Are You Ready for Ballet Manila’s “Don Quixote”?

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Ballet Manila Opens 2017 with a Classic Masterpiece

I personally always look forward to every shows and productions mounted by one of the country’s premiere ballet company, Ballet Manila. Most especially their year opener of a well loved classic—- DON QUIXOTE which I haven’t seen or watched in full on the ballet stage.

Happening on February 24 and 25, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. and on February 26, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. at Aliw Theater, Don Quixote is known in the ballet world as one of the most technically challenging pieces ever created, with some of the choreography raising the already high international standards when it first premiered in 1869at the Tsar’s Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg. It is especially known for its compulsory quick and strong movements, high vertical takeoffs, one arm lifts, quick fouettes, quadruple pirouettes, and Kitri’s signature move, the Plisetskaya head-kick.

Don Quixote is the closing act for Ballet Manila’s 21st performance season.Set in Spain, the story tells the tale of Don Quixote,who decides to become a knight and embark on a journey to find Lady Dulcinea, a lover that he has only made up in his head.  The ballet places special focus on the love story between Kitri and Basilio, a pair he encounters during his adventures.The production combines great acrobatic feats, lively music, colorful sets and costumes, and a lot of comedic elements. Specially for this run, Ballet Manila will bring in Kremlin Ballet Theater star and principal danseur, Mikhail Martynyuk, to play Basilio.

“Our 21st performance season, Revenge of the Classics, has allowed us to mark so many milestones not just for Ballet Manila, but for the country as well,” says Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, Ballet Manila’s CEO and Artistic Director. “Therefore, we only find it fitting to close it with a true classic—one that’s opulent, captivatingly elaborate, and serves as a true testament to the strength, passion, and skills of our dancers, who are all trained in the Vaganova Academy Style of dancing.”

She continues, “Don Quixote is kind of like my signature ballet. It’s the ballet that reallybrought me to the spotlight, and Kitri is my most performed role. I’m so excited for this production because I feel like this is me handing down the role to Ballet Manila’s next generation of principal dancers.” Alternating for the role of Kitri are Katherine Barkman, Pia Dames, andDawna Mangahas, who will be partnered by Martynyuk,

Lisa adds that the public should also watch out for the ballet’s production elements. “We are revamping some elements of our staging from previous ones. We are going all out with stage designs, props, and costumes. We’re not holding back for Don Quixote. Everyone should really watch out for it.”

Don Quixote is co-presented by the Manila Broadcasting Company, Star City, and Aliw Theater. Other sponsors include ACS Manufacturing Corporation, First United Corporation, Papa John’s Pizza, Hot Star Chicken, Oasis Paco Park Hotel, Microtel Wyndham Hotels, Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas, City Garden Suites Malate,Island Rose, and Philcom. Official ride partner is Grab Philippines. To learn more about it, visit http://www.balletmanila.com.ph or follow Ballet Manila on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tickets are also available through all Ticketworld outlets. Please call 8919999 or visit http://www.ticketworld.com.ph, for more information.

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Lisa Macuja’s Take on the Well-Loved Classic Cinderella

Here are excerpts of my coverage of Ballet Manila’s latest classic take on CINDERELLA as choreographed by world class artist Ms. Lisa Macija-Elizalde ♥♥ with additional choreo from Osias Barroso.
Aliw Theater on November 26 2016.
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The Incredible (Czech) Iva BITTOVA and *Ne nehledej*

Discovered this remarkable and incredible piece from a recent ballet production show here in Manila
choreographed by David Campos of Barcelona, Spain for Ballet Philipines’ #FirebirdAndOtherBallets
August 19-21, 2016 held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The talented artist is Czech born Ms. IVA BITTOVA! You’re a genius Iva and muchas gracias David for sharing it with the Filipino audience. Unforgettable!

BALLET MANILA Sends Promising Dancers to Russian Fest

bmBMDance dreams can come true you know especially when you really work hard on it plus be in the company of rightful people who can help you make those aspirations happen.

Four young and promising dancers will represent Ballet Manila in the DANCE OPEN International Ballet Festival, to be held from April 16 to 25 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

BM junior company members Nicole Barroso, Marinette Franco, Alvin Dictado and Joshua Enciso, were all handpicked by their artistic heads to participate in the prestigious festival, which will bring to the fore the fruits of their years of rigorous training in the Russian Vaganova method.

Fourteen-year-old Nicole, the youngest in the group, is a silver medalist (Junior B category) of the 2015 Asian Grand Prix in Hong Kong, where Marinette, 16, was also a finalist. “Having trained exclusively in the Ballet Manila School, they both exude the style and technique of the Vaganova-trained dancer,” observes artistic director and prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, who is also the BM School director. “However, as individual artists, they are complete opposites when it comes to strengths. Whereas Marinette is tall and long with beautiful lines and extensions that go up and away, Nicole is a compact soubrette who is fast, charming and a turner.”

On his selection of the male delegates, co-artistic director Osias Barroso points out that both have “marvelous stage presence.” Joshua, 16 and an AGP finalist, is described to have “a wonderful ballon” while Alvin, 15, is “light on his feet.” Adds the former ballet master and principal danseur: “Although they are young, these boys have a good working attitude and they deliver onstage. I am confident that they will treasure this experience and strive harder to improve on whatever  physical limitations they may possess.”

Now on its 15th year, the DANCE OPEN International Ballet Festival has become one of the most significant and highly-anticipated festivals in the international ballet calendar, featuring some of the brightest dancers, choreographers and companies in the world – from the keepers of the legendary classical tradition to the mavericks of modern dance. Gracing this year’s festival are ballet stars Tyler Angle (New York City Ballet), Alicia Amatriain (Stuttgart Ballet), Elena Algado (Ballet Nacional de España), Silvia Azzoni (Hamburg Ballet), and Yonah Acosta (English National Ballet), among dozens of other internationally renowned soloists. Participating companies include the Bolshoi Ballet, the Dutch National Ballet, the Vienna State Ballet, among others.

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One of the integral elements of the DANCE OPEN is its Master Class program for young dancers, which gathers students from around the world for a week of rigorous training in the Russian ballet school tradition, which is considered to be the best in the world. “Since ballet is an art that is handed down directly from teacher to student, we know that our BM kids will gain invaluable experience training under legendary ballet professors such as Gennady Selyutsky and Elvira Tarasova, who are both esteemed national artists of Russia,” says Lisa, adding that at least two of the coaches – Igor Petrov of the Mariinsky Theater and Veronika Ivanova of the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet – were her own contemporaries during the four years she spent studying and dancing in St. Petersburg.

On April 24, after completing their Master Classes, the four Filipino teens will join their international peers in performing at the “Young Stars Gala” scheduled at the historic Hermitage Theater, where they will be dancing on the very same stage where ballet icons like Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky took flight over a century ago. They will also participate in museum tours, as well as cultural and artistic exposure trips arranged especially for the junior delegates.

“I feel that this chance to train and perform in the very heart of Russian ballet will have a very positive impact on our young dancers,” Osias shares. “Given more opportunities like this, I am certain that they will all mature into able guardians of the BM tradition, which values excellence in the classics above all.”

Many thanks to Ms. Lisa and Sir Osias for sending a handful of your best. Good luck to all the promising four BM dancers. Make your mentors, coaches and families proud!

Follow and Like Ballet Manila on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @balletmanila for the latest news and updates regarding classes, workshops and upcoming season shows.

BM21 by Ballet Manila Slated March 19th

12794514_10154009445904874_3890514080828259812_nWhat a year it’s been for Ballet Manila and the hardworking dance troupe plus staff of prima ballerina Ms. Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and BM20. Super congrats dear friend!

But before the season officially takes a break, here’s a closing season hurrah which features Ms. Lisa dancing for #Carmen by Eric V. Cruz and two other specially handpicked dances by Macuja.

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In  Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Bloom, Ballet Manila's   contemporary dance chops are highlighted

Save the date on March 19, 2016
8:00PM
Aliw Theater, Pasay City

Stay tuned for more information from this site! I’m pretty excited seeing #Carmen

The Significant “Rebel” in Ballet Manila

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What is so significant about this year’s EDSA Revolution?

Ballet Manila Honors the Heroes of Edsa in “Rebel”

Ballet Manila Artistic Director and CEO Lisa Macuja-Elizalde joins the 30th anniversary celebration of the People Power Revolution with “Rebel” a full-length ballet about a hero’s journey to freedom.

Inspired by the story of “Spartacus” and set against the backdrop of the 1986 Edsa Revolution, “Rebel” is Lisa’s dream project. “I’ve had this in mind since 2010,” says the prima ballerina. “I was waiting for the right choreographer to share my ideas with and when I met Mr. Lawrance two years ago, the concept resonated well with him. I knew he was the one so we shook hands and went to work right away.” she said.

t0208ballet-manila6The Edsa Revolution of 1986 is delicately etched in Lisa’s heart and mind. Having witnessed the historic event from afar and relying on television reports and her parents for news, Lisa longed to come home. “I was in Russia completing my contract with the Kirov Ballet. I was far away and virtually isolated during those Cold War years. I returned to Manila later that same year to find a nation finding its balance amid a sweeping and sudden transition. Interestingly, it was also in that same year that I made a bold career move to remain Philippine-based while pursuing an international career as a guest principal artist. It was a risky choice that called for many sacrifices but which, looking back, I never ever regretted. So in a way, 1986 was also a radical year for me personally in terms of making a crucial decision about my future as a ballerina.”

Rebel” is Lisa’s own way of bringing back the spirit of nationhood which earned praises world wide. “Edsa gave every Filipino a strong sense of pride, and I believe It is important that the younger generation realizes its value. Whether they learned about People Power in text books or have lived through the experience themselves, we want to remind the audience of that proud moment in time when faith, non-violence, and unity swayed the course of our nation’s destiny. We hope that in some way, the memory will help revive our idealism to commit ourselves to be the change we all want to see.”
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The characters in “Rebel” are Ferdinand the dictator, his wife Imelda, Ninoy the rebel and his beloved Corazon. Lisa takes on the pivotal role of Inang Bayan in the production. Also featured are internationally acclaimed singer-actress Joanna Ampil and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga. “Rebel” features music from “Spartacus” by Aram Khachaturian.

Rebel” is presented in cooperation with the Manila Broadcasting Company, Star City, ACS Manufacturing Corporation, First United Travel, NCCA with Official TV Partner – 2nd Avenue.  Special thanks to Philcom, Empire Salon, Island Rose, Ramada Hotel, Oasis Park Hotel, Manang’s Chicken, Papa John’s Pizza, Slimmer’s World, Microtel, Armada Hotel and Hot Star Chicken.

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Ballet Manila’s “Rebel” goes onstage at 8pm on February 25, 26, and 27, and at 3pm on February 28 at the Aliw Theater in Pasay City. Tickets are available through Ticketworld at 891-9999 or at
www.ticketworld.com.ph.

Barroso’s Pinocchio: Endearing Season-Ender for Ballet Manila

Pinocchio8The Yuletide Season is once again in the air and where else can we enjoy well-loved classic tales come to life but in the theatre. Such a tale that never fails to entertain and bring out the child in all of us is this production.

The captivating story of a puppet, wishing upon a star to become a real boy, marks Ballet Manila’s holiday treat.

Osias Barroso’s “Pinocchio” is the third offering in “From Page to Stage,” Ballet Manila’s 20th performance season. Based on the Italian children’s novel by Carlo Collodi, it was the second animated film produced by Disney in 1940, following the success of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.

Ballet Manila’s “Pinocchio” is choreographed by Co-Artistic Director Osias Barroso. Initially a one-act piece, it was always included in the company’s line-up of shows. With its timeless appeal, this year the audience will enjoy “Pinocchio’ as a full length production, signifying Ballet Manila’s Christmas treat to its loyal patrons.
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Dance companies stage ‘Pinocchio’ not only because it’s a children’s ballet show, it also reminds us of the value of family and friendship,” explained choreographer Osias Barroso. “This is very evident with the relationship of Gepetto and Pinocchio and the friendship between Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio. What I like most about the material is the lesson on truthfulness. Pinocchio’s nose grows longer whenever he tells a lie; I think everyone grew up with that fantasy.”

“Pinocchio” was one of Ballet Manila’s most successful productions. Pinocchio11It stood the test of time. It had an impressive track record in terms of sales and audience feedback. Our biggest challenge was finding suitable music for the ballet but I am glad that were able to come up with a beautiful score. The music of ‘Pinocchio’ has a lot of heart,” he said.

Pinocchio will be played by danseur Alvin Santos, one of Ballet Manila’s most senior company members. Alvin started out as a company scholar and is a product of the School of Ballet Manila. Alvin has played the lead since the very first staging of “‘Pinocchio” in 2002. He returns this season, to once again dance the part of ‘Pinocchio”, a role he will never get tired of doing.
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Alvin was the first male Filipino danseur to receive a FINALIST Certificate in the Asia Pacific international Ballet competition held in Tokyo, Japan in 2003,” Osias proudly said.

The role is quite unusual because most of the time, the male dancer needs height and strong partnering skills. ‘Pinocchio’ is a wonderful opportunity for a not-so-tall but technically strong male ballet dancer to shine, “ remarked Ballet Manila artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde.

To further enhance the magical journey, Fil-Am singer Tippy dos Santos will be the show’s storyteller. This season’s performance will be a delightful mix of heart warming music in playful narrative movements.
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With the air filled with holiday cheer, the whole family can head straight to the carnival fun rides after enjoying the show. All ‘Pinocchio’ ticket holders are entitled to free tickets to Star City.

Osias Barroso’s “Pinocchio” has special rates for group bookings. Schools, companies and organizations can get specially priced tickets for fund-raising events and other holiday activities. For inquiries, call (02 552 7502 or email info@balletmanila.com.ph.

Osias Barroso’s “Pinocchio” is co-presented by Manila Broadcasting Company, Aliw Theater and Star City. Other sponsors are ACS Manufacturing, First United Travel, Papa John’s Pizza, Manang’s Chicken, Empire Salon, Slimmer’s World, Island Rose, Oasis Paco Park Hotel, Ramada Manila Hotel, Armada Hotel, Microtel Wyndham Hotels, Hot Star Chicken, and whatshappening.com.ph.

Pinocchio5Celebrate the holidays with Pinocchio, Geppeto and Jimminy Cricket in Osias Barroso’s “Pinocchio.

Catch the final show on December 6 at 3:00 p.m, at Aliw Theater in Pasay City. Tickets are available at all Ticketworld outlets, online at www.ticketworld.com.ph, or call 891 9999.

May the merriest of Christmas magic onstage be with you all!

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