The Cultural Center of the Philippines through its Vice-President and Artistic Director Chris…
New CCP chair Margie Moran Floirendo is thankful for her early exposure to the arts and thinks that should be encouraged by parents for their growing children.
In a presscon right after the turn over ceremony where she formally accepted the position as new chair of the CCP board of trustees, Floirendo emphasized that going to the CCP isn’t just a form of diversion but an important part of everyone’s continuing education. "What many people don't know is that exposing the kids to the arts makes a lot of difference. Children become more sensitive, they become more perceptive and they develop a positive way in which to realize their role in society. In other words, they become more intelligent, more aware that there is more to living than just spending endless time on the internet."
Heard during the turn over ceremony was the CCP-supported Kabataang Gitarista Quartet and tenor Radnel Ofalsa (with soprano Nicole Pugecia) who was a top winner of the National Music Competition for Young Artists.
The new CCP chair pointed out that the country’s national theater has done a lot to bring the arts closer to the people. “Apart from the outreach concerts and arts education program, the CCP has mounted a yearly Pasinaya arts festival where some 60,000 people got first-hand exposure to all the resident companies of the CCP. Yes, the CCP continues to reach out to those who can’t afford the regular shows and I think this program is worth pursuing and encouraging.”
Floirendo succeeded advertising executive Emily Abrera who -- along with other board members and former CCP head Raul Sunico --were given citations for lofty contributions to the CCP during their term.
The new chair said she was excited because she came at a time when CCP will celebrate its 50th year. “Ballet Philippines will also celebrate its 50th year while Virgin Labfest, Cinemalaya and Pasinaya will be 15 years old. The artistic department is making plans and we want to celebrate in a big and significant way that is befitting a national theater.”
She reiterated she will give full support to the priority of the CCP board which is to complete the development of the CCP complex. “Our goal is to see a modern and iconic architectural landmark that can metamorphose as the premier center of the arts in Asia. We have started with the Black Box Theater. The next will be the Arts Center where arts companies can use its studios for rehearsals. There are so many plans in the pipeline to benefit artists that will bring them closer to the CCP. This will materialize as soon as we find sponsors who can work with us in this goal.”
Moreover, she said her stint as president of Ballet Philippines has helped her get good ideas on how best to realize the vision of the CCP.
During her time as Ballet Philippines (BP) head, she spearheaded successful fund-raising campaigns such as the Art Auction and Ballet Barbie, and special galas including Stella Abrera's debut performance in the Philippines, through Giselle, in 2015, and ballet dancer Connor Walsh in 2011, and Joseph Gatti's Philippine debut performance for Don Quixote, among others.
She has also lent moral support to dancers joining international competitions and was able to help raise salaries of Ballet Philippines dancers.
It involved roughly P30 million a year to sustain a dance company, and this includes production, salaries and employee benefits. Only less than 40 percent of its income comes from ticket sales.
One of her accomplishment while still BP president was she made sure the company books were in order, with income and deficits noted. In due time, BP was categorized as a donee foundation by the Philippine Council for NGO Certification. BP is only one of two arts companies enjoying that distinction.
She once pointed out: “Sustaining a dance company is not just about passion. You also need discipline in getting the company’s financial ledger right. We need good accounting to make us credible to the donors and patrons of the arts.”
Floirendo has led a very driven life living the arts and giving all of herself in worthy advocacy.
Before her Miss Universe crown, she took dance lessons and found herself in musicals as part of the dance ensemble of Broadway shows in hotels and eventually at the CCP.
The arts hovered around her during her Miss Universe reign and shortly after being crowned, she found herself meeting the great Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali who ended up one of her best friends. Later, he offered to paint her but turned him down. At the time, she didn’t realize the extent of his fame in the arts world. “Such a shame though, as the only other woman he ever painted was his wife,” she recalled.
The new CCP chair has gone full circle from dancing Broadway musicals at the CCP, co-producing the award-winning film “Bagong Buwan,” and becoming a tireless impresario herself and making sure her stable of ballerinas get the salary raise they sorely need.
Indeed, the new CCP chair doesn't just preach the arts.
She lives them inside and outside the CCP grounds and is fully convinced the arts is an important part of nation-building.
Indeed, her journey into the arts and the experience she got first-hand have given her a lot.
And she used them in a good way.