THREE MONTHS after a fire ravaged the Star City complex destroying the Aliw and Star Theaters which was Ballet Manila’s home in the process, the dance company continues undaunted with the rest of the performances in its 24th season.
“You cannot kill the fighter in me,” Ballet Manila CEO and artistic director Lisa Macuja Elizalde said about the decision to showcase Sleeping Beauty, the last installment of the “Princess Trilogy” which she choreographed. “I decided that was the best way to get out of this rut that I was in,” she said at last week’s press conference at the Ballet Manila studio 2 in Pasay City.
Originally scheduled for December 2019 at the Star Theater, the show will instead have performances on Jan. 18 and 19 at the Newport Performing Arts Theater in Resorts World Manila, Pasay City.
The ballet by Ivan Vsevolozhsky and Marius Petipa, set to music by Peter Tchaikovsky, has been modified by shortening its running time and removing its divertissements.
In the ballet, Princess Aurora is cursed by the evil fairy Maleficent to fall into a deep death-like sleep, after pricking her finger on a spindle on her 16th birthday. She can only be awakened by true love’s kiss.
Co-choreographed by Osias Barroso, Ballet Manila’s version will introduce new characters such as the Keeper of the Golden Plates, as well as have guest appearances by princesses Cinderella and Snow White and their princes.
The Newport Performing Arts Theater’s giant LED screen will be used to project backdrops, and the production will have minimal sets and props.
“You have to come to the show to find out how it works,” Ms. Macuja Elizalde said.
“All our subscribers and ticket holders for the previous productions in Aliw Theater, we accommodate them with a better seat in the Newport [Performing Arts] Theater. We will do our very best to make them comfortable and make them loyal to Ballet Manila,” she told BusinessWorld.
Playing the role of Princess Aurora is principal dancer Jasmine Pia Dames and fellow principal dancer Romeo Peralta plays Prince Phillip. Also performing are Mark Sumaylo, Rissa May Camaclang, Joan Sia, Gerardo Francisco, Rafael Perez, Alvin Dictado, Shaira Comeros, and Emma Harris.
Ms. Macuja Elizalde admitted that it was difficult to accept that they had to take chances and cut costs to continue with the rest of the 24th season after the fire in Star City.
“We take everything one day at a time. One production at a time. The beauty of it was that we were able to reach out to audiences that we would normally do not get in Aliw Theater and Star Theater,” she said, adding that they have performed in state universities and at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) since the disaster.
The 24th season’s final shows, La Traviata and Carmina Burana, will be staged at the Samsung Hall at SM Aura Premier in BGC, Taguig City, on March 7 and 8.
“We’re going to keep the production manageable and simple. We’re going to let go of the huge theatrics that we normally do in Aliw Theater,” Ms. Macuja Elizalde said.
She noted that the rest of the season is still “in the making.”
“At the moment, we are opening our 25th season with a silver gala in the CCP Main Theater on July 17 and then we do a national tour of Ibong Adarna by 2019 TOYM awardee Gerardo G. Francisco, Jr.,” she said.
Ms. Macuja Elizalde noted that the upcoming season will include two classical ballets and “three other productions.”
“It will depend on whether or not we are really able to open in Aliw Theater in October 2020 as we are now planning to do,” she said.
For tickets to Sleeping Beauty, visit TicketWorld at (www.ticketworld.com.ph, 8891-9999). For more information, visit balletmanila.com.ph/ or www.facebook.com/BalletManilaOfficial/. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman