Ballet Manila opens 2017 and ends it 21st Performance Season by staging one of the world’s most colorful and enduring ballet pieces—Don Quixote. With the season dubbed as the Revenge of the Classics, the audience has been treated to a wonderful collection of ballet pieces that are truly classic since its start on August 2016. As in the words of Ballet Manila’s CEO and Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, the company went all out for the staging of Don Quixote.
Don Quixote – The Novel
Don Quixote is a Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra in two volumes. It is about the adventures of Alfonso Quixano who loses his sanity by reading too many chivalric romances. He decided to set out in his adventure under the name of Don Quixote de la Mancha with Sancho Panza as his squire in tow. He designates a neighboring farm girl as his lady love Dulcinea without her knowledge, thereby going about in his adventure of reviving chivalry and bringing justice to the world with an imaginary lover in mind.
Don Quixote Ballet
The Don Quixote Ballet is based on the famous novel. Don Quixote is known in the ballet world as one of the most technically challenging pieces ever created, with some of the choreography raising the already high international standards when it first premiered in 1869 at the Tsar’s Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg. It is especially known for its compulsory quick and strong movements, high vertical takeoffs, one arm lifts, quick fouettes, quadruple pirouettes, and Kitri’s signature move, the Plisetskaya head-kick.
Set in Spain, the story tells the tale of Don Quixote, who decides to become a knight and embark on a journey to find Lady Dulcinea, a lover that he has only made up in his head. The ballet places special focus on the love story between Kitri and Basilio, a pair he encounters during his adventures. The production combines great acrobatic feats, lively music, colorful sets and costumes, and a lot of comedic elements.
Alternating for the role of Kitri are Katherine Barkman, Pia Dames, and Dawna Mangahas. Specially for this run, Ballet Manila will bring in Kremlin Ballet Theater star and principal danseur, Mikhail Martynyuk, to play Basilio.
Lisa Macuja-Elizalde Speaks
“Our 21st performance season, Revenge of the Classics, has allowed us to mark so many milestones not just for Ballet Manila, but for the country as well,” says Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, Ballet Manila’s CEO and Artistic Director. “Therefore, we only find it fitting to close it with a true classic—one that’s opulent, captivatingly elaborate, and serves as a true testament to the strength, passion, and skills of our dancers, who are all trained in the Vaganova Academy Style of dancing.”
She continues, “Don Quixote is kind of like my signature ballet. It’s the ballet that really brought me to the spotlight, and Kitri is my most performed role. I’m so excited for this production because I feel like this is me handing down the role to Ballet Manila’s next generation of principal dancers.”
Lisa adds that the public should also watch out for the ballet’s production elements. “We are revamping some elements of our staging from previous ones. We are going all out with stage designs, props, and costumes. We’re not holding back for Don Quixote. Everyone should really watch out for it.”
It is not very often that Filipinos get the chance to watch timeless ballet classic performances such as Don Quixote. I always welcome the chance to expose my family to all forms of art as I know it will widen our appreciation for life. Don’t miss this chance. Ballet Manila’s Don Quixote happens on February 24 and 25, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. and on February 26, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. at Aliw Theater.
About Ballet Manila
Founded in 1995 by Prima Ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Osias Barroso, Ballet Manila is the country’s premier classical dance company. With the mission of connecting both ballet and the people, the company, which puts education at the forefront of its priorities, is well-known as the only Philippine dance company to adopt and strictly adhere to the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet style of dancing, which is well-regarded the world over as the most disciplined and technically-superior style. The company currently has 65 artists under its wing, all of whom have been trained in the Vaganova Academy style of dancing. The company boasts of a solid repertoire that consists of some of the most technically challenging and timeless ballet favorites.