Press Release
December 4, 2012

Senate nominates Macuja-Elizalde for National Artist

The Senate today adopted a resolution nominating Lisa Macuja-Elizalde for National Artist for Dance in recognition of her contributions to Philippine Culture and Arts, specifically in Philippine Ballet.

Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, principal author and sponsor of Senate Resolution 910, said Macuja-Elizalde deserves to be recognized for bringing ballet closer to the hearts of the Filipino masses.

"As artistic director of Ballet Manila, Majuca-Elizalde led outreach performance tours in more than 45 cities and towns throughout the Philippines. She is a rare gem, a talent that comes only once in a lifetime," Santiago said in her resolution.

"No Filipina ballerina has yet surpassed the recognition and pride Lisa Macuja-Elizalde has brought to the Philippines. She is the embodiment of talent, creativity and imagination, technical proficiency of the highest order, grace and humanity that makes her worthy of the title National Artist," she added.

Macuja-Elizalde is the first Filipina prima ballerina and first foreign soloist who ever joined the Kirov Ballet, a 260-year old dance institution, in 1984. She is also the vice-chairperson of the Philippine Unesco National Commission, directress and faculty member of Ballet Manila School and former commissioner of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women.

As a scholar of the former Union of Soviet Socialists Republic (USSR) Ministry of Culture, Macuja-Elizalde entered the prestigious Vaganova Choreographic Institute (now Academy of Russian Ballet) in Saint Petersburg in 1982.

She graduated top of her class in 1984 and became the first foreigner to be invited to join the Kirov Ballet. Macuja-Elizalde returned to Manila in 1986 heeding her dream to share her love for dance with Filipinos.

Macuja-Elizalde has received numerous national and international citations and recognitions, including the Pearl of the Orient Award, 2008 ; Gawad Buhay Awards for the Performing Arts, outstanding female lead performance in a dance production, 2008; Order of International Friendship awarded by Russian President Vladimir Putin, 2001; Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP U.S.A.), 1997; Outstanding Young Filipino (TOYF), 1995; Prize for Artistry by the House of Diaghilev in Moscow, 1992; Outstanding Women in Nation's Service (TOWNS), 1989; Quezon City's Outstanding Citizen Award, 1989 and Manila's Patnubay ng Kalinangan at Sining, 1988. (PILAR S. MACROHON, PRIB)

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