This Month in BM History: May 2013
Ballet Manila has had close links with South Korea for quite some time, with many dancers from there joining the company in its various seasons. The ties have been nurtured as visiting groups have held joint performances with BM in the Philippines.
On May 4, 2013, Ballet Manila presented an International Friendship Gala with the Choi So Bin Ballet Company of South Korea. It showcased Carmen, with artistic director Choi So Bin choreographing and starring in the familiar piece where ambition, love, obsession and betrayal come into play.
BM artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, for her part, danced together with principal dancer Rudy de Dios in The Last Poem. A choreography by Augustus “Bam” Damian, it tells the story of a husband who honors his wife’s dying wish for him to read to her her favorite poem.
Coincidentally, both Choi and Macuja-Elizalde share Russian roots in their respective dancing careers. The former was the first Korean to receive a diploma degree in Ballet from the Moscow National Ballet School and later made her debut at the Moscow Bolshoi Theater, also a first for South Korean performer.
The latter, meanwhile, graduated at the top of her class from the Vaganova Choreographic Institute and then became the first Filipino and first foreigner to be invited to join the Kirov Ballet.
Another thing in common between them is that their companies are known to be adept in both the classics and contemporary dance.
The collaboration between their two companies was made possible with the support of Mr. Moon Hyung Suk, executive secretary of IOV Asia.
In the one-night-only performance, Choi So Bin also presented – aside from Carmen – excerpts from Le Corsaire and the Basilio Variaiton from Don Quixote.
Ballet Manila danced Sotto Voce, Fairy Doll, the Acteon Variation from Diane et Acteon, the Black Swan Variation from Swan Lake, the Romeo and Juliet Balcony Scene, Grand Pas Classique, The Last Poem and Reconfigured.