This Month in BM History: July 2010
Owing to her Russian roots in ballet, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde readily agreed to bring in Today’s Stars of the Russian Ballet, the Philippine leg of what was to be an Asian tour, in 2010.
Ballet Manila partnered with the newly formed Society for Cultural Enrichment to co-present the one-night-only show scheduled on July 10 at Aliw Theater. In engaging in such collaborations, the group aimed to contribute to art and cultural appreciation and to audience development among Filipinos.
Today’s Stars of the Russian Ballet featured ten artists affiliated with companies in various countries – Jurgita Dronina, principal dancer, Swedish Royal Ballet and Dutch National Ballet; Davit Galstyan, soloist, Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse, France; Yana Selina and Filipp Stepin, soloists, Mariinsky Ballet, St. Petersburg; Mikhail Lobukhin, principal dancer, Bolshoi Theatre Ballet Company; Viktoriya Ananyan and Alexander Zhembrovskyy, soloists, Dutch National Ballet, Amsterdam; Maria Mishina and Dmitry Zagrebin, soloists, Bolshoi Ballet, Moscow; and Yeliza Cheprasova, coryphee, Mariinsky Ballet, St. Petersburg.
The concert gala featured pas de deux from such classical ballets as Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Le Corsaire and Don Quixote, as well as the Asian premiere of two choreographies by famed Dutch choreographer Hans Van Manen.
Writing in her director’s notes, Macuja-Elizalde commented: “One can easily spot a Russian-trained dancer when watching a classical ballet performance. There is a more regal carriage of the arms, inclination of the head, epaulment or angle of the shoulders and the neck, 180-degree turn-out of the legs in the hip socket, clean, fluid line, musical phrasing and the list can go on and on…”
These qualities the Philippine audience got to see in Today’s Stars of the Russian Ballet. Reviewing the show, critic Rosalinda L. Orosa said in the Philippine Star: “The dancers displayed an impeccably magnificent technique. The ballerinas conveyed airy lightness and exquisite graces, their arms in delicate fluid motion, heads in strikingly beautiful angles… The danseurs were similarly superb. The grand jetés en tournant (barrel turns) and tours en l’air, both defying gravity, as also the dizzying, multiple pirouettes were fascinatingly light, bouyant, and incredibly controlled.”
Critic Marge C. Enriquez, in her own review in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, remarked how Ballet Manila artists held their own in such pieces as Tony Fabella’s Dancing to Czerny and Augustus “Bam” Damian’s Reconfigured and Rebel. “We were proud on seeing Filipino dancers presenting original works that highlighted their strengths. Their wise choice of repertoire made the audience aware that our choreographers Tony Fabella and Augusts Damian III were truly world-class.”
Enriquez described the show as “an evening of suspended leaps, endless turns, feathery footwork and spectacular lifts galore.”