Ballerina For a Day with Ms. Lisa Macuja + Ballet Manila's Revenge of the Classics

Okay guys, let me tell you a secret: I was once a ballerina! I know mukhang wala akong ka finesse finesse sa katawan, but I took up ballet lessons for 3 years (late 90s, early 2000s haha wag judgemental lol) and then eventually took part in a grand recital/concert in CCP. Read more...

I started taking beginner classes until I was promoted to intermediate or adult classes. It was awesome. I loved how I would go out of the house in my pink tights, black leotard,  pink tiny wrap skirt and my hair up in a bun covered in pink ribbon. So posh. Anyway, me being in ballet landed me a spot in our school's (St. Scho) cheering squad without having to audition. My ballet training made me more flexible, balanced, graceful & confident. I wish I could have done it forever. 

 Located on the 4th floor of Fisher Mall

So when I got an invite to take part in a trial class at the new Ballet Manila branch in Fisher Mall by none other than the legend herself Ms. Lica Macuja, I knew I just had to go. It was one event I was truly, really excited about and looked forward to! So much nostalgia! And the place was just near. :)

 These are the course offerings:)

Located at Fisher Mall’s fourth floor, The Lisa Macuja School of Ballet Manila is the latest addition to the mall’s dynamic mix of food and retail destinations. It brings the signature discipline and technique that Ballet Manila has come to be known for closer to aspiring ballerinas and danseurs residing north of Metro Manila.

Missed the old days!

I was mejo late because I had a hard time looking for an outfit. Haha! Truth be told, I don't have any work out clothes. I wasted my time raiding my cabinet because I couldn't find my one and only black leggings. Haha! Wasn't able to find it so I settled for this light gray one instead (I only have 2 leggings kaloka) and then just wore whatever top and skirt na bagay na mukhang ballerina. Parang achieve naman. Lol. 

Free ballet shoes!

Ballet Manila regulars or students performed for us! 

Founded in 1995 by Prima Ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Osias Barroso, Ballet Manila is the country’s premier classical dance company. It is well-known as the only Philippine dance company to adopt and strictly adhere to the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet style of dancing, which is well-regarded the world over as the most disciplined and technically-superior style. The company currently has 65 artists under its wing, all of whom have been trained in the Vaganova Academy style of dancing. Each artist boasts of a solid repertoire that consists of some of the most technically challenging and timeless ballet favorites.

The school’s faculty is made up of accomplished Vaganova style-trained classical dancers who are highly considered as some of the best in the country, including Jonathan Janolo, Sofia Sangco-Peralta, Gerardo Francisco, Eileen Lopez, Czarina Villegas, and of course, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and Osias Barroso, who is the school’s Co-Director.

 They are twins! Amazing dancers!

 Such poise & grace:)

And then it was time for a short briefing about the fundamentals of ballet by Ms. Lisa Macuja...
Can't believe I'm in her class!

Forever idol:)

 Serious haha

She showed us the right way to point our toes and to always turn our feet out

Now, it's time for our ballet lessons!!!
We were all given a towel and were asked to sit on the dance floor

We were asked to do the ballet hands (thumb & 2nd finger together)

 She asked all of us to stretch our arms and make a square with our body. Back straight and everything turned out!

 She also asked us to sit with the soles of our feet together, our knees flat on the floor.

 Proper way to bend your back. Wooow. Legs straight, back arched, butt out, head leaning back but slightly turned to the right or left & arms stretched.

She's so hands on! She went around to check on everyone's posture and how we are doing:)

We also did the bending of the back while standing up while feet is in first position

Time for some bar exercises!

My bar mate Vina and Rhea (not in photo) haha. Hello Kira & Krissy at the back!

 We were taught how to do proper plie with out butts out, back straight and feet in first position. First position is feet together horizontally & super turned out.

Shempre best in participation kami. Haha.

Ballet requires concentration, seriousness, grace and some laughter in between. 

Love Ms. Lisa!

We did it! No one fell naman hehe.

Photo-op! :)


with classmate & friend Bambi:)

Courses include: 

*Creative Movement for Toddlers (for ages 2-3)
*Baby Ballerinas (for ages 3-5)
*Twinkle Toes (for ages 5-6)
 *Level 1B-Beginner and Level 1A-Advanced (for ages 6-9)
 *Level 2B-Beginner and Level 2B-Advanced (for 10-12 years old)
*Level 3B-Intermediate (for boys and girls aged 12-16 with previous ballet training and intermediate pointe work)
*Level 3-A Advanced (for 14 years old and above)
 *Refresher Class (for those with aged 16 and up with substantial past training and want to be reintroduced to the art’s basic concepts)
*Ballet for Fitness / Yoga / Conditioning classes (for those with zero background in ballet and wish to learn it for fitness’ sake) 
* EXTRAS: Modern Ballet, Zumba, Street Dance & Ballroom

Galeng niyo guys!

Our class lasted for almost an hour but I didn't even notice it. It was challenging but fun! I never realized how much I missed it until I got to experience it again. I might not be a fan of fitness anything but this I love. I am thinking of taking up classes again. :)

I am just super happy to have been in the same room as the country's pride, Prima Ballerina Ms. Lisa Macuja. Meeting her and being taught by her even just for a day was a dream come true. 

Lisa started dancing at the young age of eight. Naturally gifted in the art, Lisa fell in love with ballet and continued to learn it. When she was 18, she received a scholarship from the USSR Ministry of Culture to study at the then Leningrad Choreographic Institute. The school, which is now known as the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet, became the rock by which Lisa’s long and fruitful career stands today.

 Lisa graduated at the top of her class in 1984. After her graduation, she joined the revered Kirov Ballet and debuted as principal ballerina in The Nutcracker, Don Quixote (with Faroukh Ruzimatov as Basilio) and Giselle at the Mariinsky Theater, a historic institution which is considered by most as Russia’s premier opera and ballet theater. As the first foreigner to become part of Kirov Ballet, Lisa became widely known all over USSR as “The Foreigner”, a title given to her by local press. Lisa wowed audiences during her debut performance, and even received a 20-minute standing ovation.

When Lisa returned to the country in 1986, she became the first artist-in-residence of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and performed as guest artist with Ballet Philippines. In 1988, she became a principal dancer of the Philippine Ballet Theatre and performed principal roles with foreign companies in Russia, the United States, Cuba, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia.

Today, Lisa has retired from performing full time but still serves as the Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ballet Manila, which is opening their 21st season in August. She also owns The Lisa Macuja School of Ballet Manila, and continues the mission to make ballet more accessible to everyone.


Ballet Manila, is opening its 21st season this August 2016 by paying homage to some of the acts that have laid down the foundation of every other ballet production and have remained in the hearts and minds of audiences across the world for generations. Aptly named Revenge of the Classics, the new season will feature three classics and one contemporary piece that has won the hearts of many Filipinos.

Rebel: EDSA 30

Revenge of the Classics opens this August 19 with Rebel: EDSA 30. Choreographed by British choreographer Martin Lawrance and featuring music from Spartacus by world-renowned Armenian composer, Aram Khachaturian, this modern classic gained much traction when it debuted in February because of its historical relevance and its touching combination of nationalistic music and strong choreography. Similar to when it was last staged, this season’s production of Rebel: EDSA 30 will feature Joanna Ampil as the voice of Inang Bayan, and performances by the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Gerard Salonga. Rebel: EDSA 30 will be shown at the Aliw Theater on the following dates and time: August 19, 20, and 27 at 8:00 p.m. and August 21 and 28 at 3:00 p.m.

The Swan, The Fairy & The Princess

Swan Lake

Swan Lake

 The Nutcracker

Sleeping Beauty

In October, the dance company will stage The Swan, The Fairy and The Princess, a production that showcases excerpts from three of the most celebrated works of master composer Peter Tschaikovsky, who has written some of the world’s most memorable and timeless ballet scores—Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and The Sleeping Beauty. Scores for this ballet will be performed by no less than the Manila Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Alexander Vikulov. Featuring performances by Kremlin Ballet Theater’s premier danseur, Mikhail Martynyuk, and Miguel Faustmann, who will assume the role of Peter Tchaikovsky, The Swan, The Fairy and The Princess promises a magical experience unlike any other. Show schedules are: October 14 & 15 at 8:00 p.m. and October 16 at 3:00 p.m.


Another timeless tale and arguably one of the most loved stories of all time, Cinderella, starts its run on November 25. This enduring classic sets the stage for the world premiere of Osias Barroso and Lisa Macuja-Elizalde’s first major choreographic work together. With a production that promises to stay true to the animated feature that generations of young girls and boys loved, this re-telling is perfect for anyone who is on the search for a little bit of extra magic to usher in the holiday season. Show dates for Cinderella at the Aliw Theater are as follows: November 25, 26 and December 3 at 8:00 p.m. and November 27 and December 4 at 3:00 p.m.


The 21st season will end with one of the world’s most favorite classic ballets, Don Quixote. Watch the iconic characters from the famous novel by Miguel De Cervantes come alive as the lively ballet follows the adventures of the chivalry-obsessed Don Quixote, his faithful servant, Sancho Panzo, and young lovers, Kitri and Basilio. Set in Barcelona, the ballet allows everyone a glimpse of the colorful, vibrant, and inherently romantic Spanish culture. Mikhail Martynyuk, principal danseur of the Kremlin Ballet, once again joins Ballet Manila for this classic. Don Quixote will be shown at the Aliw Theater this February 24 & 25, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. and February 26 at 3:00 p.m.

For more information about the shows, including ticket prices and schedules, you may visit www.balletmanila.com.ph or follow Ballet Manila on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Tickets are also available through all Ticketworld outlets. Please call 891 9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph, for more information. In addition, those who are planning to watch all the shows may take advantage of the company’s Season Subscription Programs, which offer up to 50% discount on ticket prices. For more information, you may visit www.ticketworld.com.ph/balletmanila/Online/ and click on ‘View Details’ under ‘Season Subscription Program’. 

The new The Lisa Macuja School of Ballet Manila opened to the public last August 6. Free trial classes for other select courses will be held from August 7-14. So go na guys, learn from the best!!! Can't wait for my next class!:)

For a complete list of the schedules and courses, you may visit Ballet Manila’s accounts: 
Call: 400-0292 and 525-5967

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