It was my luck when I caught Lisa Macuja-Elizalde perform at the Atrium of the Mall of Asia on Sunday evening. We were going to the movies when I noticed the stage with her name on it. Lisa Macuja is one of the Philippines’ Prima Ballerinas and often referred to as the “Ballerina of the People” for her advocacy of bringing the art of ballet to the masses and the countryside. She marks her 25th year as a dancer with this show “Ballet Masterpiece”.
Watching her dance, it was hard to believe that she is 45 and had given birth to two kids. Lisa is, undoubtedly, the most phenomenal Filipina classical ballerina. She studied ballet at the Vaganova Choreographic Institute in Leningrad in the 1980’s where she learned and mastered the Vaganova method, graduated at the top of her class, and the only Filipina dancer with the distinction of being “adopted” by the Russians as one of their own. She went on to becoming the first non-Soviet soloist to dance with the historic Kirov Ballet.
I had goosebumps watching her dance---her passion for dancing was electric. I also loved how she incorporated modern dance into ballet. Franzia told me later that if the heart could dance, her heart definitely danced while she watched Lisa Macuja. Yes, it was like falling in love.