REVIEW: A hindsight on the show of Agnes Locsin, Bulak: Ika limang Galaw Locsin Dance Studio, Davao City, August 29, 2014

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/01 September) — I watched Bulak: Ika-Limang Galaw, a dance-movement-drama production at the Locsin Dance Studio at Quirino, Davao City on August 29.

An avid fan and friend of Agnes Locsin, I have always been amazed, stunned, stoned, and silenced in all the works of Agnes that I have watched. I do not know if Agnes will still remembers, but in one of our intimate crazy talks then, I asked her: “Ga, where are you getting all the ideas and concepts you put in the show?”

“Ha ha, ‘teh. Here,” she said, pointing to her heart.

I think I asked her that question after I watched “Encantada,” again, one of her great works. Specifically, I told Agnes then that I cried during the scene of “Torture.” I do not remember now if I was correct in labeling it a torture scene, and I do not remember anymore how Agnes responded, but what I remember correctly is, Agnes smiled with her child-like amusements on comments of people on her work, with humility and gratitude, no aura of arrogance, simply appreciating the appreciation. This attitude of Agnes made me respect and admire her even more as an artist and as a person.

The first time I met Agnes was in the 1970s, at the Ateneo de Davao College then, she had that Terpsichorean Group and was in the Bundok Apo production (lyrics by Al Santos, music by Joey Ayala and choreography by Agnes Locsin).

Not having found myself then on the issues of my quest for my identity and artistry, I thought every time I watched the dance presentations of Terpsichoreans and when Bundok Apo was finally mounted that this Agnes is something…she is not ordinary…the same comment I muttered when I heard and watched Lea Salonga for the first time in Annie. The rest is his/her/story both for Lea and Agnes as far as their art craft is concerned.

Now, going back to Bulak…

Bulak is a sequel to a first four staging of dance-movement-drama productions by Agnes Locsin since 2010. If I am not misquoting Agnes, she explained before the show started that evening that Bulak is part of her dedication, passion, admiration, and advocacy for replanting of TREES. She mentioned her amazement on the majestic and mystique images of trees and is saddened by its slow demise and unnoticeable vanishment! And she is moved and committed to the savings of the trees…literally and figuratively.

Again, if i understood right, Agnes with all her teammates, are planting trees in their farm, and through her artistic prowess as dancer, choreographer, and all her other artistic talents, she is creating a FOREST on stage.

Thus…Bulak, and for this advocacy, my respect and admiration to Agnes surged.

While getting hooked on every movs ef the two dancers, Kris-Belle Paclibar M and Biag Gangen, some images were created in my mind and I later wrote :

umiigting hikbi ng lunot na ugat
nagsusumamo bigyan siya ng laya na makagapang at umusbong
pero walang naririnig o ayaw makinig sa hinaing ng lupa
banayad pero buo ang pagpapasya ugat ng puno na dapat magbunga
haplos ng hangin sa busilak na pagmamahal sa irog
nagbigkis magsingirog na ugat at lupa
saksi ang daloy ng tubig basbas ng tahimik na langit
yumayabong at tumitibay ugat at lupa
pangako ng pagsibol at muling pagkabuhay
yayabong at muling mamahalin
lupa, hangin, ugat, dahon. langit, bulaklak, bunga
tao, sidhi, pananampalataya sa paglaya ng bawat nilikha.

The tiny voice within whispered the above lines as I watched Kris-Belle and Biag dance. In the lines of their limbs silhouetting the pains and the struggles to be allowed to grow and share its essence to the environment,

I felt the power of the artists and their craft in making their audience feel the pain and question the normally ignored issues in our environment.

Earlier, in the opening message of Agnes about the show, she said, “just watch and appreciate the movements of the artists, do not bother to understand the storyline.”

I appreciated the movements, I considered the execution of every unit of move not only precise and convincing, but they carried with it a soul that hinted a story of its own. I think this is what makes a work of art not only beautiful but soulful!

Kris and Biag, and with the contained-humored-philosophical narratives of Nonie Buencamino, delivered the message of preserving our sacred trees, be vigilant of and stand for the protection of our environment.

Salute to you Agnes and all your teammates! The show made me remember: a work of art that makes an ordinary matter or issue extraordinary, is indeed, worth reinventing in whatever form of art, and once done, the artist has transcended his or her aesthetic gifts. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Malou Tiangco of Davao City describes herself as “social worker, educator, performing artist”).