Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. The animated musical fantasy version from Walt Disney though has the most significant cultural impact as evidenced by the highly commercialized undertakings that came after its huge success. The characters of the story are seen over and over again in theme parks, product branding, and even video games. Several stage plays were also mounted in Broadway either using the Grimm or Disney version.
After the success of Ballet Manila’s “Cinderella”, “Snow White” was regarded simply as “The Next One” for prima ballerina-turned-choreographer Lisa Macuja-Elizalde. This December, it became the second full-fledged masterpiece from the Prima Ballerina herself and marked its world premiere in the 22nd performance season, “Flights of Fantasy.” As expected, it was received with so much warmth and praise by the audience and cannot be called anything else but a success.
For me, there are 3 main reasons why:
Universally Popular Theme
When good triumphs over evil at the end of a show, it provides the audience a good feeling and a sense of satisfaction. This is especially so in fairy tales such as Snow White where young children are expected to be among those watching. For parents like me, it is like having our kids entertained while teaching them basic lessons in goodness without having to force it. The smiles on the adults’ faces as they probably reminisce their childhood , the awe on the young girls’ eyes as they probably imagine themselves dancing on stage, and the excitement of young boys in meeting the dwarfs up close – these show that the story of Snow White is universal and popular in any age group.
Exceptional Performers and Production Value
Ballet Manila is known for its Vaganova style of ballet dancing that is equivalent to rigid discipline and technical superiority. With its mission of connecting both ballet and the people, the company, which puts education at the forefront of its priorities, it has been aggressive in mounting shows that Filipinos can readily identify with. This it does without sacrificing its prestigious style. Ballet Manila’s Snow White is a feast for the senses with its rich production value including stage props, lighting, costumes, and music plus the exceptional dancing abilities of all performers from support to the main stars.
Genuine Passion for Ballet
I have never heard someone speak more eloquently and passionately about ballet than Ballet Manila’s Artistic Director and CEO Lisa Macuja-Elizalde. The whole company under her leadership does not wait for things to happen. They mount excellent productions and reach out to the audience by promoting the shows in public places such as malls or even the streets. They always make it a point to engage the people watching and make them feel they are part of what’s going on. These are things we cannot do just because we have to. These are things that we do because we love what we are doing. It is so clear that Lisa and her group truly love ballet and it is so hard not to feel the same way when they share their passion with so much enthusiasm
I count myself very lucky to have had the privilege of watching numerous Ballet Manila productions. Ballet Manila’s Snow White is extraordinarily special as I was able to watch it with my family and friends. Now they know what it feels to experience the magic of watching a story told through dance.