Lisa Macuja-Elizalde has been performing all her life. Trained in the Russian Vaganova method, Lisa danced professionally for 32 years and became the face of ballet in the country. It all started when her mom took her to her first ballet class.
“When I was 9, my mom enrolled me in ballet. And at 14, I decided I wanted to make it a career. I’ve been dancing ever since.”
She has now left the stage but continues to foster ballet as an art form and industry. In fact, as CEO and Artistic Director of Ballet Manila, she is giving talented children a future in ballet through Project Ballet Futures and Ballet Manila.
“You have to change the mindset of the Filipino people. When their child says to them, ‘Mom, Dad, I want to become an artist or a professional dancer or singer when I grow up.’ When they say that to their parents, usually, they’re going to say, ‘How are you going to make a living? Or put food on the table?’ So I really want to make the performing arts a viable industry here in the country.”
She is doing just that through her scholarship and audience development programs. While ballet started as an art form that’s exclusively enjoyed by royalty, Lisa is constantly trying to get the message across that it can be enjoyed by anyone.
“I have this partnership with Star City where a ticket to a ballet can be exchanged for ride all you can after the show. So we try to make that more appealing, especially to the Filipino family to try to bring their kids to a ballet performance of Ballet Manila.”
But the core of her advocacy is Project Ballet Futures which finds talented children from marginalized communities and nurtures them to become professional ballet dancers. Currently on her third batch of scholars, Lisa has produced top graduates who are also employed as professional dancers in her company that performs here and abroad.
Passionate for nurturing the Filipino’s innate artistry, Lisa believes there’s great potential for ballet in the country. With talent and grace that are made in the Philippines, we rightly believe so too.
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For more information visit: http://balletmanila.com.ph