The Toe Shoe Circle: Helping Filipina Ballerinas Pirouette

  • June 21, 2018

Lifestyle Asia June 2018 cover girl Lauren Liechtenstein talks about The Toe Shoe Circle, an organizatoin founded to help fund Filipino ballerinas’ needs for toe shoes to dance in season after season.

The first ballet Lauren Liechtenstein saw at the age of three was Giselle. “I remember being mesmerized by the ballerinas leaping through the stage and couldn’t believe it when they came down the lobby stairs after the performance,” she says. “Ever since then, waiting for a Company to come down after a show to meet and greet the audience is one of my favorite parts of a night at the ballet.”

A treasured experience was being invited to sing a Puccini aria, while Ballet Philippines took the stage. “I was so deeply honoured to share the stage with such wonderful talents that I promised myself that part of my first paycheck would go to BP…and here we are!”

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Lauren Liechtenstein (Photography courtesy of Yukie Sarto)
Lauren Liechtenstein (Photography courtesy of Yukie Sarto)

Lauren is currently involved with the Toe Shoe Circle, a group of young patrons connected by their support and love of the arts. “The Toe Shoe Circle started as a way to get to know the younger, but no less dedicated, supporters of Ballet Philippines, and to expand that small circle, increasing the number of those who actively support BP,” says Lauren.

The contribution of members go directly to the Toe Shoe fund of Ballet Philippines. “I was shocked to learn that each dancer in the company needs an average of eight to 10 pairs of shoes a season, a number that foreign dance companies easily quadruple,” says Lauren. “With each pair costing at least P6000, this is something the younger generation of patrons can at least use as a starting point.”

Nowadays, interest in the arts seems to be waning within younger people, and much more the idea of funding its continuance. According to Lauren, age shouldn’t be a deterrence. “Young people should start getting involved as soon as they start becoming interested in the arts. Exposure to performing arts isn’t just about taking dance or music classes. It’s about getting immersed in the culture and history, and getting involved, whether it’s making props for a recital or fundraising for a major company.” Even if you’ve never danced on stage, being a fan should be enough to want to contribute.

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The Toe Shoe Circle invites young patrons to support the arts
The Toe Shoe Circle invites young patrons to support the arts
Ballet Philippines Swan Lake (Photograph by Jojo Mamangun)
Ballet Philippines Swan Lake (Photograph by Jojo Mamangun)

While ballet and other performing arts might have had an elitist bent in the past, Lauren points out that the current re-emergence of the art scene through pop-up art fairs is a way of inviting a wider audience to examine and take part in art appreciation. “Recently, the younger generation has become more appreciative and involved in the art scene, with the popularity of pop-up art fairs and music festivals paving the way for a younger, more art and culture-conscious generation of Filipinos. The goal is to bring that consciousness to the ballet world, as well.”

Because The Toe Shoe Circle is in its early days, Lauren says immediate plans are for growing the membership, with the goal that everyone involved has the future of Ballet Philippines in mind. “The ultimate goal is to nurture the next generation of BP patrons, board members and supporters, thus, keeping the magic of ballet at the Cultural Center of the Philippines alive season after season.”

“I’ve always felt it’s important to give back and share your blessings. It’s important to share the opportunities we’ve been given, just as it’s important to preserve our culture and heritage, and keep it alive for generations to come,” says Lauren.

Benefits for the Toe Shoe Circle

GREAT SAVINGS – Members save 30% off single ticket prices, with additional tickets having 20% off single ticket purchases

THE BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE – Subscribers choose seats before tickets go on sale to the general public, and will receive renewal priority when requesting a date or seat (based on availability)

INVITATION TO INSIDER EVENTS – Meet the dancers, speak to choreographers and view works before everyone else

DISCOUNTS IN PARTNERSHIP ESTABLISHMENTS – Enjoy discounts and benefits when dining with partner establishments

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT IN THE SOUVENIR PROGRAM – Toe Shoe Circle members are listed in the program as a way of thanks for being loyal subscribers