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This season brings the magic of The Nutcracker to public school children and the men and women in uniform through Ballet Philippines’ CSR program, ‘Share The Magic.’

The much-awaited holiday performance of Ballet Philippines’ (BP) The Nutcracker drew guests from near and far to the Cultural Center Philippines (CCP) for its opening gala on December 17 at 8 P.M. Once again the CCP lobby was bustling with delight as stilt masters entertained while La Cabrera offered a selection of hearty tapas during the pre-show cocktails. The crowd was abuzz with excitement amidst the cultural center’s upcoming closure for a two- to three-year renovation. BP’s The Nutcracker will be the last ballet performance before the renovation takes place in 2023.

Looking ever so regal and statuesque in a vibrant emerald green gown, Ballet Philippines president and ceo Kathleen “Maymay” Liechtenstein welcomed the audience by saying, “Malipayon Nga Pasqua, Maligayang Pasko to all of you. We blinked, and it was Christmas. We love it. It gives us reasons to celebrate with you a magical kind of ballet–The Nutcracker! (With our artistic director Misha, dancing Drosselmeyer. A first for Ballet Philippines).”

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Ballet Philippines’ Jemima Reyes enthralled and captured hearts as Marie in the Christmas classic, The Nutcracker

READ ALSO: Bravo, Bravo: Ballet Philippines Captivates Audience, Delivers Promise To Keep Ballet Alive

She began her welcome remarks by reminiscing about her love affair with The Nutcracker, sharing with guests that her first date with her husband, Lior, happened at the opening gala of BP’s 1982 Nutcracker. 

“Thank you Nutcracker, ”Maymay said while smiling sincerely. The sparkle in her eye showed us just a glimpse of both her deep love and wholehearted passion for ballet and of course, Lior.

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The Nutcracker Doll, played by Carlo Padoga

She continued and addressed the audience, “And thank YOU! Most of you don’t know it, but out-of-school-youth, students, and adults get to watch the ballet for every ticket you buy through our CSR, Share the Magic! The program has touched the hearts of over 10,000 beneficiaries. 

Tonight, we welcome the Young Focus, Bantu, Phinma, and Kythe Foundations, the Good Shepherd Sisters, and the public school students from Navotas, Muntinlupa, Tondo, Pasay City, and many more.

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Alexis Piel as The Rat King

We are blessed to continue to honor our heroes, the men, and women, in uniforms from the Army, Navy, coast guard, and Air Force through Share the Magic. (Not just at Christmas time but throughout the season.)”

In reference to the CCP’s upcoming closure, Maymay shared, “Tonight is a bittersweet  time for us. Nutcracker is the last ballet performance before the Cultural Center of the Philippines closes its doors for a three-year renovation. 

CCP’s sacred stage and its storied halls have been our beloved home for the last 53 years. It continues to be in the seasons to come, and we look forward to an unforgettable homecoming to a grander CCP in 2025.

Please accept our gift to you–tonight’s performance of The Nutcracker! In this season of Christmas magic, may your hearts be filled with love, hope, inner peace, and, most of all, dance! Magandang gabi po!”

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Jemima Reyes as Marie

And in true BP fashion, the company’s dancers not just entertained but also captivated and mesmerized with a spectacular performance truly worthy of the much loved Nutcracker. Live music by the Manila Symphony Orchestra amplified the experience and joy of watching The Nutcracker and I found my eyes following both the dancers as they flowed and leaped on the stage, and the fiery baton of Maestro Marlon Chen as he led the orchestra through time-honored compositions of Peter Tchaikovsky, transporting us from our Main Theater seats to The Land of The Sugar Plum Fairy.

BP’s artistic director Mikhail “Misha” Martynyuk says,“The uniqueness of our performance is its high level of musicality. Every scene is built precisely to the rhythm of the composer’s work.” 

Martynuk elaborates, “Nutcracker has been synonymous with Christmas all around the world since it was first staged in December 1892.” 

According to BP, “This symbiosis of ballet and orchestra, experienced only in Ballet Philippines’ The Nutcracker,  makes the show extraordinary.”

Indeed, with libretto by Marius Petipa, the 130-year-old ballet has been beloved by audiences as it brings beloved Christmas characters to life through music, rhythm, and the magic of dance. 

Maymay closed her remarks by sharing, “Meanwhile, we look back at 2022 with only gratitude in our hearts for your undying patronage. You have inspired our journey to ‘Dance Where No One Else Has.’ We shall see you at our 53rd season ender,  the world premiere of Diyosa–a ballet on the Gods and Goddesses of the Philippine Mythology in our second home, The Theatre at Solaire. We will see you there in April!”

For more information and to purchase tickets for the upcoming 53rd season ender world premiere of Diyosa, visit the website ballet.ph.

Photos courtesy of Ballet Philippines.

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