After a much-needed break, Ballet Manila Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde takes center stage in BM 21 tonight at Aliw Theater. The concert gala ends its current performance season as it marks a new and exciting season for Ballet Manila.
With pieces handpicked by the Filipina Prima Ballerina herself, BM 21 honors the group’s late artistic director Eric Cruz, with a restaging of his enthralling and dramatic masterpiece, “Carmen.”
“‘Carmen’ is a ballet that I feel I can still perform well at 51. It is a role that came quite late in my career and interestingly enough I debuted in 20 years ago,” Macuja enthused.
BM 21 is also a testament to the group’s unrivaled discipline and versatility, being the only company in the Philippines trained in the Russian Vaganova method.
Macuja explained, “The ballet technique was devised by Russian dancer Agrippina Vaganova in the 1800s. Vaganova involves the whole body in every movement, with equal attention paid to the upper body, legs and feet. This approach increases consciousness of the body, creating a harmony of movement.”
The ballerinas will highlight the classical style of the female corps de ballet with “Kingdom of the Shades,” an excerpt from La Bayadere. As the male dancers will unleash their contemporary and hip moves in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s “Bloom.”
“I programmed BM 21 to show-off a different side of the company and at the same time highlight our Russian Vaganova training,” Macuja concluded.