This Month in BM History: October 1995
In its very first year, Ballet Manila was practically everywhere. As a touring ensemble, the company traveled all over the Philippines and performed in numerous non-traditional venues and even on makeshift stages.
In October 1995, Ballet Manila also danced at an unconventional hour – at 12 high noon!
That was when the group was the featured guest at the Development Bank of the Philippines’ A Cultural Treat at Lunchtime – a monthly social gathering where the bank’s officers mingled with rank-and-file employees.
Writing about the experience in her column in Malaya, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde – then BM’s principal dancer – recalls the challenges of conforming to a space not really meant for ballet. That was particularly true when they performed the opening number, Ianne Damian’s Mosquerade inspired by the traditional wedding dance of MIndanao, featuring all 12 dancers of the months-old company.
“…The most immediate concern was the low ceiling and the danger of an overhead lift causing the lifted ballerina to bump her head. Happily, the worst hit was my fan that got distorted when I automatically raised my arm (out of habit) during the final lift,” Lisa wrote.
Still, the BM pioneers enjoyed dancing their mixed repertoire of classics and neo-classics and more important, the crowd responded to them in kind. The hour may have been out of the ordinary, but the performance was delivered with the same gusto as any evening or matinee performance.
Lisa would relate: “The Don Quixote Pas De Deux, an exciting BM banner piece with its Spanish bravura flair and technical trademarks was immediately followed by a last dance by the entire cast that made for a rousing finale.”