Monday, February 06, 2017

Begin or Continue Your Fitness Journey with The Lisa Macuja School of Ballet Manila

We are still in the first quarter of a new year and if you haven't begun working on those fitness goals yet, it's really time to start now. Make 2017 the year to finally achieve the kind of body you really want to have!  

our class of enthusiastic learners with Ms. Lisa Macuja-Elizalde
The Lisa Macuja School of Ballet, the country's premier school for classical dance, is offering a graceful way to a leaner and healthier you! While the school is well-known for producing some of the most accomplished Filipino dancers worldwide, it's also an institution that puts equal value to the wellness of people as well as the arts. In fact, the company is slowly garnering a following among health enthusiasts thanks to the ballet classes that adults can enroll in.

I had the pleasure of joining a Ballet for Fitness class the other day held in Yoga+ Express located at the Venice Grand Canal Mall in McKinley Hill, Taguig. The most amazing thing about this? It was conducted by Prima Ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde herself! 

Yoga+ Express McKinley Hill
To say that I was apprehensive about joining a ballet class for adults was kind of an understatement. It has been quite a while since I attempted to dance ballet (the last time was in elementary P.E. class so imagine how long ago that was!!!) and I never became flexible enough to do graceful poses that ballerinas are known to do. 

Still, I figured it would be good to give it a go since I am a staunch believer of the saying, "If it doesn't challenge you, it will not change you." (BTW, I just finished my first 16k race yesterday, so there 😉 ) Plus,  joining a class being taught by Ms. Lisa would definitely be a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

a sneak peek of movements before class officially started
Much later, with words plié, port de bras, relevé, etc. dancing delightfully in my head, I could definitely say I learned a lot and had fun while doing so. Yes, I am not (yet?) as graceful as I would like myself to be but I listened to and followed the directions well so I think I deserved an invisible pat on the back for showing up and taking on the challenge. Besides, with such a patient and encouraging teacher, it was easy to forget about making mistakes and instead simply enjoy the moment.  

Ms. Lisa, the school's founder and director, explained that they developed the ballet for adults class a few years ago when they started getting inquiries about using ballet as a form of exercise. "To be honest, it's such a pleasant surprise that people are so interested in the health aspect of ballet. It's such a great form of exercise as every part of your body gets the workout it deserves," she described.

class poster
"In addition, it is very holistic, which means that you are not just building the strength of your muscles, but also your stamina and flexibility, and you're doing all these while enjoying the art." Ms. Lisa also told us that ballet is a great way to prevent Alzheimer's Disease because the dance's vocabulary of French terms, along with the combinations a dancer has to memorize for each performance, literally and figuratively keep her on her toes.

Apart from adult ballet, The Lisa Macuja School of Ballet Manila offers classical ballet classes for all levels as well as modern ballet and street dancing. As part of its summer workshop program, the school will also be offering Bollywood Dance, Floor Barre, and Mat Pilates classes. 

doing one of those graceful poses 
As a testament to their commitment to quality, the Bollywood Dance classes will be taught by two choreographers to be flown in from Mumbai. These class are meant to broaden the creative scope of ballet classes already offered.

On the other hand, Floor Barre and Mat Pilates aim to augment the students' training in strength, stamina, injury prevention, and recovery. Teaching these classes would be Victoria Vargas, a faculty member of Joffrey Ballet, one of America's most prestigious ballet companies.

on tip toes
The school's faculty members include accomplished Vaganova style-trained classical dancers who are considered some of the best in the country such as Jonathan Janolo, Sofia Sangco-Peralta, Gerardo Francisco, Eileen Lopez, Czarina Villegas, and Ms Lisa who directs the school alongside co-director Osias Barroso.

For your added information, The Lisa Macuja School of Ballet Manila is the only ballet school in the Philippines with direct links to the Russian Ballet Academy of St. Petersburg, Russia. As such, the school is often praised by ballet enthusiasts for staying true to the principles of the art form and for teaching the rigorous Vaganova Academy method of dancing, which is widely accepted as the highest standard of style when it comes to classical ballet.

It was a privilege and a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Lisa!
See the complete list of courses and schedules offered by visiting or calling telephone numbers 400.0292 and 525.5967 (Pasay City branch) or 285.1343 and 285.1353 (Quezon City branch). You may also email for inquiries and follow Ballet Manila on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep updated.

* Thank you so much ARC Public Relations, Inc. for the photos and the Kangaroo Nuts snacks! 

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