Lisa Macuja plays the choreographer in Snow White

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Snow White
Presented by Ballet Manila
Nov. 25 and 26, Dec. 2 and 3
Aliw Theater, CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City

By Nickky F.P. De Guzman,

LISA MACUJA’S choreography work for last year’s Cinderella was just a warm up. Now, the prima ballerina, CEO, and artistic director of Ballet Manila heats it up a little bit more with her version of Snow White, which will run at the Aliw Theater on Nov. 25, 26 and Dec. 2 and 3.

This is the classic Brothers Grimm version rather than Disney’s, a conscious decision she made in order to highlight the power of storytelling. After all, ballerinas are “storytellers on toes,” she said.

Always a prima ballerina at heart, Ms. Macuja has been slowly losing her insecurities as a choreographer. “I now understand when choreographers say that they get inspiration from the dancers they work with. That was the case with Cinderella, and now, with Snow White,” she said.

Thanks to the helping hands (and feet) of Ballet Manila’s dancers and their comments — in addition with the help of Ballet Master Osias Barroso — and the company’s mastery of the Vaganova technique (a Russian ballet training system), Snow White promises to be a magical show for everyone.

The show’s set is by actor turned designer Mio Infante, who has “talked about making mushrooms the main feature in the forest. There will be so many dynamic elements on stage like a moving mirror, as well as animal figures. Popular nursery rhymes will also be used in the music,” Ms. Macuja said of her upcoming show.

The music will be arranged by Von De Guzman while Ballet Manila’s longtime costume designer, Michael Miguel, is again on board.

Asked about her fascination with fairy tales as ballet, Ms. Macuja said:

“My calling has always been to become a classical ballerina — nothing else. First, I believe in sticking to what you know, and I know my classical ballets very well. I have a wealth of classical ballet steps in my dancer’s vocabulary. If you think about it, the classical ballets are all fairy tales, or at least stories, that have come to life in dance form.”

With Snow White, Ms. Macuja guarantees that each member of the audience will get his or her fill of pure magic, romance, and fantasy. The audience can only expect the highest quality of dancing as well from the country’s youngest ballet company.

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