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Swan Lake, as many would know, is a ballet classic that has proven itself timeless when it comes to audience appeal. Not as many are aware though that it was considered a failure on its initial showing. This ballet about Princess Odette who was turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse eventually became one of the most popular of all ballets. Ballet Manila CEO and Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde was one of those inspired to become the dancer and icon that she is today when she saw Swan Lake with Prima Ballerina Yoko Morishita as the Swan Queen in all her tiny might.

Lisa was once told by Tatiana Udalenkova  that she can never be a Swan Queen given her short stature, particular strengths in dancing, specific style, and stage presence. Tatiana was happy to be proven wrong after watching Lisa perform Swan Lake several years after graduation. In fact, she did the choreography for Acts 2-4 of Ballet Manila’s current restaging of Swan Lake, together with fellow Russian People Artist Sergey Vikulov. The original Lev Ivanov choreography for the “white acts” or the first act was preserved as Lisa shared that Ballet Manila‘s Vaganova training makes it the perfect company to perform a truly world-class rendition of Swan Lake.

The Young Swans

Lisa is now training a younger generation of swans. The dual role of Odette/Odile is probably one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult role a ballerina to play. Lisa explains, “It not only calls for a chameleon-like change in character – but also for extraordinary technical requirements. For Odette, you need to be soft, pliant, and lyrical with an almost painful vulnerability. For Odile, you need legs and arms of steel, a fiery technique, speed, and the ability to transform into evil personified.”

Swan Lake’s story is one that connects with the heartstrings of the family, as it revolves around the universal theme of good triumphing over evil. From romance to the sheer beauty of ballet, it is all here.

Ballet Manila’s re-staging of Swan Lake will feature a new generation of ballerinas and danseurs. Katherine Barkman, Abigail Oliveiro, and Joan Sia, who makes her debut as the black swan, will be alternating the dual role of Odette/Odile, while resident guest artist Joseph Phillips, Elpidio Magat, Romeo Peralta, Rudy de Dios, and Mark Sumaylo will be alternating the role of Prince Siegfried.

To add to the magic, the production will also feature the original score by Peter Tchaikovsky, which will be played live by the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Russian conductor, Maestro Alexander Vikulov of the Mariinsky Theater. The haunting melodies alongside new sets and costumes will definitely make for a magnificent evening.

Swan Lake goes on stage on the following dates: October 7 and October 14 at 6:00 PM and October 8 and October 15 at 3:00 PM.

For more information about the shows, including ticket prices and schedules, you may visit http://www.balletmanila.com.ph or follow Ballet Manila on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Tickets are also available through all TicketWorld outlets. Please call 891-9999 or visit http://www.ticketworld.com.ph for more information. In addition, those who are planning to watch all the shows may take advantage of the company’s Season Subscription Programs, which offer up to 50% discount on ticket prices. For more information, you may visit http://www.ticketworld.com.ph/balletmanila/Online/ and click on ‘View Details’ under ‘Season Subscription Program’.

My Say

More than the excellence in performance which is evident in every production of Ballet Manila, I am awed by the great passion shown by Lisa Macuja-Elizalde in making sure that Filipinos get to enjoy ballet. I am truly glad that watching a world-class act has become within reach. She says she hopes Ballet Manila can inspire young children to work on their dreams. No doubt, she will succeed on that.

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A freelance researcher-writer who has continuously been in such field for more than 10 years. Know more about her here.

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