Ballet Manila is the Philippines leading classical dance company. Established in February 1995 by 12 young dancers led by Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Osias Barroso with the guidance of Eric V. Cruz, the ultimate goal is to “bring ballet to the people and people to the ballet”.
Training and education are the foremost priorities of Ballet Manila. Principals, soloists, and company members receive professional training from Ballet Manila mentors Macuja-Elizalde and Barroso. Visiting teachers from the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet (formerly Leningrad Choreographic Institute) in St. Petersburg also continue to drill the company in the highly rigorous Russian method of classical ballet.
With a present corps of 65 artists, the company has a solid repertoire of timeless favorites Swan Lake, Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Giselle, La Bayadere, Romeo and Juliet, Carmen and Le Corsaire. Ballet Manila also performs contemporary pieces created by the country’s top choreographers like Reconfigured by Bam Damian, Arachnida by Agnes Locsin, Reve by Ernest Mandap, and Love Beyond Goodbye by Manuel Molina, to name a few.
The company’s original productions, notably Tatlong Kuwento ni Lola Basyang, its sequel, Tatlo Pang Kuwento ni Lola Basyang, and Alamat: Si Sibol at Si Gunaw which use local material, music, choreography, and design have wowed local audiences and have become true Filipino ballet classics.
The company also operates The School of Ballet Manila – the only school in the Philippines with direct links to the Russian Ballet Academy of St. Petersburg. It trains young dancers in the highest standards of classical ballet, based on the rigorous Vaganova method. The program is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding and application of professional dance technique in a professional company setting while enhancing their overall artistry.
Ballet Manila’s unique tie-up with Manila Broadcasting Company has produced the highly successful concert series, Ballet, and Ballads, which combines the wide appeal of pop songs with the magic of classical dance. This series has been brought to schools and key venues in the provinces and in Metro Manila and presented as part of Ballet Manila’s performance season. Meanwhile, at Star City, park-goers are treated to free ballet concerts on weekends as part of Ballet Manila’s promise to bring ballet closer to the hearts of the masses.
Since its initial years, Ballet Manila has been fielding its Vaganova-trained dancers in international ballet tilts. These include the Asia Pacific International Ballet Competitions, the Helsinki International Ballet Competition, the Beijing International Ballet Competition, and the Asian Grand Prix IBC where many of their participants have made it either to the semi-finals or finals and some even achieving medal status.
From 2012-2014, Ballet Manila has been consistently awarded Best Classical Dance Company by the Aliw Awards, one of the most prestigious award-giving bodies in the Philippine entertainment industry.
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