Ballet Manila to Debut Two Original Ballets With 22nd Performance Season


BY WHATSHAPPENING  
Published · Wednesday, July 26, 2017 10:41 AM


“Ballet Manila is entering a new age.”

These were the words that Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, CEO and Artistic Director of Ballet Manila, uttered to her ballerinas and danseurs when plans for the 22nd performance season of the country’s leading classical dance company were made earlier last year. Named Flights of Fantasy, the new season will debut two all-original productions, which Macuja-Elizalde is proudly working on with a team of internationally-award winning dancers, musicians, and costume and set designers.

“Ballet Manila has always been known as a company that strictly adheres to the Vaganova technique and Russian style of dancing. That’s something that we’ve always stressed out by staging classical ballets that highlight our technique’s strength. However, we understand that times are changing. And while we shall continue to stick to our technique—which is widely-accepted as the best in the world—we understand that we need to up our game if we want to appeal to more people,” she explains.

This season, she works with two classic tales—one Filipino and one foreign—to create world-class productions that will further solidify Ballet Manila’s position as the premiere classical dance company in the country.


Striking features and colors surround the legendary bird Ibong Adarna


Ibong Adarna, one of the two original productions mentioned by Lisa, will open the 22nd performance season this August. Choreographed by the one of the company’s principal dancers and multi-awarded choreographer, Gerardo Francisco, the show will bring to life the magical kingdom of Berbanya with modern production techniques, flying sequences, and impressive routines that can rival even those of the most well-known classical pieces. It will feature Gia Macuja Atchison, a West End star, as the voice of Ibong Adarna, and will also showcase music by Diwa de Leon, set and costume design by Make It Happen Workshop, and script by Angela Blardony Ureta.


Abi Oliveiro with Romeo Peralta, Mark Sumaylo, & Ballet Manila Principal Dancer Rudy de Dios in Ibong Adarna

Following Ibong Adarna  in October is one of the world’s most enduring classical romantic ballets—Swan Lake. Featuring music from master composer Peter Tchaikovsky, the production is a showcase of the company’s commitment to have at least one classical ballet in its repertoire every season—so as to uphold its Vaganova Academy roots.


For its version of Swan Lake, Ballet Manila’s production features the original Lev Ivanov choreography for the white acts and a brand-new set design by Miguel Faustmann. It will also make use of new costumes created by fashion designer Michael Miguel and live accompaniment from the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Alexander Vikulov of Russia’s Marinsky Theater.