SLDC did more than Dancing in Charity Concert: ONCE UPON A TIME
by Tristan Cubangbang
St. Luke’s Dance Company (SLDC) blended dancing with storytelling, animation, acting, music, and modern culture into their concert entitled “Once Upon a Time” at the Angelo King Auditorium last January 24. This concert aimed to raise fund for an orphanage outreach program for Children’s Joy Foundation Incorporation, a non-profit organization dedicated to provide care and support to children and youth needing rehabilitatitve and developmental services.
Other organizations including SLMCCM Chorale, St. Luke’s Musicians’ Circle, Medicosalto Dance Crew of San Beda College of Medicine Dance Organization, and alumni contributed intermissions to entertain the audience on the early part of the program and during transitions.
Aside from the concert, SLDC also decorated the Penthouse Lobby with the artwork of the children, under the care of the said the foundation, for auction. There was also a raffle draw for additional entertainment.
The audience enjoyed the concert of imaginative and expressive retelling of classic, modern, and native fairytales/folklores. Totaling 6 performances or chapters in all, the concert featured inspirations that, in order of sequence, included: Hansel and Gretel, various Disney princesses, the Disney movie “Enchanted,” Maria Makiling, King Midas, and Little Red Riding Hood.
Sponsored by Mary Kay Cosmetics, the concert also hosted a raffle giveaways such as a smart watch, a Bluetooth speaker, and an OTG flash drive.
Hancel and Gretel
A deep brooding voice narrating Hansel and Gretel hit the start of the concert. An animation that described the 2 children as they looked for missing girls until they discovered a house that is revealed to be the witch’s. Here, the narration faded, cuing the dance. Starting with just a spotlight, the stage opened as deep vibrant lights emerged giving the black dressed witch and dancers the atmosphere to seduce the crowd’s attention to the tune of Madonna’s “Girl Gone Wild.” The crowd was then introduced to Hansel, Gretel, and the missing girls who were found in the house. The conflict between the witch and the protagonists heated up as Swift’s “Bad Blood” played until the witch was subdued and the missing girls celebrated their freedom with a heated dance to Aguilera’s “Show Me How You Burlesque.”
The Bachelor and the Princesses
A twist onto a familiar dilemma of a prince who must find a queen in time or else live a life of solitude was delivered to the audience next. Referencing the Bachelor, a male host introduced the prince. The prince entered with dancers, all clothed in suits, and they dominated the stage with a suave dance number to Exo’s “Love Shot.” Afterwards, the ladies were introduced, each with their own dance: princess Ariel’s elegant and vibrantly green and sea foam colored dance, princess Jasmine’s edgy, rhythmic dance with music boldly and unhesitatingly repeating the line “do you love me?,” and princess Mulan’s red and pink dance which combined powerful, rapid martial arts stances, and strong consecutive electronic beats against the gentle and soothing harp sounds. To conclude the Bachelor, the dancers, with the ladies, the prince, and the host joined the stage together with Blackpink’s “Kill This Love” playing loudly. As the ladies grabbed for the prince’s attention, the prince in the last seconds of the dance presented his rose instead to the male host at which point the stage promptly darkened with the spotlight, highlighting the pair, as they ran off together.
In the third chapter of the concert, the concert presented a story adaptation of the movie, Enchanted. The concert retained the movie’s setting which is the kingdom of Andalasia with the magic well that connects it to the real world. The narrator then introduced the life and monotony of a real world man before he fell through a manhole, entering Andalasia. Opening the dance with Olly Mur’s “Dance with Me Tonight,” the villagers of Andalasia gave off a classic juke box era vibe as they danced in pairs to the beat of the song. From here, the performance channeled classic Hollywood/Broadway musical as it depicted the developing romance of the man with the princess of Andalasia; shown first in their dance together to Us the Duo’s “No Matter Where You Are,” then to the song “That’s How You Know” from Enchanted. Finally, the man decided to stay with the princess in Andalasia, celebrating their love while happily dancing a ballroom style to “Falling In Love” by Us the Duo.
The concert also paid respect to cultural roots by including Filipino folklore and Original Pilipino Music (OPM). Maria Makiling, the story’s titular character and the fairy, represented both the cultural roots of the people and the environment. The story staged the conflict as modernization and humanity’s carelessness change the environment. With each phase of change, so to does Maria’s emotions change from joy, to sadness, and finally to anger. Starting off happily, the fairy and the dancers, all dressed in white, danced energetically to the beat of Sarah Geronimo’s “Tala,” Nadine Lustre’s “Sumayaw Sa Indak,” and finally to Thyro Alfaro’s “Sabay Sa Balye,” ending joyously with handfuls of petals thrown into the air. Clips of modernization however cut the mood short, and as Ben & Ben’s “Masyado Pang Maaga” and Moira’s “Malaya” somberly lowered the mood, the dancers eventually became slow and defeated while the lights faded to pale colors. After footage of war, waste, and death were displayed and as Bullet Dumas’ “Usisa” angrily repeated the phrase “ayaw ko sila,” the dancers with the fairy (now all dressed in black) emerged and started moving powerfully as the stage light shined a saturated, burning magenta. At the end, the stage light died and the spotlight focused only to the fairy as she slowly walked off the stage into darkness as the song finished.
The 5th chapter began with the narration of King Midas’ greedy wish to have everything he touched turned to gold, and how the king contemplated the negative effects of his wish. The dance then started loudly as the resonating consecutive rings from Son Lux’s “Change Is Everything” in synchrony with the stage lights numerous color shift ceremoniously introduced the king and the dancers. During the dance, the king showed regret of his wish as expressed when he dramatically exposed his hands. This regret culminated when the dance suddenly stops and continues on with Coldplay’s “Yellow.”
Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH)
In its interpretation of the popular fairy tale, the concert presented a figurative conflict between a person going through sadness and struggle with the wolf inside her, representing death either in experience or thoughts of it. In an introductory video, LRRH is shown enjoying time with her grandmother until her grandmother ends in the hospital. Later LRRH receives news of her grandmother’s fate. In the first song, “The Thrill” by Miguel, LRRH struggled with her feelings despite being around her dancing friends, the lumberjacks—the lumberjack was responsible for killing the wolf in the original story, hence the plaid clothing of the dancers. The dance was concluded by the low beeps of a heart rate monitor, signaling the transition to the next song, “Crawling” by Linkin Park, which was performed by the ‘wolf’, or the black dressed dancers representing it. Here, the wolf’s performance highlighted LRRH’s emotion and pain with the song mentioning, “these wounds, they will not heal.” Suddenly, the consistent high pitched hum of the heart monitor signaled the death of the grandmother. A mashup of Macklemore’s “Wings” and Drake’s “Forever” played, and LRRH danced with the “wolf” even falling to her knees and pleading with death, which showed her vulnerability to the reality of death. LRRH, however, was comforted and saved from the torment of the loss of her grandmother by her friends, the lumberjacks, who surrounded her as photos of them together were flashed with “All the Same” by Tenth Avenue North playing in the background.
The concerted ended with a final dance as the dancers of each of the chapters reappeared. Each chapter’s choreographers were also named: Aly Magaoay and Deo Mabunay for Hansel and Gretel; Myka Vintola, Rafael Recomono, and Josh Comia for the Story of the Disney Princesses; Gem Fuerte, Patricia Garcia, and Grace Impas for Enchanted; Pau Candelaria, Dale Diño, and Ally Bismonte for Ang Kwento ni Maria Makiling; Dominik Arceo for King Midas; and Kathryn Magsombol for the story of Little Red Riding Hood. In the end, all the members of the chapters gathered on the stage in the concert’s last moments as the audience gave a standing ovation and joined their celebratory dance to the song of One Republic, “I lived.”