Last Saturday, my friend Vin asked me to watch a performance at the Manila Metropolitan Theater, or what is more popularly known as the Met. I was beside myself with delight when I heard that there was going to be a performance at the Met. Never mind that I’m not really a fan of modern dance or performance art; it was THE Met! It’s part of my favorite spots in Manila, and I know that this opportunity doesn’t come often.
The Metropolitan Theater
It was dream-like not only to step inside the partially restored theater, but also to actually watch a live performance here, just as my mother did when she was younger. Thanks to the National Commission on Culture and the Arts’ (NCCA) efforts to restore and renovate the dilapidated theater, we were able to have that breathtaking experience of celebrating art in a magnificent art deco building. Unfortunately, they were unable to salvage the Amorsolo paintings in the lobby, so the NCCA just put up tarpaulin reproductions in their place.
The Met was constructed in the 1930s and was designed by Juan Arellano, who was also the architect of the Manila Central Post Office Building. After the Second World War, it was transformed into a gay bar and a boxing arena. In the succeeding decades, politicians like Imelda Marcos and Lito Atienza attempted to revive the theater, but it was only in May 2015, with proper funding from the government, when concerted efforts were made to promote and rehabilitate the decaying building.
The NORDLYS / P-NOiSE Contemporary Performance
The NORDLYS / P-NOiSE Contemporary Performance is the first major event in Manila that featured Nordic dancers. Organized in collaboration with the Royal Danish Embassy in the Philippines, the NCCA, and Nordic and Filipino art collectives, this performance is part of an ongoing festival celebrating the culture, talent, and artistry of both local and European performers.
Choreographers: Tine Østergaard and Julie Rasmussen
Technician: Anders Amdisen
Costumes and Graphic Design: Sandra Møller Svendsen
We capped the night with a short walk in Lawton and across the Sta. Cruz Bridge to Escolta with Carlos Celdran and other members of the audience. It was a fun night, overall. I’m looking forward to more events like this, especially once the Metropolitan Theater is fully restored.