artists, actors, sculptors, and musicians in coming up with a new Philippine dance.
Novy, who paid tribute to other Filipino dance artist suffering during the time of globalization via To Whom It May Concern, showed his stuff with such great choreographers as Carissa Adea, Elena Laniog, Alden Lugnasin, Dwight Rodrigazo, Tinnie Crame-Santillan, Ea Torrado, among others, under the artistic direction of dancer-choreographer Paul Alexander Morales.
As we write about Novy's contribution to history, we chanced upon a herstory.
It was when Oprah Winfrey did a no-holds-barred interview with the battered singer of the most favorite Olympics theme song of all time!
Silently, we pray that Novy could learn from her.
All polar bears are left-handed.
H-ow are you?
E-verything allright?
L-ike to hear from you.
L-ove to see you soon.
O-bviously I miss you.

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