This Month in BM History: February 2005
In February 2005, Ballet Manila set a challenge for itself that was unheard of in Philippine dance history – to dance two completely different full-length ballets on two consecutive weekends as the finale of its tenth season.
And so the company performed two ballet classics – Carmen on the first weekend and Giselle on the next. It was a sizzler of a double feature, with the themes of passion and forbidden romance firing up these two productions.
What made it even more of a must-watch was that they were headlined by Ballet Manila’s star couple – principal dancers Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Osias Barroso who, by then, had already been performing as a pair for 17 years.
For the two, assuming the characters of Carmen and Don Jose in Carmen and Giselle and Albrecht in Giselle was like putting on second skin, having danced these roles many times before. The chemistry between them had indeed bonded them through many other iconic ballet pairings in their professional lives.
The back-to-back productions were also special, as they were meant to be Barroso’s last performances as Ballet Manila’s principal danseur. When he successfully battled – and survived – vertigo and a mild stroke, the shows gained even more significance, fittingly celebrating the acclaimed “Ballerina’s Prince”.
In her notes as artistic director, Macuja-Elizalde paid tribute to her long-time partner, and also shared the company’s aims for the groundbreaking double feature of Carmen and Giselle: “With these two dramatically different and yet strangely united in death love stories, Ballet Manila hopes to bring the passion, romance and everlasting qualities of deep love and all its accompanying emotions to life.”