This is something I don’t mention very often, but when I was maybe 3 or 4 years old, I used to be a ballerina. I think it was every little’s dream at one point, so during my pre-school days before I studied kindergarten in Poveda, my mom enrolled me in a ballet school! I don’t remember much, except for the part after that—when I started studying in Poveda where gymnastics was the PE for kindergarten students. I ended up liking gymnastics more, so I stopped ballet and my mom enrolled me in gymnastics instead.
So anyway, the thought of watching ballet is always fun (I enjoyed watching Ballet Manila’s The Swan, The Fairy and The Princess last time), but when I was invited to attend a ballet class last week, and with Lisa Macuja as our instructor no less, I was a little bit nervous! But then I told myself that I wasn’t going to let my nerves get in the way of meeting someone I truly admired and looked up to. I first encountered Lisa Macuja during Baby Cheng’s college graduation two years ago (Baby Cheng is the Cupcake’s youngest brother). She gave a commencement speech that I’ll never forget, and to this day, still gives me inspiration.
Yes, I wore a sports jersey to yesterday's ballet class with THE prima ballerina, @lisamacuja. 🙈 Like any little girl, I used to be a ballerina–up until I fell in love with gymnastics, and then softball, and then Ultimate. Despite my stiffness, awkwardness and bad posture, I still went to class yesterday because I wasn't going to miss out on meeting Ms. Lisa in person. I still remember the super inspiring commencement speech she gave at Baby Cheng's graduation two years ago, which brought me to tears. In true ballet fashion, it involved 8 counts: 1. Decide and commit to something that you are passionate about, 2. Work hard; no pain, no gain, 3. Whatever your goal is, get good at it, 4. Honor your emotions and acknowledge your fears, 5. For an artist, the performance is the product and thus, the most important part of your work, 6. Do something crazy; something that defies logic at least once in your life, 7. One of the hardest decisions you'll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder, 8. Offer yourself to a cause bigger than your own needs or ambition. 💜 When I'm feeling lost or down, I still Google her speech and read it just to find inspiration again. 😊 #GretasJunkyard
Despite my bad posture and awkwardness, I was surprised I got to follow the class easily. I enjoyed re-learning ballet terms, like plie (to bend) and sauttee (to jump). We were also told that afternoon that Ballet Manila, the country’s premier school for classical dance, and where Lisa Macuja is the School Director, puts equal value to wellness as well as the arts, and thus developed ballet classes for adults.
Lisa shares that they developed the class a few years back when they started receiving inquiries about using ballet as a form of exercise. It’s actually a really great form of exercise, because every part of your body gets the workout it deserves, not to mention, it’s very holistic—which means you’re not just building the strength of your muscles, but also your stamina and flexibility. In addition to adult ballet, they offer classical ballet classes for all levels, modern ballet, and street dancing!
As part of their summer workshop program, Ballet Manila will be offering Bollywood Dance, Floor Barre, and Mat Pilates classes. While the Bollywood Dance classes are meant to broaden the creative scope, Floor Barre and Matt Pilates are meant to augment the students’ training in strength, stamina, injury prevention, and recovery. Ballet Manila will even fly in two Bollywood choreographers from Mumbai to teach the Bollywood Dance classes to ensure their commitment to quality and excellence. The company intends to also bring in Victoria Vargas (a faculty member in one of America’s most prestigious ballet companies, Joffrey Ballet) to teach the Floor Barre and Mat Pilates classes.
It sounds incredibly exciting, and I’m actually considering enrolling in a class to try it out! They have two branches—one in Fisher Mall, Quezon City and another along Donada Street in Pasay. To know more about Ballet Manila, or to view the complete list of schedules, courses, and even ongoing performances or special shows (they’re doing Don Quixote this month!), visit their website here.
A Graceful Way to Get Fit: Adult Ballet Classes with Lisa Macuja