International ballet stars to converge in Manila for ‘American Stars Gala’
Dancers Lia Cirio, Junxiong Zhao, Hannah Bettes, Yuriko Kajiya, and Jared Matthews are performing at the Aliw Theater in July

BALLET STARS. 5 international ballet dancers are performing in Manila. Photos courtesy of Ballet Manila

MANILA, Philippines – Some of the fastest-rising stars in the international ballet scene are coming to Manila to perform in a show co-directed by prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde of Ballet Manila and George Birkadze of Boston Ballet.

The show, American Stars Gala, will be held at the Aliw Theater in Pasay on July 7, and will feature up-and-coming dancers from Ballet Manila’s international partners. Among them are Lia Cirio, Junxiong Zhao, Hannah Bettes, Yuriko Kajiya, and Jared Matthews.

Half-Filipino Lia is principal dancer at the Boston Ballet, and has danced classical, neo-classical and contemporary roles for the company. Along with her brother Jeffrey Cirio, she started a contemporary dance company, the Cirio Collective.

Also with the Boston Ballet, Junxiong counts many international awards to his name. The Chinese-born dancer trained at the Washington Ballet Studio and Ballet Arizona, and has performed principal roles at the Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and the Sleeping Beauty.

Along with Lia and Junxiong, Hannah also represents the Boston Ballet, where she is second soloist and has danced under the choreography of Marius Petipa and William Forsythe. She has performed at the Buckingham Palace as a Nadia Nernia scholar at the Royal Ballet, and also has several dancing awards.

Born in Nagoya, Japan, Yuriko went on to train at the Shanghai Ballet School and eventually win the renowned Prix de Lausanne Scholarship which allowed her to train at the National Ballet School of Canada. She is now principal dancer at the Houston Ballet.

Jared was a protege of renowned ballet teacher David Howard, and became part of the American Ballet Theater Studio Company before joining the Houston Ballet, where he is now principal dancer. His dancing credits with the company include Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, the Prince in The Nutcracker, and Solor on La Bavadère.

The 5 international dancers will perform with Ballet Manila company artists and special guests, including Joseph Philips and Katherine Barkman.

Tickets for the show are available on Ticketworld. –