Stella Abrera and American Ballet Stars Dance for Centex

  • April 16, 2018

It was a full night at the Globe Auditorium of the Maybank Performing Arts Theater where An Intimate Evening with Stella Abrera and American Ballet Stars was held. The principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre was performing with other principal dancers, soloists and company members of the ABT for the benefit of Centex, the flagship education program of the Ayala Foundation.

The stage, created by stage and event designer Gino Gonzales with curtains resembling cutwork, was set for the Manila born ballet dancer, who was raised in Los Angeles, California. She had won the Gold Medal in the Adeline Genee Awards in London before she joined the corps de ballet of the American Ballet Theatre. Stella Abrera performed with other ballet companies as a guest performer, dancing with The Australian Ballet, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, and Ballet Philippines.

Stella Abrera and Roman Zhurbin performed the Concerto by Dmitri Shostakovich (Photograph courtesy of Jojo Maangun)
Stella Abrera and Roman Zhurbin performed the Concerto by Dmitri Shostakovich (Photograph courtesy of Jojo Maangun)
Stella Abrera and Joowon Ahn with a romantic excerpt from Romeo & Juliet, as choreographed by Sir Kenneth MacMillan (Photograph courtesy of Jojo Maangun)
Stella Abrera and Joowon Ahn with a romantic excerpt from Romeo & Juliet, as choreographed by Sir Kenneth MacMillan (Photograph courtesy of Jojo Maangun)

Sensuous Grace

That night, Stella Abrera and the American Ballet stars performed excerpts from different ballets. Scholars from Centex and Steps Dance Studio were also part of the programme and shared the stage in the latter part of the evening.

Stella Abrera danced Concerto with ABT soloist Roman Zhurbin, performing Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich’s music to Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s choreography. The pas de deux to the sensuous andante was widely applauded by an enthusiastic audience.

Stella Abrera showed expressive fluidity in the role of Juliet in the Balcony pas de deux of Romeo and Juliet, following the choreography of the celebrated British dancer and choreographer Sir Kenneth Macmillan. Dancing to Sergei Profiev’s music, the principal dancer performed the dance duet with Korean ABT company member Joowan Ahn.

Towards the end of the evening, Stella Abrera and Joowan Ahn returned to dance a wedding adagio in slow, elegant combinations of breathtaking arabesques and attitudes, performing spectacular extensions.

RELATED READS: 9 American Ballet Stars, 1 Stage, A Million Lives Touched

Isabella Boylston performed John Philip Sousa’s Stars & Stripes (Pas de deux) (Photograph courtesy of Jojo Maangun)
Isabella Boylston performed John Philip Sousa’s Stars & Stripes (Pas de deux) (Photograph courtesy of Jojo Maangun)
Blaine Hoven performed John Philip Sousa’s Stars & Stripes (Pas de deux) (Photograph courtesy of Jojo Maangun)
Blaine Hoven performed John Philip Sousa’s Stars & Stripes (Pas de deux) (Photograph courtesy of Jojo Maangun)

Dance Duets

Other excerpts that interspersed with Stella Abrera’s performances were also warmly received. Principal dancer Isabella Boylston and soloist Blain Hoven opened the programme with a Stars and Stripes pas de deux, choreographed by the father of American ballet George Balanchine to the music of the march king John Philip Sousa. The humorous Bier Halle was performed by principal dancer Gillian Murphy and company member Jose Sebastian. Gillian danced again with Blain Hoven to Franz Schubewrt’s On The Water to the choreography of James Whiteside

Company member Catherine Hurlin danced Flames of Paris with soloist Arron Scott to Boris Asafyev’s music with choreography by Vasily Vainonen. Catherine Hurlin later performed a sultry Mercedes with Roman Zhurbin’s bullfighter Espada, essaying the characters in Don Quixote. Isabel Boylston performed as Kitri with Jose Sebastian as Basilio.

RELATED READS: Sofia Zobel Elizalde’s Favorite Finds

Johan Strauss II’s Bier Halle came to life through the powerful artistry of Gillian Murphy and Jose Sebastian (Photograph courtesy of Jojo Maangun)
Johan Strauss II’s Bier Halle came to life through the powerful artistry of Gillian Murphy and Jose Sebastian (Photograph courtesy of Jojo Maangun)
Johan Strauss II’s Bier Halle came to life through the powerful artistry of Gillian Murphy and Jose Sebastian (Photograph courtesy of Jojo Maangun)
Johan Strauss II’s Bier Halle came to life through the powerful artistry of Gillian Murphy and Jose Sebastian (Photograph courtesy of Jojo Maangun)
Passion reigned in the nuanced performance of Catherine Hurlin and Arron Scott in Flames of Paris (Photograph courtesy of Jojo Maangun)
Passion reigned in the nuanced performance of Catherine Hurlin and Arron Scott in Flames of Paris (Photograph courtesy of Jojo Maangun)

Flowers at Their Feet

The dancers displayed exceptional virtuosity and flair that brought the audience to their feet at the end of the gala night. It was just as well received on the following evening. Stella Abrera and the American Ballet stars performed for two nights. At the end of the first evening, Stella Abrera laid her bouquet before her fellow dancers as a tribute to them.

The following evening, the dancers laid their flowers before Sofia Elizalde, the committee chairman of the organizing committee of the special fundraiser for Centex. “Both the Arts and education are very close to our hearts and to be able to work with internationally renowned Filipino-American Ballerina Stella Abrera has been an incredible inspiration to all of us,” Ms. Elizalde said.

MORE PHOTOS FROM AN INTIMATE EVENIG WITH STELLA ABRERA AND AMERICAN BALLET STARS GALA NIGHT…

Catherine Hurlin, Arron Scott, Blaine Hoven, Gillian Murphy, Stella Abrera, Isabella Boylston, Roman Zhurbin, Jose Sebastian, Joowon Ahn
Catherine Hurlin, Arron Scott, Blaine Hoven, Gillian Murphy, Stella Abrera, Isabella Boylston, Roman Zhurbin, Jose Sebastian, Joowon Ahn
Doña Bea Zobel de Ayala, Sofia Elizalde and Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala
Doña Bea Zobel de Ayala, Sofia Elizalde and Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala
Fernando and Kit Zobel
Fernando and Kit Zobel
Guiomar Fernandez - Casraño and Inigo Suarez de Puga Zobel de Ayala
Guiomar Fernandez – Casraño and Inigo Suarez de Puga Zobel de Ayala
Isabelle and Nikki Huang
Isabelle and Nikki Huang
Kevin Yapjoco, Charles Tiu, Kelly See
Kevin Yapjoco, Charles Tiu, Kelly See
Mandy and Chuchu Eduque
Mandy and Chuchu Eduque
Margie Moran
Margie Moran
Marilu and David Batchelor
Marilu and David Batchelor
Norby and Wynn Wynn Ong
Norby and Wynn Wynn Ong
Paloma Urquijo, Miguel Hernandez, Mariana Zobel
Paloma Urquijo, Miguel Hernandez, Mariana Zobel
Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi, Ria Prieto, Macky Fah
Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi, Ria Prieto, Macky Fah
Victoria Melian, Mercedes Zobel
Victoria Melian, Mercedes Zobel