Cirque Mother Africa opened last night in Newport Performing Arts Theater and will only run for 5 days (April 19-22, 2012) in Manila. It is a two-hour show with a 20-minute intermission.
Take note, it's not a Cirque du Soleil show. I had the impression that it was because of the term Cirque.
It's more like an African Variety Show featuring African culture through its music, costumes, dances, and circus acts. It integrates world-class circus acts you can see in Cirque du Soleil and music ala Stomp.
The highlights of the show for me are the following:
(1) The best performance is from the Master of Balance from Tanzania as he balances on a board on top of 4 wobbling, rolling cans.
(2) The most amazing act is from the Contortionist from Kenya, dubbed as the most flexible man in the world, who can stretch his body at impossible angles and smoke cigarette using his feet.
(3) The authentic African music by the eight-member band named InAfrica. They even play a 21-string bridge-harp called Kora, which is used in West Africa.
Last October 16, I was able to watch Polarity, the 2nd Anniversary show of Polecats Manila, said to be the country's premier pole dancing group. In their hands (and legs and bodies), pole dancing was successfully elevated from its notorious reputation to a form of artistic self-expression. It was made even more elegant by the Manila Symphony Orchestra's rendition of contemporary Original Pilipino Music (OPM) by some of the country's most popular bands.
Parkour Philippines also joined the action, where they showcased how men's pole dancing is done. It was nice to see Job Bautista, who played the role of Angel in Rent in Manila, cross over to the pole dancing genre.
I was surprised by how the dancers made it look so easy to execute their pole dancing routines. They continuously challenged our minds on what's possible with those simple poles.
This is an interesting traveling exhibition from Korea that you should not miss. It may be a bit disturbing but it's justified as an education in anatomy with a slant of "you should stop smoking and start living healthy". This is an exhibit of cadavers preserved with a technique called plastination (developed by Gunther von Hagens, a German anatomist).
I like the educational value and eerie feel of the exhibit, but my gut tells me that whoever developed this is a bit mad. If you believe that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, then it is not right to manipulate and use it in this manner. (Even if you say that most of the cadavers are ex-cons from China).
Overall, I would recommend seeing it because it is very effective in giving you a sense of urgency to live healthy. Here's my review of the exhibit...
KAOS, an original production by Resorts World, is the name of the land where the entire circus musical is set. The title is inspired by the actual name of the white lion in the show. It is a Chinese Acrobatic show+ American Circus + Cirque de Soleil + Broadway Musical rolled into one.
Finally, Barney, Thomas the train, and Bob the Builder in one fun musical stage show called The Little Big Club Live in Concert! I asked Aidan if he can identify the other cast members and I was surprised he knew Fireman Sam, and Angelina Ballerina. Pingu the Penquin is just getting popular.
I'm pleasantly surprised to know that there's a flourishing Belly Dancing community in Manila. I met Jill Ngo and her Goddesses of Bellydance, who introduced me to the Bellyfest 2010, during the Ultimate Taste Test 4.0 event.
According to Jill, most women belly dance because of the following reasons:
It is fun and creates camaraderie among women. (I guess it is a girl thing.)
It is great exercise. It keeps the spine flexible. The joints, like the elbows and hips, also loosen up. :)
You can dress to the nines, wear your fave costume and fulfill your fantasies! Who wouldn't want to be a goddess even for a day? (It is like cosplay, but on a sexy belly dance level.)
You become more graceful and confident. Why? Maybe because you get to realize you can do these mind-blowing moves that require great control of the body! (The confidence of belly dancers is amazing.)
You can play up your ample hips and bosom. :) Who said curves are out? (Actually, authentic Belly Dancers are a bit chubby in the hip and bosom areas.)
You can learn to balance a sword on your head, play the finger cymbals, dance with a sheer veil -- the possibilities are endless!!!
Too often, we work out the limbs and neglect the torso during our workouts. Belly dance will surely tone your stomach muscles. (I guess this is probably the number 1 reason why it is gaining popularity, especially in gyms.)