“We are a team, a family. As one, we will continue to fight and work hard and overcome this together.” That was the statement of Ballet Manila CEO and artistic director Lisa Macuja Elizalde as her dance company continues to show strength and resilience after the fire that razed its home venue, Aliw Theater, and temporarily set askew the company’s planned 24th performance season lineup.
It has been more than two months since the tragedy; and the dance company is slowly getting back on its feet, rising from the ashes like the proverbial phoenix to carry on with its goals and mission.“We went back to the original motto of Ballet Manila – ‘have floor, will dance.’ That was what we did before the existence of Aliw Theater and Star Theater. And that is what we will do,” she said.
Now, Ballet Manila is all set to captivate its audience with the world premiere of Sleeping Beauty, an apt offering for the new year, as the company ‘awakens’ from the brief slumber caused by the tragic fire.
The third show in its 24th performance season “On Pointe,” Sleeping Beauty is Macuja Elizalde’s homage to this ballet classic and fairy tale. Against the background of the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Macuja Elizalde’s choreography adapted bits and pieces from the original staging by Marius Petipa and Konstantin Sergeyev while creating stunningly new portions. It will be staged on January 18 at 6:00 PM and January 19 at 3:00 PM Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila, Pasay City.
“Sleeping Beauty is considered a masterwork in the world of classical ballet because it stretches everyone to the fullest of their abilities. Everything about this show is a very academic, very old school. Ballet Manila is here to preserve that tradition and, at the same time, create something entirely new.” she said.
Sleeping Beauty has been around for over one and a quarter-century and has been performed in different corners of the world. Despite the show’s perennial eminence, Macuja Elizalde, who choreographed the entire show, assures everyone that her version of Sleeping Beauty is different from the well-loved classic. With the help of Ballet Manila co-artistic director Osias Barroso, who was also the show’s choreography assistant and rehearsal master, the country’s foremost and well-loved prima ballerina guarantees a spectacular show – an unforgettable retelling of the famous fairy tale.
Moving to the new venue meant adapting to necessary changes. Macuja Elizalde, her dancers, and the rest of her production team had to adjust to new plans, choreography, stage setup and casting. Producing the show was more challenging due to limited time for setting up and technical rehearsals.
Nevertheless, Macuja Elizalde said that they have certainly saved the best for last and Sleeping Beauty will be the fitting ending to her Princess Trilogy. An enthralling story on its own, Sleeping Beauty will surely capture the hearts of viewers even if they did not see the first two installments, namely Snow White and Cinderella. The show will be supported by a powerhouse cast led by principal dancer Jasmine Pia Dames who will take on the role of Aurora, while her fellow principal dancer Romeo Peralta will be her love interest, Prince Phillip. Other cast members include Mark Sumaylo, Rissa May Camaclang, Joan Sia, Gerardo Francisco, Rafael Perez, Alvin Dictado, Shaira Comeros, and Emma Harris.
A month or so ago, Macuja Elizalde admitted that she didn’t even dream of staging Sleeping Beauty. “I did not have the courage to make a decision about proceeding with the show. I was still in shock and denial for weeks after the fire,” she shares. However, the overwhelming outpouring of love and support they’ve received when they performed Giselle in October gave her the strength to overcome the obstacles. And with Sleeping Beauty, Ballet Manila will continue to dance, beautifully, majestically in a way that will undoubtedly wow the audience. To buy tickets for Sleeping Beauty, visit any Ticketworld outlet; call 8891 9999, or go to www.ticketworld.com.ph. For more information, visit https://balletmanila.com.ph/ or https://www.facebook.com/BalletManilaOfficial/.