Ballet Manila honors Edsa heroes in ‘Rebel’

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Prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde as Inang Bayan (center), with Ninoy the rebel and his beloved Corazon (couple on left) and Ferdinand the dictator and his wife Imelda

Prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde as Inang Bayan (center), with Ninoy the rebel and his beloved Corazon (couple on left) and Ferdinand the dictator and his wife Imelda

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 Macuja-Elizalde’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.

The Edsa Revolution of 1986 is delicately etched in Macuja-Elizalde’s heart and mind. Having witnessed the historic event from afar and relying on television reports and her parents for news, she 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,” she continues. “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 Macuja-Elizalde’s own way of bringing back the spirit of nationhood, which earned praises worldwide.

“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 textbooks 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,” she declares.

The characters in Rebel are Ferdinand the dictator, his wife Imelda, Ninoy the rebel and his beloved Corazon. Macuja-Elizalde 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” goes onstage at 8 p.m. tonight and on February 26, and 27, and at 3 p.m. on February 28 at the Aliw Theater in Pasay City. Log on to www.ticketworld.com.ph for more information.

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