When in Manila, Nothing beats learning from the expert. When it comes to classical ballet, no one could ever surpass the achievements of Lisa Macuja- Elizalde.
Lisa started taking lessons in ballet at age 8. She later become a scholar at the Vaganova Choreographic Institute also known as the Academy of Russian Ballet at Saint Petersburg, Russia. She is the first foreigner to join Russia’s Kirov Ballet. She was the first artist-in-residence of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and in 1995 and established her very own company, Ballet Manila. The company recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.
In 2014, Lisa celebrated 30 graceful years of stunning ballet performances. She has happily retired from performing and is now focused on mentoring future ballerinas as Directress of the School of Ballet Manila. Lisa’s school is the only Philippine ballet school directly associated with the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia.
“What makes us different from other companies is our commitment to the highest standards of classical ballet based on our Russian Vaganova roots,” Lisa explains.
One of the main training techniques of classical ballet, the distinct characteristic of this style is the ballerina’s flexible shoulder motion as each step is executed. Other dancers simply move with “square” shoulders.
“The Vaganova method involves the entire body. Arms, legs and torso move in perfect harmony. Dancers trained by this method jump higher and do powerful turns. The technique require dancers to remain in the air for a long time, as if they are floating,” she said.
If your children are showing interest in dance, why not send them to ballet classes during the summer vacation? Ballet Manila offers several novel and fun programs for young and talented dancers. Apart from the basics of the dance art, the classes follow a holistic approach by including fun activities for a more engaging summer endeavor.
For example, apart from ballet techniques taught in the baby ballet class, the students learn to play musical instruments and create props using fabrics. The intensive dance exercises in the intermediate class is combined with street dance, yoga and pilates. There will also be lectures on injury prevention, film screening about ballet and inter-active workshops with theater artists.
Read on to see the classes taught by Lisa Macuja- Elizalde herself!