In “Your Highness”, the classically trained dancers masterfully alternate between stylized Disney gestures and standards of ballet classics like Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake – and explore the fine line between portrayals of happiness through ballet history and princess archetypes in a globalized entertainment industry.The massive employment of Filipino performers by Hong Kong Disneyland has led to a dire brain drain, with its impact strongly felt in Ballet Philippines, which has lost half of its top dancers within the last decade. Against this backdrop, choreographer Eisa Jocson has now created a dance piece with five young dancers of the Ballet Philippines.
“As an independent Filipina choreographer it is a unique and inspiring adventure to collaborate with Ballet Philippines in creating this new ensemble work,” shares Jocson. “It is exciting to see the dancers push their capacities into unknown terrain with incredible virtuosity. And I am looking forward to share this performance born out of an intense and meticulous process of exploring the dancer’s and ballet’s manifold bodies and voices.”
“Your Highness” international artistic team is led by Eisa Jocson (choreographer), Gia Gequinto, Stephanie Cabral, Maila Habagat, Alexis Piel, and Carlo Padoga (Ballet Philippines dancers), Arco Renz & Anna Wagner (dramaturgs), Teresa Barrozo (music & sound design), Florian Bach (lighting design), and Dennis Maristany (costume design).
After seeing the piece during Zurich’s Theaterspektakel, a Q&A with Eisa Jocson and a few of the perfomers followed.
Eisa Jocson is an internationally renowned artist creating and touring works in Asia, Europe, America and Australia. Educated as a visual artist and trained as a ballet dancer, she won her first pole-dancing competition in Manila in 2010 and began her international dance career with public interventions like “pole-tagging” here and abroad. Her 3 solos, “Death of the Pole Dancer” (2011), “Macho Dancer” (2013) and “Host” (2015) toured extensively in major festivals abroad. Under the HAPPYLAND (2017) series, her new creations, “Princess” a duet with Filipino performance artist Russ Ligtas and “Your Highness” are a continuation of her investigation into Filipino labour, performance of happiness and production of fantasy within the happiness empire. “Your Highness” is her first ensemble creation, and is the first of all her works to be premiered and produced in the Philippines.