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Starting out strong

Ballet Manila opens 2017 with a classic masterpiece

Opening the year in true Ballet Manila fashion, the country’s premier classical dance company is staging one of the world’s most colorful and enduring ballet pieces, Don Quixote.
Happening on February 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. and on February 26 at 3 p.m. at Aliw Theater, Don Quixote in the ballet world is known as one of the most technically challenging pieces ever created.
Some of its choreography raised the already high international standards when it first premiered in 1869 at the Tsar’s Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg. It is especially known for its compulsory quick and strong movements, high vertical takeoffs, one arm lifts, quick fouettes, quadruple pirouettes and Kitri’s signature move, the Plisetskaya head-kick.
Don Quixote is the closing act for Ballet Manila’s 21st performance season.
Set in Spain, the story tells the tale of Don Quixote, who decides to become a knight and embark on a journey to find Lady Dulcinea, a lover that he has only made up in his head. The ballet places special focus on the love story between Kitri and Basilio, a pair he encounters during his adventures. The production combines great acrobatic feats, lively music, colorful sets and costumes, and a lot of comedic elements.
Specially for this run, Ballet Manila will bring in Kremlin Ballet Theater star and principal danseur Mikhail Martynyuk to play Basilio.
“Our 21st performance season, Revenge of the Classics, has allowed us to mark so many milestones not just for Ballet Manila, but for the country as well,” says Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, Ballet Manila’s CEO and artistic director. “Therefore, we only find it fitting to close it with a true classic — one that’s opulent, captivatingly elaborate, and serves as a true testament to the strength, passion and skills of our dancers, who are all trained in the Vaganova Academy Style of dancing.”
She continues, “Don Quixote is kind of like my signature ballet. It’s the ballet that really brought me to the spotlight, and Kitri is my most performed role. I’m so excited for this production because I feel like this is me handing down the role to Ballet Manila’s next generation of principal dancers.”
Alternating for the role of Kitri are Katherine Barkman, Pia Dames and Dawna Mangahas, who will be partnered by Martynyuk.
Lisa adds that the public should also watch out for the ballet’s production elements. “We are revamping some elements of our staging from previous ones. We are going all out with stage designs, props and costumes. We’re not holding back for Don Quixote. Everyone should really watch out for it.”
Don Quixote is co-presented by the Manila Broadcasting Co., Star City and Aliw Theater. Other sponsors include ACS Manufacturing Corp., First United Corp., Papa John’s Pizza, Hot Star Chicken, Oasis Paco Park Hotel, Microtel Wyndham Hotels, Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas, City Garden Suites Malate, Island Rose and Philcom. Official ride partner is Grab Philippines.
To learn more about it, visit or follow Ballet Manila on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tickets are also available through all Ticketworld outlets. Please call 891-9999 or visit, for more information.

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