Wednesday, November 21, 2012

DANCING LA VIDA EDNA (January 24, 2011)


While the world is busy, literally and figuratively, dancing with the stars -- including us who was born 19 January, formerly known as Capricorn will turn out to be a Sagittarius, now that Ophiuchus becomes the 13th zodiac sign – dancer/choreographer Edna Vida is doing her own interpretation of leap of faith.

All her vida, Edna is a bida.

On stage, she had been a protagonist who had worked with the likes of Patrick Bissel, the American Ballet Theater's leading principal dancer; Fernando Bujones, one of the finest male dancers of the 20th century; Natalia Makarova, an award-winning Soviet-Russina-born American prima ballerina; John Meehan, professor of dance and director of Vassar Repertory Dance Theater; Yoko Morishita, the prima ballerina of Japan; and Martine Van Hammel, a gold medalist at the International Ballet Competition who won the seldom-awarded Prix de Varna for best artistic interpretation in all categories.
Edna, too, is a diva.

Who can forget her as Firebird or Carmen or Myrtha in Giselle with Makarova and Morishita?

Or in Alice in WonderlandA Midsummer Night's DreamGardeniaIbong Adarna,NutcrackerPeter PanThe Little Tailor, and The Taming of the Shrew.

A good follower, she has been trained by such world-renowned choreographers as George Balanchine, Gener Caringal, Doris Humphrey, Cora Iňigo, Agnes Locsin,Pauline Koner, Alfred Rodriguez, Alice Reyes, Denisa Reyes, Norman Walker, to name a few.

A good leader, she has been the Artistic and Associate Director of Ballet Philippines and Director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Dance School from 1983 to 1989.

And while directing, on the side, festivals, tours and special shows, Edna has danced and choreographed for CCP theater productions, musicals, film, television, ballet competitions and international productions -- for Ballet Philippines, Ballet Manila and the Philippine Ballet Theater. A former Vice-Head of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts's National Dance Committee, she recently directed Walang Maliw during Virgin Labfest 5.

And, above all, isn't she is a Jill of all trades?

Yes, she can act.

She was hailed as Lady Macbeth in Tanghalang Pilipino's Macbeth and in Gilda Cordero'sLuna: An Aswang Romance.

More so, she is a visual artist who had two solo exhibits at Megamall’s Gallery Y and the Penguin Gallery Café.

Also, she can write.

In fact, she was able to create video documentaries as well as contribute to Town & Country, The Philippine Star, The Manila Times, Business Daily, The Daily Sun, the CCP Dance Encyclopedia and the Arts and Culture Yearbook, Sanghaya 2002, and the Indayog Dance Magazine of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). She has written dance modules for training workshops for teachers and choreographers.

Personally, we had the honor of working with her during the CCP Outreach Program's Sining Galing Art Therapy Program for Teachers and Children from21 to 27 October 2007.

It was by the sea in the outskirts of Davao City so we had a regular supply of durian.

Edna, with Ms. Eva Salvador and Eyna Villar of CCP, believed more that the said “rich custard highly flavoured with almonds” did smell like hell than it did taste like heaven.

So, it was the cue for us to shout in our minds: “To the rescue!”

Our Batman, Joey Ayala no less, made a Robin out of us by teaching us how to devour this Southeast Asia's king of fruits without really trying and feeling guilty at all.

Observing how we, as Durian's Dynamic Duo, would unconciously make our wives young widows, she shared with us her secret!

Not as a dancer but as a “doctor.”

To this day, our wife Ellay, a physician herself, and us became her disciple in daring to complete the Edna Vida's Diet everyday.

And when our kids attempted to drink her secret concoction last Christmas, out of the blue, we remembered that week her.

Especially when Edna, the Gintong Ina Famous Celebrity Mother Award in 1992, shamelessly campaigned to each and every Sining Galing participant to vote for her daughter, Mica Froilan, who was then vying for the MYX VJ Search 2007.

That's why it really came to us – more as a shock than a surprise -- when, all of a sudden, she texted last week: “I'm checking in at hospital tonight for my 4thchemo...”
She was inviting us to watch an hour-and-a-half show not by her but for her:“Ballet Philippines, Philippine Ballet Theater and Ballet Manila perform on stage together for the first time. They will perform my works and the roles I danced in, with the special participation of Steps Dance Studio.”
Shaking our head, we thought aloud how she can still make miracles happen.
Imagine she can still do magic even in a gala fundraiser not just for herself but for her other family -- the Artists' Welfare of the Philippines Inc. (AWPI) – as well.

Entitled Dancing La Vida Edna, the show is a major undertaking by the ballet companies and artists whom Edna has worked with.

It seems like payback time!

For the very first time, Ballet Philippines, Philippine Ballet Theater and Ballet Manila will dance together.
And they will focus on the performance of excerpts from classical works made prominent by Edna and her original neo-classic and modern ballet choreographies.

You can expect the best repertoire from classical ballet to neo-classical to modern ballet danced by the young leading dancers emulating Edna.

And her life partner too – Nonoy Froilan – who is now into acting and filmmaking!
Your chance of a lifetime is a red-letter day at the Aliw Theater on Saturday, 29 January, at 8 p.m. Playwright/director Chris Millado extends his help even reminding us that students and senior citizens can avail of their discounts in ticket prices, normally, ranging from 
P2000 (for VIP with cocktails at 7pm) to P1000 (forVIP); and P500 (for general admission).
All they have to do is call 832 3661 and 832 1125 loc. 1620/1621 or email or visit her Edna's Site at

The events appears to be an extension of National Cancer Consciousness Week.

Well, the Department of Health, among others, can even extend it further by touring it, nationally or internationally, in the name of Edna, who never ceases to inspire us in her blogs and emails: Hi Vim -- my oncologist is Dr. Beatrice Tiangco from Medical City, my sister's sister-in-law. Your group, Kapisanan ng May K sa Pilipinas, can help by watching. Para pati Artsits' Welfare group matulungan. Sana you can all make it! Thanks for your prayers. Really appreciate that. I'm doing very well -- very strong dancer body! Kayang-kaya ko ito with God's grace and blessing. I'm never afraid ... no fear! heh heh – Edna”
Ever invincible and in control, she is said to insist on rehearsing the finale numbers from Peter Pan to involve all the dancers in a lively and celebratory ballroom dance from the children's musical.

Edna has already received the City of Manila's Outstanding Artist Award (2002), the Maryknoll College Amazing Alumni Award, and Bulacan’s Gawad Dangal ng Lipi Award (2004), who knows if she will become our National Artist for Dance someday.

For four years, there is no National Artist for Dance. The last time was Ramon Obusan who won it in 2006, after following the footsteps of Leonor Orosa Goquinco (1988), Lucresia Reyes Urtula (1988), and Francisca Reyes Aquino (1973).

All things in life are temporary.   If going well, enjoy it, they will not last forever. If going wrong, don't worry, they can't last long either.

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