This year stands out with Ballet Manila working with choreographer Augustus Damian III for ballets such as MAZN, Reconfigured, Sotto Voce and Widmung, as well as the world premiere of Alamat: Si Sibol At SiGunaw – another “book-to-ballet” creation based on the children’s book by eminent writer Ed Maranan, with original music and choreography by contemporary Filipino artists. I danced the part of Luningning, the goddess who married the mortal Kapuy, performed by the princely Nazer Salgado. This was another stagepartnership that blossomed with a former student, as I had also danced The Sleeping Beauty in The Swan, The Fairy and The Princess and Giselle with him. (Nazer is currently a member of Singapore Dance Theatre.)
I continue to look at 2009 as the year when I was able to dance for almost three hours nonstop in Lisa@25 – a concert celebrating 25 seasons as a professional ballerina. Surprisingly, nothing hurt! I felt strong and indestructible. In fact, if ever there was a “peak period” in terms of my technique, artistry and stamina, I think this was it. Everything went well — until Ondoy hit Metro Manila and I had to postpone the gala for a week. Even with the best-laid plans and being in the best of shape, Lisa@25 went on albeit with a slightly muted tone to the celebration.
On a more positive note, however, because of Lisa@25, my daughter Missy had an epiphany. We later had a heart-to-heart talk where she told me that she wanted to go back to ballet. She was already 11 and I knew that this was late, but I promised to help her achieve her dream. We started lessons the very next day.