Madame Isabelle Garachon wows crowd on opening night
ANOTHER landmark performance of Ballet Philippines’ (BP) 45th anniversary season
continues with the fifth restaging of National Artist Alice Reyes’ version of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella.
As founder and artistic director emeritus of the company, Reyes had always dreamt of choreographing a full-length ballet for children, hence the staging of Ballet Philippines’ first-ever Cinderella in 1981.
Over three decades since then, BP made sure to mount the production with something new for the audience and invited Madame Isabelle, wife of French Ambassador Gilles Garachon as guest artist to play the role of Cinderella’s wicked stepmother, Brunhilda.
Wowing the audience with her charm and grace, the former can-can dancer proved she still has the moves more than a decades since she took her final bow.
“It’s been 15 years since I danced on stage. That’s when I became pregnant with our first son. At first I was scared to perform again after such a long time long, but at the end of the show, I didn’t want to leave the stage anymore,” Madame Isabelle happily exclaimed at Cinderella’s opening gala at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on November 28.
The statuesque French lady narrated how she began dancing ballet when she was only eight years old, after which she moved on to more contemporary dance forms like jazz and tap dance. She has performed on different stages in Paris, and later on became a professional can-can dancer for many years.
Her career led her to meet the would-be French Ambassador to the Philippines, at an overseas performance in Hong Kong. Within months after they met, the pair moved back to Paris and got married.
“When I first saw her perform, I thought she was very, very pretty. Luckily, we sat next to each other and started talking. Honestly, I was rude to the French woman who invited us, because I was just talking to Isabelle the whole night,” narrated Ambassador Garachon in a separate interview with The Manila Times.
Speaking of her first experience in performing before a Filipino audience, Madame Isabelle said, “It was really something. We know the Filipinos very much already and to share the stage with your talented dancers is a unique experience.
“Alice Reyes knows what she wants and can sometimes be strict. But the atmosphere with her is different—it’s warm compared to the usual stiff environment of classical dance. The dancers are brave, they work a lot, and exercise every day. I really enjoyed this wonderful opportunity,” she concluded.
Cinderella will run at the CCP Main Theater from December 5 to 7. For inquiries, log on to www.ballet.ph or call Ballet Philippines at 551-1003.