Ballet and Fitness
The guest artist of Ballet Philippine’s Romeo and Juliet flew in to the Philippines with heavy equipment in his luggage. This was what it sounded like when Joseph Gatti, principal dancer of Cincinnati Ballet and Corella Ballet and dancing Romeo for BP’s first show of the year, revealed what he brought to Manila for the rest of the company. “I have all sorts of machines to massage sore muscles, even Black+Decker machines that I had retooled for specific purposes,” he explained over a hearty buffet at the Conrad Hotel. “You can just imagine how the airport sensors went crazy when my luggage went through them!”
Gatti just flew in a few hours ago, haven’t had any rest but will go straight to rehearsals. And he will not have it otherwise. “The best way to fight jetlag is not to sleep!” he said, meaning, of course not to sleep until it is bedtime. Born in Warwick, New York and raised in Orlando Florida, Gatti has been to the Philippines once before now. He was the guest artist of BP’s Don Quixote presented in February 2018. In that first visit, BP artistic director and National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes said Gatti saw nothing beyond the walls of the theatre and his hotel. “He simply did not have a chance to see the city, much more the country!” Reyes, who choreographed this version of Romeo and Juliet, said.
There will be more time, a little bit more than the first, for some sight-seeing because BP has asked Gatti to conduct a few workshops for the dancers. Which the multi-awarded dancer enjoys doing. “We will do workshops on how to take care of our bodies, how we should exercise. We will talk mainly about the cycle of company life, coping with the workload and with the pressures,” Gatti, who conducts similar workshops in Orlando, said.
“Ballet dancers must take care of their bodies otherwise they will not be able to dance rigorous movements, like the many leaps in Alice’s choreography of Romeo and Juliet,” he explains. Like any athlete, he continued, a ballet dancer must eat the right food and maintain his or her ideal weight.
Alcohol, Gatti cites, does not do his body any good so he makes it a point to consume it sparingly. Sleep is always good, and any dancer will not last long if he or she continues to deprive himself or herself with sleep. “Ballet is a sport too and the dancers, athletes,” Reyes says.
With magnificent set designs and costumes by the late National Artist Salvador Bernal Romeo and Juliet opens February 15 at the CCP Main Theatre and runs for two weekends. Get your tickets exclusively on Ticketworld (891-9999), CCP Box Office, or Ballet Philippines Box Office (551-1003) or online at ticketworld.com.ph as well as in all Ticketworld outlets.
Tales of the Manuvu, the original modern ballet of Ballet Philippines based on the myths of the Manuvu tribe, the entertainingly clever take on the enmity between the gods of good and evil, the creation of man and his empowerment. Choreography by National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes, script by National Artist for Literature Bien Lumbera, lyrics by Nonong Pedero, set design by Loy Arcenas.
Tales of the Manuvu runs from March 22-31, 2019, at the CCP Main Theater. For more information, connect to Ballet Philippines online through the following social media networks: Facebook, Instagram: @balletphilippines, ballet.ph.