#TheaterPH: Ballet Manila's 20th Season Performance - "From Page To Stage"

Ballet Manila Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde has always been passionate about breathing life into storybook characters. The fascination to share tales on toes, sans the usual words, has become a major part of the company’s annual production line-up.

The Story Tellers on toes continues to spread cheer with a grand production filled with love, fantasy and adventure. "We have romance, action, two fairy tales, make that five beautiful stories that we will tell you without saying a single word. The greatest love story of all time and the story of a puppet that wanted to become a real boy. A story about a prince that just so happened to be a bird. A story about an enchanted violin that makes people dance, a story about a brother's quest for his missing sisters, a tale about a brother and a sister getting lost in a forest and encountering a witch who wanted to eat them, and a world premiere celebrating the rebel within us all," said Lisa Macjua-Elizalde. 

This season, Ballet Manila celebrates local culture with Severino Reyes’ "Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang." The next show, Paul Vasterling's "Romeo & Juliet" is their tribute to the classics while Osias Barroso’s "Pinocchio" is the group's holiday offering. Martin Lawrance's "Rebel" is in line with Ballet Manila's Director's Choice International Series, followed by Alan Hineline’s "Hansel and Gretel" as a special show dedicated to their young audience. Lastly, the first “Ballet Manila Choreography Competition” represents this year’s premiere series. 

In "Ang Prinsipe ng Mga Ibon," love conquers all, as this captivating ballet romances its audience with the story of a princess fighting for love amid her father's disapproval. Choreographed by Osias Barroso, with enchanting musical arrangement by Mon Faustino from the music of National Artists. The adventure continues with "Ang Kapatid ng Tatlong Marya", about a young hero’s search for his three bewitched sisters. Ballet Manila Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde choreographs the piece with original music by Joey Ayala. Finally "Ang Mahiwagang Biyulin" explores the mystery behind a magical violin transforming an unkind rich man. Choreographed by Tony Fabella, the story is set by the music of Ryan Cayabyab. 

Lola Basyang was the pen name used by Severino Reyes, the founder and editor of Liwayway magazine. Over 400 stories have been produced since he started writing in 1925. The material used for the production is based on Anvil Publishing editions.  Severino Reyes’ “Tatlong Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” goes onstage at the Aliw Theater on August 21, 22, 28 and 29, at 8:00 p.m. Then continues on August 23 and 30 at 3:00 p.m. 

Paul Vasterling's “Romeo and Juliet” 

The Asian premiere of the unforgettable Shakespeare tragic romance interpreted by Nashville Ballet USA Artistic Director and CEO Paul Vasterling, known for his marvelous ballet translation of Shakespeare plays. 

In an interview with Nashville Arts magazine, Vasterling explained the similarity between Shakespeare and ballet emphasizing that both are forms of expressions that come with rules that need to be followed. "When you are able to work that out and the rules and the feelings become one, it’s magic. It leads to moments that will last forever," he said. Manila Symphony Orchestra with guest conductor Maestro Alexander Vikulov of the Mariinsky Theater will set the music for the passionate dance romance. Paul Vasterling’s “Romeo & Juliet” goes onstage at the Aliw Theater on October 2 & 3 at 8:00 p.m, and October 4 at 3:00 p.m. 

Osias Barroso’s “Pinocchio” 

The stage is set for the world premiere of the best-loved story of Gepetto and his wooden puppet, as choreographed by Ballet Manila Co-Artistic Director Osias Barroso. "Pinocchio" was initially a one-act piece, and was a regular fixture in Ballet Manila's repertoire list. This year the full-length production is made more colorful and exciting with more characters, interesting twists, truly a magical dream brought to life. 

Osias Barroso's “Pinocchio" goes on stage at Aliw Theater on November 27 and 28, December 4 and 5 at 8pm and on November 29 and December 6 at 3pm. 

Martin Lawrance's "Rebel" 

Ballet Manila performs "Rebel" the group's version of the famous "Spartacus" a piece associated with Bolshoi Ballet. London-based choreographer Martin Lawrance of the Richard Alston Dance Company will collaborate with Filipino playwright Floy Quintos, and musical Director Gerard Salonga. "Rebel" the dance drama, will have the 1986 People power revolution as backdrop. Exploring themes of bravery and the struggle for freedom, the spectacular production also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the historical Edsa Revolution. 

Lawrance who is collaborating with Ballet Manila for the second time says, “A true rebel stands up for what they believe in, not necessarily against what's right. They know who they are and do not compromise their individuality or personal opinion for anyone. They are straightforward and honest and they will sure as hell tell it like it is. There is a rebel in all of us!” 

ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga will execute the rich symphonic Khachaturian score. Martin Lawrance's "Rebel" goes onstage at the Aliw Theater on February 19, 20, 26, 27 (2016) at 8:00 p.m. and on February 21 & 28 (2016) at 3pm. 

Alan Hineline’s "Hansel & Gretel” 

In addition to the season's attractions Ballet Manila also presents "Hansel & Gretel," with choreography by Alan Hineline, the Executive Director of Ballet Silicon Valley USA. The one act production is not just an enjoyable tale. It will also introduce children to the enchanting world of ballet. The story follows the forest adventures of Hansel and Gretel leading them to a house made entirely of goodies and sweets. Alan Hineline’s "Hansel & Gretel" goes onstage at Star Theater January 29 &30, 2016 at 7pm and January 31, 2016 at 3pm. 

True to its mission of celebrating the best Filipino artists, Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde hopes to help new artists launch their careers in dance choreography. At stake are cash prizes and the rare opportunity to have their winning work presented by Ballet Manila. With the 1st Annual Ballet Manila Choreography Competition, Ballet Manila marks 2016 with the launch of cutting edge competition for choreographers. 

The "1st Annual Ballet Manila Choreography Competition" is set on March 19, 2016, 8pm at the Aliw Theater. Season subscriptions and tickets for all shows are available via Ticketworld; visit http://www.ticketworld.com.ph, Ticketworld outlets, hotline 891-9999. 

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