Shoe talk with Ballet Manila's Cinderellas (Third of three parts)

Shoe talk with Ballet Manila's Cinderellas (Third of three parts)

Shoes are at the core of the magical tale that is Cinderella. For when the soot-stained girl – transformed for a night into a princess by her fairy godmother – flees the grand ball before the stroke of midnight, she unexpectedly leaves behind one of her glass slippers.

Thus begins an exhaustive search for its rightful owner throughout the kingdom. When it fits perfectly on Cinderella's foot, no matter how unlikely a candidate she may be, it confirms to the prince that he has at last found his beloved.

Ballet Manila's latest interpretation of the popular story uses pointe shoes instead of glass slippers, but all the classic elements remain in this pre-holiday spectacle. Featuring the world premiere of Lisa Macuja-Elizalde's first major choreography, as assisted by Osias Barroso, it casts KatherineBarkman, Dawna Reign Mangahas and Abigail Oliveiro in the lead role.

Before the curtains rise on Cinderella, we talk with the three ballerinas about a most fitting topic – what else but shoes!

Dawna Reign Mangahas: Pointe shoe hoarder

awna likes using Gaynor Minden pointe shoes because she gets to use them again and again. Photo by Giselle P. Kasilag

What’s your shoe size?

My regular shoe size is 9. My pointe shoe size is 8. I use the brand Gaynor Minden.

Aside from pointe shoes, what other kinds of shoes do you own?

Flip-flops, sneakers, Merrell sandals for hiking. I have flats and heels but I barely use them. I’m not really a shoe person.

What's the most expensive pair of shoes that you've ever bought?

I bought my Merrell shoes for P5,000. My dad owns a similar pair and he suggested that I buy the one for ladies. I have bunions kasi and wearing closed shoes can be painful. I’m happy with this pair because it’s comfortable and durable.

Can you share with us a memorable shoe-related experience?

When I was 11 years old, I had this pair of wedge shoes na four-inches high. It was my super favorite. When I went to Australia on a competition, I brought it with me and I wore it everywhere -- even just to the grocery. Sabi ng mga kasama ko, magpalit ako ng shoes kasi sa grocery lang naman. (My companions told me to change shoes because we were just going to the grocery.) But I wore it anyway. Ha ha.

Do you have a dream shoe purchase?

I used to have one. It was the Adidas Superstar. It’s white, simple lang, like sneakers, madaling i-terno (easy to pair) with casual wear. Kaya lang lahat na bumili ng gan’un, kaya hindi na ko bumili. At saka, ang mahal kasi! (But everyone started buying it, so I didn’t buy anymore. And besides, it’s really expensive!)

What do you do with your old pointe shoes?

I have all my pointe shoes since I joined Ballet Manila in 2005! Nakatambak sa bahay. Meron pa sa probinsiya, sa Nueva Ecija. Nasasayangan kasi ako, ayokong itapon. (It’s all piled up in my house. I also keep some of them in the province, in Nueva Ecija. I feel it’s such a waste to just throw them away, so I don’t. But I get to recycle them. Unlike other kinds of pointe shoes made of cardboard, Gaynor-Minden uses plastic that makes it durable. After some time, puwede ko na ulit isuot (I can wear them again.)

What kind of shoes would you advise Cinderella to wear instead of glass slippers?

She should wear heels na wedge para comfortable!

Lisa Macuja-Elizalde’s Cinderella opens on November 25, 8 p.m., at Aliw Theater. Succeeding shows will be on November 26 and December 3 at 8 p.m. and on November 27 and December 4 at 3 p.m. For tickets and inquiries, call Ticketworld at 891-9999 or visit

Dawna Reign Mangahas dances the title role in Lisa Macuja-Elizalde’s Cinderella

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