When the swan sings

Miracle of miracles, I got out of work early enough to watch Ballet Manila’s Giselle at 7:30 pm. It’s part of Lisa Macuja’s Swan Song Series, wherein she performs the best roles of her career one last time before she retires. It started last year and runs up to 2013. This year, she scheduled Don Quixote, Giselle and Carmen all within the space of one month.

This is not my review, and I’m still trying to decide if I should review it or not. What I want to talk about is what I got out of watching tonight. Before the intermission ended, between acts, they showed a video of Lisa talking about her memories of dancing Giselle – she first performed it as a principal dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now Mariinsky), and then her other memories of it since. It suddenly struck me what an amazing thing it was that she was doing – dancing full length ballets at her age, dancing at that caliber all this time.

(Warning, this is where I make it about me)

When I say “it suddenly struck me,” it’s because I’m 38, and I’m still dancing. Well, I don’t dance everyday – and boy do my muscles make me pay for it the day after each ballet class – but I’m still in pretty good shape to do full classes and variations on pointe. I was even noo-ni-noo-ing recently about dancing professionally again. There are some days though that I really feel my age, and some days I just don’t get out of bed because my body says no. But in general, I’m still dancing and can see myself dancing still for a very long time, aches and pains and all.

(Okay, this is where I make it about her again)

So, I’ve not been very impressed with the Swan Song Series, I was just, oh cool idea. After seeing Giselle tonight, and thinking back on Lisa Macuja’s career, I am overcome with the gravity of what the Swan Song Series means. Lisa Macuja has had quite a long career, and I should know this, I saw her 25th anniversary show two years ago. But there’s a difference between knowing she’s been dancing this way for more than 25 years, and understanding just how long 25 years is.  It’s quite the expanse of time, isn’t it?

I guess I just assumed that Lisa would be dancing forever. But then, I assume the same about myself.

In the video, she says she always discovers something new about the role whenever she dances Giselle. I think this is how she’s been doing it all these years, instead of growing old, she’s discovering something new.

I’m going to sleep now. I have ballet class tomorrow. 🙂



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