#TheaterPH - Ballet Manila presents Paul Vasterling's Romeo and Juliet

The dance of powerful love sizzles as Ballet Manila unveils Paul Vasterling's “Romeo and Juliet”, the second offering of the company’s 20th performance season.

The Artistic Director and CEO of Nashville Ballet USA, Paul Vasterling is  known for his powerful rendition of Shakespeare’s works.  His interest in 'Romeo and Juliet" dates back to his teens when he first saw the 1977 movie  "Turning Point' starring Mikhail Baryshnikov. He remembers being captivated by the "Romeo & Juliet"  balcony pas de deux danced by Baryshnikov and Leslie Brown.  He described it as one of the most beautiful performances he has ever witnessed. A year after watching the movie he followed his heart and nurtured his love for ballet.

Paul Vasterling will be in Manila to personally oversee the Manila staging; which also happens to be its Asian premiere.  For the Ballet Manila production, he leaves no stone unturned in recreating the unforgettable tale of immortal love.  Along with his interpretative choreography is the powerful musical score by Prokofiev as interpreted by The Manila Symphony Orchestra with  Maestro Alexander Vikulov of the Mariinsky Theater as guest conductor.

Vasterling’s  contemporary approach  will transport the audience  to the streets of  Verona, the site of the endless brawls between feuding families, the influential Capulets and Montagues.  With touches from the Franco Zefferelli film,  the grandeur is defined by the expansive set, authentic period costumes and passionate renditions of  love, power and death.

Following the season's “From Page to Stage” theme, "Romeo and Juliet" is the explosive classical entry to Ballet Manila's line-up of shows based on literary classics.

Aside from the tribute to immortal love, the audience will also have their share of suspense with the action packed fight scenes.  Unlike typical theatrical duels, there is no shouting or special effects. The audience will be treated to a thrilling match of graceful gestures and leaps, along with a symphony of flying swords.  

Fresh from their victory at the Asian Grand Prix in Hong Kong, Lisa proudly shared that the top winners in the international competition will be playing the role of Juliet. 

Katherine Barkman the 2015 Asian Grand Prix winner will play Juliet with silver medalist Abigail Oliveiro and bronze medalist Joan Sia as her alternates. Playing Romeo are Rudy de Dedios (opposite Katherine Barkman), Brian Williamson (opposite Abigail Oliveiro), and Elpido Magait (opposte Joan Sia). 

After officially hanging up her pointe shoes last year, Lisa dons them once again as she portrays Juliet's mother,  Lady Capulet opposite Nonoy Froilan who plays Lord Capulet.  

Although she has announced her retirement Ms. Macuja will continue to support Ballet Manila's performances and this includes joining the dancers for some shows. "My life is all about ballet and I will continue to dance roles that I feel I’m comfortable with," she said. 

"Romeo and Juliet"  will also be a reunion of sorts, since Lisa will be dancing with Nonoy Froilan, one of the country's premier danseurs.  

"Nonoy Froilan was my first Albercht when i arrived from Russia in 1986. He was my first Basilio, Prince Sigfried, Nutracker Prince, Colas - together we danced Norman Walker's 'Summer's End", Basilio's "Oriental Fantasy' and many more adagios and pas de deux. We competed in Jackson together, we toured the Philippines together and for our Ballet Manila production of "Romeo and Juliet' in 2001,  he was Lord Capulet to my Juliet in the Sergey Vikulov's full length version.  I can't wait to dance with him again in the Asian premiere of Paul Vasterling's version" 

The show is co-presented by Manila Broadcasting Company, Aliw Theater and Star City.  Other sponsors are ACS Manufacturing, First United Travel, Papa John’s Pizza, Manang’s Chicken, Empire Salon, Slimmer’s World, Island Rose, Oasis Paco Park Hotel, Ramada Manila Hotel, and whatshappening.com.ph.

"Romeo and Juliet" goes onstage on October 2 and 3, 8:00 p.m. and October 4, 3pm at the Aliw Theater in Pasay City. Tickets are available at all Ticketworld outlets, online at www.ticketworld.com.ph, or call 891 9999.   

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