Business

Tonyboy Cojuangco-chaired Ballet Philippines rocked by controversy over Russian director’s appointment

Ballet Philippines has been besieged by controversy following the appointment of Russian star dancer Mikhail Martynyuk as its new artistic director.

Ballet Philippines has been besieged by controversy following the appointment of Russian star dancer Mikhail Martynyuk as its new artistic director.

The dance community took to social media to slam the decision of the Ballet Philippines board to tap a foreigner to replace National Artist Alice Reyes as artistic director.

“I am appalled to learn that … Reyes … did not get the full support of its board of trustees and president causing her to resign from the company she co-founded with Eddie Elejar. And more appalling is that she was not at all consulted on the choice of her successor. When the board of trustees exercises its legal power over artistic matters, it is bound to kill a performing arts company. I do hope this doesn’t happen to Ballet Philippines,” former Cultural Center of the Philippines president Nestor Jardin said.

Netizens have collected over 6,000 signatures in an online petition, urging Ballet Philippines Foundation to appoint a Filipino as director. Businessman Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco is chairman of Ballet Philippines.

Martynyuk, who is reportedly close to Liza Macuja Elizalde of Ballet Manila, will take the reins of Ballet Philippines next month through March 30, 2022.

Ballet Philippines appoints an Artistic Director for its 51st season.

Posted by Ballet Philippines on Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The dance community raged on Twitter, saying the appointment of a Russian national was an insult given abundant local talent.

Some, however, think the selection of the director should be based on merit more than citizenship. But renowned educator Cecilia Manikan believes otherwise.

“We are not on the level of personalities or qualifications here…that is beside the point!!! GET THIS: Ballet Philippines IS MANDATED TO PRESERVE AND SHOWCASE FILIPINO CULTURE!!! That is the nature and cultural mandate of this company – it creates ORIGINAL works based on Filipino culture as its primary mission,” she said.

“THERE IS NO INTEGRITY in trying to become what we are not! Forget about parroting Westen dancers – we can never be Russian or American and for as long as we strive to become what we ARE NOT, we can only be WANNABES who are FAKES at its very best,” Manikan added. “Do not be proud of this faux pas. It insults the Filipino – his culture, his identity, his heritage.”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.