“Your Highness” is the second part of the performance series “Happyland” by the Filipino choreographer and visual artist Eisa Jocson. Taking Disney’s princess figures as starting point Jocson draws in her performance-series the attention to the hidden strata of exclusions and labour embodied within the globalized production of fantasy. Together with five dancers of Ballet Philippines, one of the major dance companies in the country, Jocson investigates in “Your Highness” the relation between princess figures, collective and individual fantasy and mobility.
The massive employment of Filipino performers by Hong Kong Disneyland has led to a dire braindrain, with its impact strongly felt in Ballet Philippines (founded in 1969 as a national ballast of culture) rapidly losing half of its prima dancers within the last decade. Today, the persistent exodus of Filipino labour into the ‘global theme park’ showbiz is a common destiny for most Filipino performers, a survival means outside a home country under economic and political impasse.
Created with the young and dextrous dancers of Ballet Philippines, ‘Your Highness’ is a concert that prefigures their potential transition into the industry of happiness. It endlessly rehearses their becoming ‘real’ within the fantasy hall of ‘performed happiness’: of manufactured desires built upon privilege and the idealised Other.
As a study of classical ballet in the Philippines – its romanticised form and repertoire now intersected with pop entertainment and vernacular bodies – ‘Your Highness’ entreats us to observe the colonial narrative and embodiment of the Prince/ss archetype which hosts and re/produces contemporary Filipino servility and mobility within the global empire.
TEAM & CAST
Choreography: Eisa Jocson
Dance: Ballet Philippines (Gia Gequinto, Stephanie Cabral, Maila Habagat, Alexis Piel, Carlo Padoga)
Dramaturgy:Arco Renz & Anna Wagner
Music & Sound Design: Teresa Barrozo
Light Design: Florian Bach
Costume: Dennis Maristany & Russ Ligtas
Artistic Advisor: Tang Fu Kuen
Production Management & Coordination: Anne Kleiner Produktion Management Manila: Sarah Salazar-Aronson
Technical Direction: Yap Seok Hui / Artfactory
Technical Coordination Manila: Roman Cruz
Technical Direction Manila: Luis Alarcon
Tour Management: Christopher Aronson
Performance Coaching: Joseph Keith Anicoche & Russ Ligtas Katherine Trofeo (ballet), Mia Bolanos (voice)
Documentation (Photography): Tuchi Imperial & Hiyas Balder Bagabaldo Documentation (Videography): Brandon Relucio
Your Highness is a production by Ballet Philippines and Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt am Main (Germany), in co-production with Internationales Sommerfestival Kampnagel (Germany), Zürcher Theater Spektakel (Switzerland), La Bâtie – Festival de Genève (Switzerland).
World Premiere: 27.7. Manila, Cultural Centre of the Philippines, Manila, RP
European Premiere: Aug 23-24-25: Your Highness, International Sommer festval, Hamburg, DE
Sept 1-2-3: Your Highness, Zurich Theatre Spektakel
Sept 5-6: Your Highness, La Batie festival, Geneva,
Sept 10-11: Your Highness, Frankfurt LAB, DE