Three major events stand out this year. First, that dream concert that was The Legends & The Classics was finally staged at the CCP! Performing and collaborating with musical theater star Lea Salonga and renowned pianist Cecile Licad, under musical director Maestro Gerard Salonga and stage director Roxanne Lapus, was a concert to end all concerts — as well as a personal triumph for myself as a producer. For this very special show, Bam Damian created the Romeo and Juliet Balcony Scene on myself and Rudy De Dios. It was my fourth version of Juliet – a role that I continue to love to perform.
Second, there was the orchestra pit. Not just any orchestra pit but the Philippines’ largest orchestra pit constructed at Aliw Theater, which became an added attraction to the third most important event of the year — Swan Song Series Year 2. This time, I performed Don Quixote and Giselle for the last time with Kremlin Ballet’s principal dancer, Mikhail Martynyuk, backed up by 65 musicians of the Manila Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Alexander Vikulov. In addition to these two ballets, I also did Carmen with Rudy De Dios at the Star Theater and capped the final performance with a surprise celebration onstage for my parents’ Golden Wedding Anniversary, to which my family and ballet company gamely became conspirators.
There should actually be a fourth highlight: taking home four trophies from the 25th Aliw Awards, including that of its most coveted prize, Entertainer of the Year. Apparently, I was the first classical artist to be given that award. The three other trophies were: Best Classical Dancer, Best Dance Company for Ballet Manila, and Best Concert Collaboration for The Legends and the Classics.
Is there space for a fifth? I almost forgot — ten acclaimed principal dancers from some of the most respected international dance companies converged for the first time on Philippine stage in a one-of-a-kind show entitled World Stars of Ballet. It was such a blast!
With so many “highs”, something had to give. Towards the end of the year, I had an MRI and was told that the cartilage in both my ankles, particularly on the right, had deteriorated so much that I was rubbing bone to bone every time I went on pointe. I had to miss out on dancing my first ever Cinderella.
So this year ended with many unknowns. Would injections of PRP and hyaluronic acid on both my ankles work so I could continue with SSS Year 3? Would I be able to dance again?
I guess we all know the answer to that one.