Philippine Tatler: Tell us what makes tomorrow evening’s performance special for Filipino audiences?
Lisa Macuja-Elizalde: Tommorow evening, it’s called American Stars Gala because it features dancers from the Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, and our resident American guest artists in Ballet Manila. We have a line-up of classical pas de deux, at the same time, we are backed up by a full ballet company. We will be featuring two premieres by choreographer, George Birkadze – the adagio to the coda of the second act of Swan Lake and the Philippine premiere of Stanton Welch’s choreography of Madame Butterfly. There will be a lot of pieces that got our dancers awards from the recently concluded Jackson International Ballet Competition. So, It’s a really exciting evening; one Ballet highlight after another.
PT: What’s a typical day for a dancer, specially these days you are preparing for a performance?
Hannah Bettes: We’ve just been in and out of studios for rehearsals – so more of an atypical day, really, since we are busy rehearsing on-stage and off.
PT: Have you had a chance to walk around the city?
Hannah Bettes: We haven’t had tons of time yet, however –
Lia Cirio: We’ll have time off on Sunday before we leave, so we will try to visit a beach, hopefully.
PT: What would you consider to be key essentials for a ballet performer?
Junxiong Zhao: I think it is musicality, flexibility, and coordination.
Lia Cirio: I believe it’s a drive – to work hard, to want this career – because it’s difficult. A soul – to project different roles and project the feeling of the piece.
Katherine Barkman: A typical day would be composed of a class, followed by rehearsals for whatever you’re going to perform. The things that are important to me as a dancer would be dedication – you have to be really dedicated to be a dancer because you have to go through the same things every single day. Passion – which follows the former, you really have to love what you do. And lastly, is a sense of selflessness. It’s important you realise the responsibility that you have to share your art on stage. It’s bigger than just yourself.