Year-end Diplomatic Reception Features Ballet Manila at the National Museum of Natural History

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MANILA 04 January 2019 – Set against the backdrop of the majestic National Museum of Natural History, the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs (DFA-ASPAC) capped off a successful 2018 with a well-attended diplomatic reception, featuring performances by Ballet Manila on 10 December 2018.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affaris Meynardo LB. Montealegre opened the thanksgiving event and year-end diplomatic reception with a message of gratitude and appreciation to all of DFA-ASPAC’s partners in the diplomatic community, government service, and private sector who had contributed to make 2018 a year of fruitful collaboration, and achievements that pushed Philippine relations with regional partners forward.

 In a tour de force performance, Ballet Manila showcased the piece “Sayaw sa Pamlang,” an inspired interweaving of traditional Mindanaoan dance elements, ethnic and contemporary beats, and Vaganova School ballet movements which captivated the audience. Choreographed by dance icon Agnes Locsin and set to inspired music by Bob Aves, it was truly storytelling on tiptoes at its finest.

Under the artistic direction of celebrated prima ballerina, Ms. Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, Ballet Manila’s dancers, young scholars from different parts of the Philippines are being molded into a new breed of world-class Filipino performers. The hours of training were on full display in the masterful artistry of movement in “Sayaw sa Pamlang.”

By holding this event at the majestic atrium of the National Museum of Natural History, the event sought to promote the Museum of Natural History to Asia-Pacific diplomats based in Manila, both as a window into the Philippines’ natural heritage, as well as a new venue for cultural and diplomatic events. Restored by architect Dominic Galicia, who also graced the event, and interior designer Tina Periquet, the Museum provided a perfect stage to showcase the beauty of ballet to the delighted audience.

For the esteemed members of the diplomatic corps and officials from various partner government agencies who graced the event, ASPAC’s year-end reception was more than just a fitting way to celebrate the year that was, it was also a memorable night in tribute to the arts and Philippine artistic excellence in dance, music, architecture, and fine cuisine, all under the breath-taking canopy of the Museum’s iconic “Tree of Life.” END

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DFA Assistant Secretary Meynardo LB. Montealegre delivers his welcome remarks.

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Ballet Manila Artistic Director and CEO, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde talks about the dance company and “Sayaw sa Pamlang.”

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Ballet Manila dancers during their performance.