It was supposed to be the last installment of my three-year Swan Song Series but I didn’t know if I would be able to go through with it. Injury has kept me from dancing for three whole months. When I tried to slowly get back into shape, I was traumatized every time I tried to do a releve on my right foot. We opened the year with a very happy collaboration with my sister’s London-based singing group, The West End Mamas. I did very little dancing during the earlier part of the year and decided to concentrate on two big projects instead: a new trilogy in Tatlo Pang Kuwento Ni Lola Basyang and a new collaborative project, Stars of Philippine Ballet.
Stars of Philippine Ballet brought home Filipino dancers who were enjoying fruitful careers abroad. Marcelino Libao of Hamburg Ballet, Jared Tan of Atlanta Ballet, Candice Adea of Hongkong Ballet, Christine Rocas of Joffrey Ballet, Jojo Espejo and Aileen Gallinera of Ballet David Campos returned to join the artists of Ballet Manila and Philippine Ballet Theatre, with the special participation of guest artists Jean Marc Cordero of Ballet Philippines, Mayo Arii of Hamburg Ballet, Jennifer Drake and Brian Williamson of Dance Theater of Tennessee, and Mauro Villanueva of Joffrey Ballet.
Meanwhile, I joined the company for a show in Macau to celebrate Philippine Independence Day and the 2012-2013 Philippines-China Years of Friendly Exchanges (YFE). The gala performance, entitled Flight! With Ballet Manila was organized by the Consulate General of the Philippines in Macau SAR with no less than the The Venetian Theater as venue.
Exciting new stories comprised the second Lola Basyang trilogy – 12 Masasayang Prinsesa(12 Happy Princesses), which I choreographed; Ang Palasyo Ng Mga Duwende (The Palace of the Dwarves), and Anting-Anting (Amulet).
And by another miracle, in the twilight of my extended career, I danced the last two full-length ballets in my Swan Song Series: La Bayadere and The Nutcracker, accompanied by the Manila Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Alexander Vikulov. I was lucky to do three full-length ballets accompanied by a live orchestra with our season offering Le Corsaire being the first, followed by SSS 3’s La Bayadere with Mikhail Martynyuk and The Nutcracker with Rudy De Dios and newcomer Mark Sumaylo. My last full-length Nutcracker saw my daughter, Missy, dancing the role of Little Masha. I also shared the ballet with Project Ballet Futures’ Jessa Balote in a performance that raised funds for building the Lisa Macuja Ballet Studio at the Philippine Community Fund’s facility in Tondo.
And because once is never enough, we just had to do an encore of The Legends and the Classics! Finding a common schedule for Lea, Cecile and myself took a year in advance to book but it was worth the wait. It was just as magical and memorable the second time around!