'Ballerina of the people' gets National Artist nomination

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has nominated prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde for a National Artist Award for Dance for being a "ballerina of the people."

She has written the National Commission for Culture and the Arts formally nominating Macuja-Elizalde as a national artist. She said Macuja-Elizalde has brought "ballet closer to the hearts of the Filipino masses through outreach performance tours throughout the country."

"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 of National Artist," Santiago also said in a resolution filed in support of the nomination.

Santiago said Macuja-Elizalde has received national and international recognition for her contribution "to ballet and society." Among her awars are the Pearl of the Orient Award and the Gawad Buhay Awards for the Performing Arts in 2008, and the Order of Friendship from Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2001.

She was also among the Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World in 1997 and received the Ten outstanding Young Filipino Award in 1995, Santiago said.

The senator added Macuja-Elizalde was also the first Filipino ballerina to bring home a laureate prize: a silver medal from the 1987 Asia-Pacific Ballet Competition in Tokyo.

There have been calls to give comedian Dolphy a National Artist award and Santiago made clear that her nomination of Macuja-Elizalde will not affect that.
"I strongly support Dolphy’s nomination for National Artist for Cinema. I am also nominating Lisa for Dance. They both deserve to be National Artists, because they represent the best in their respective fields," she said.

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