Gestures reflect more than just mere movement; constant shifting of weight shows nervousness, covering of face depicts shyness, and even no movement may reflect fear.
But when accompanied with rhythm, these gestures collectively create dance. Hence, dance is then simply not just collective movements of the body, but rather a silent truthful expression.
One of the hardest emotions to convey without words is love. It is a complex state filled with highs and lows, affection and attraction, and sometimes requited and unrequited. One puts everything on the line just to be with the apple of their eye. Another is simply content with seeing the other happy, even with another. Saint Benilde Romancon Dance Company’s modern take on the classic Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake tackles the former rather than the latter. It tells us that love, true love, conquers all. A fitting message for the previous month of hearts.
Photos by Inah Maravilla
The two-hour production, held from February 8-10 at the School of Design Arts theater, centered around a beautiful maiden, played by Jom Vidal, who was sadly cursed to become a swan by the evil Rothbart, performed by Paul Liggayu. The only way to break the curse was with true love which Odette, the maiden, found in Prince Sigfried, played by Renzo Arboleda.
With no words to help tell the story to the audience, every movement was made to be precise for it to speak for itself. Graceful and gentle actions were executed flawlessly to portray the beauty and purity of Odette while sharp and brisk motions were made by Rothbart to induce chills and project malicious intent. Energetic and tender gestures were carried out impeccably to depict Prince Sigfried’s lively affection towards Odette. And lastly, the other swans’ action to set the mood for each moment of the play.
The simple yet efficient stage, designed by actor-director Tuxqs Rutaquio, did not take away the audience’s attention from the performers. By creating a spacious platform with only the lake for Odette as its feature, it did not only pave way for the performers to have the audience’s undivided attention but it also created a magnificent view as Odette and Sigfried splashed and danced their way to love.
With the performers’ delivery and production’s stage design, Romancon’s own take of the classic was near perfection. The problem lies with the story’s ending interpretation. As it is a classic, it is notable that there are varied endings for it. One in which Odette commits suicide after realizing that Sigfried proclaims his undying love to the wrong woman and the other in which Sigfried battles Rothbart, and wins, freeing all those under the horrid curse–just to name a few. It was rather unclear as to which of the many endings they paid tribute to. The events that led to the ending were vague but the finale itself clearly concluded with the words “happily ever after” in mind–something that tugged at the heartstrings of everyone in the audience.