Ballet Manila debuts in Malaysia

Ballet Manila debuts in Malaysia

Principal dancers Mark Sumaylo and Abigail Oliveiro in Eric V. Cruz’s Carmen. Photo by Giselle P. Kasilag

Ballet Manila makes its debut in Malaysia this month, with two performances scheduled in the national capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Dubbed as Tour de Force, the shows will be held on September 21, 8 p.m. and September 22, 2 p.m., at Pentas 1 of the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre.

Aside from Carmen by Eric V. Cruz, Tour de Force will also feature Pas D’Action from La Bayadere Act 2, Reve by Ernest Mandap, Arachnida and Sayaw sa Pamlang by Agnes Locsin, and Sotto Voce and El Adwa by Augustus “Bam” Damian III.

Principal dancers Romeo Peralta and Joan Emery Sia in Bam Damian’s El Adwa. Photo by Giselle P. Kasilag

“The Malaysian audiences are ready for a mixed program of classics, neo-classics and modern ballet pieces. They are in for a special treat,” promises Ballet Manila artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde who was previously in the Southeast Asian country as a jury member in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The shows are being produced by former Ballet Manila artists Alfren Salgado and Violet Hong, now both based in Kuala Lumpur and running DanceLink Performing Arts, and Lu Wit Chin of City Ballet Academy.

Malaysian ballerinas from the two organizations, as well as other dance schools (Asia Ballet Academy,  Aurora School of Dance, Dance Space Sdn. Bhd., Kre Art Dance Theatre, Sandance Ballet Studio and Sri Wilayah Ballet Centre), will also have a special participation in Tour de Force. They will form the corps de ballet for Carmen.

Ballet Manila will perform a mixed program of classics, neo-classics and modern pieces in Kuala Lumpur.

“I feel very proud of BM alumni Alfren and Violet. When BM was invited to dance in KL, of course, I supported this wholeheartedly,” says Macuja-Elizalde who will also be holding four master classes there.

She stresses that having a performance tour abroad in a season is important, particularly as exposure for Ballet Manila and its dancers and in bridging audiences through dance.

Last year, Ballet Manila went to Israel – also for the first time – to perform Gerardo Francisco’s full-length choreography, Ibong Adarna, at the Karmiel Dance Festival. 

Just last month, Ballet Manila co-artistic director Osias Barroso brought five dancers to Taiwan for a performance with the Zhongli Youth Ballet for its school recital.

“I am more and more convinced that BM is really going global,” enthuses Macuja-Elizalde. “The fact that we had three Australians, 17 Taiwanese and a Japanese student in our July intensive program proves that with our Vaganova Method, we can go global with our reach.”

Aside from intensive programs held in Ballet Manila’s studios in Pasay and in Quezon City, Macuja-Elizalde and Barroso have conducted classes abroad, including in Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Korea.

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