In 1984, Lisa Macuja (fifth from left) graduated at the top of her class from the Leningrad Choreographic Institute in Russia under the tutelage of her mentor Tatiana Udalenkova (center). CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Ballet Manila
Lisa Macuja celebrates the classics in 50th birthday concert
INQUIRER.net / 03:37 AM September 13, 2014
MANILA, Philippines—With a grateful heart, prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde presents a very special show to mark two significant milestones in her life – her 50th birthday and her 30th anniversary as a professional ballerina.
“Gold: Lisa Macuja – A Truly Classical Concert” unfolds on October 4, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., at Aliw Theater, CCP Complex, Pasay City. It is presented by Ballet Manila, Manila Broadcasting Company and Aliw Theater, with Island Rose, Ralph’s Wines and Spirits and Magnolia Purewater, The Official Water of the PBA.
“Turning 50 is such an auspicious birthday and it comes at a time when I am fortunately in the extended twilight of my career. Gold is my way of expressing gratitude for a life full of blessings and a three-decade career of active dancing,” says Macuja-Elizalde.
Gold is a celebration of the ballerina’s classical roots. The one-night-only concert will feature Macuja-Elizalde performing in Marius Petipa’s Sleeping Beauty Divertissement, famous for the Rose Adagio and the Wedding Pas de Deux, with Kremlin Ballet principal danseur Mikhail Martynyuk as Prince Desire.
She will also dance Sergey Vikulov’s Fantasy Overture from Romeo and Juliet, opposite Ballet Manila principal dancer Rudy De Dios. Both numbers are set to the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Performances will also be rendered by guest artists Ballet Manila, Philippine Madrigal Singers and ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga who is also the show’s musical director. Roxanne Lapus directs.
“Gold is about showcasing the purity of the classics. Classical ballet is still the most difficult form of dance and I am very blessed to still be able to go on pointe and do this kind of dancing. I am making it extra special with an orchestra as dancing to a live orchestra is still the best way to present the classics,” says Macuja-Elizalde.
About the award-winning Madrigals Singers, she notes that she has always wanted to work with the group and had no back-up plan had they not been available in October. “The Madz is a perfect choice because classical music is part of their repertoire – and also because they also turned 50 last year,” she points out.
After studying at the Vaganova Choreographic Institute in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Russia, Macuja-Elizalde graduated at the top of her class in 1984. She went on to become a soloist with the famed Kirov Ballet, where she would get to dance her favorite role as Kitri in Don Quixote and the title role in Giselle.
In 1986, Macuja decided to return home. As a Philippine-based ballerina, she danced with the country’s top ballet companies while also establishing herself as an international guest artist.
In 1995, she co-founded Ballet Manila with long-time dance partner Osias Barroso and ten other young dancers. The group, which will turn twenty next year, remains a firm proponent of classical ballet and has diversified its repertoire to include modern choreography and original Filipino productions – but all anchored on the Russian Vaganova technique.
The prima ballerina is chronicling the highlights of her 30-year career in The Road to Gold series which appears on her website www.lisamacuja.com. The round-up is also a countdown to “Gold: Lisa Macuja – A Truly Classical Concert.”
“These are wonderful memories that continue to remind me to be humble, to be grateful and, most of all, to be proud to be a Filipina,” she says.
Tickets to “Gold: Lisa Macuja – A Truly Classical Concert” are available at Ticketworld, 891-9999 or www.ticketworld.com.ph. For inquiries, please call Ballet Manila at 525-5967.