Romance, adventure and comedy in Ballet Manila’s Le Corsaire 

Audiences can look forward to a swashbuckling adventure that highlights the excellent skills of its male and female dancers in this colorful, dynamic and entertaining opening salvo for the company’s 26th performance season.

Principal dancers Abigail Oliveiro as Medora, Mark Sumaylo as Conrad, Joshua Enciso as Ali, in Ballet Manila’s Le Corsaire

Principal dancers Abigail Oliveiro as Medora, Mark Sumaylo as Conrad, Joshua Enciso as Ali, in Ballet Manila’s Le Corsaire

An exciting tale that takes audiences on a journey to the Mediterranean coast, a colorful bazaar, a mysterious pirate’s cave,  and a magnificent pasha’s palace -- narrated through excellent ballet dancing.  These and more await theater goers who will come and watch Ballet Manila’s production of Le Corsaire (The Pirate) at the Aliw Theater on February 24, 2024 at 8pm and February 25, 2024 at 5pm.

Le Corsaire centers on the story of Conrad who captains a pirate ship with his faithful crew, sailing across the high seas on a mission to rescue his love, Medora, from the hands of Lankendem, a slave trader who is selling girls in a busy market place.

While the story is a ballet classic, Ballet Manilaartistic director and chief executive officer Lisa MacujaElizalde,who has portrayed the role of Medora countless times, confessed she has always wanted to re-work Le Corsaire. This is because from her own experience in dancing the role of Medora, she always found her character to be a damsel in distress. She shared, “I always thought her character to be a bit weak, waiting for Conrad to save her; even getting captured twice!”

In Ballet Manila’s re-telling the story, MacujaElizalde puts forward an empowered Medora, putting the spotlighton the character’s inner courage to endure challenges, all in the name of love.

More importantly, for MacujaElizalde, the main draw and importance of re-telling the story was giving all the main characters their moments to shine.

Principal dancers Mark Sumaylo as Conrad, Joshua Enciso as Ali, and Romeo Peralta as Birbanto, in Ballet Manila’s Le Corsaire

“There are many principal characters that will get to show off their technical and virtuosic feats as the ballet unfolds. The ballet doesn't just depend on Medora and Conrad or on one principal couple, unlike Don Quixote or Swan Lake for example. Le Corsaire features Medora, Conrad, Gulnara, Lankadem, Ali and Birbanto - five principal roles.”

Although the story centers on these five important roles, she also puts the focus on the supporting characters who make the story just as impactful and memorable. For one, a wealthy pasha (high-ranking officer), whom Lankendem sold Medora to, adds comedic moments to the story.

The master choreographer in Macuja-Elizalde has also given beautiful soloist roles for three ballerinas in The Odalisques as well as build up strong male dancers as the pirates, and a beautiful corps de ballet in The Living Garden Naila Waltz.

The fresh take on Le Corsaire also includes changing the order of the main dances to build up the story further. “I felt that there should be a building up of the main dances – The Odalisques coming in the third act for me was a bit anti-climactic.”

Her version will have heroes flying through the air in their first entrance instead of the original version where they are seen lying on the ground post shipwreck.

A romantic moment between Conrad (Mark Sumaylo) and Medora (Abigail Oliveiro, in Ballet Manila’s Le Corsaire

“This is why I am very excited to be able to do exactly this – create my own version of Le Corsaire,” she added. “It’s a ballet that has everything. A journey to the Mediterranean coast, a bazaar, a pirate’s cave, a pasha’s palace. It has something for everyone!”

One of the strengths of Ballet Manila has always been its male and female corps – and she feels that they have once again highlighted this in Le Corsaire.

“Although it’s a very physically demanding ballet, it is also very exciting, dynamic and entertaining. It’s a ballet for the whole family to enjoy!” she promised. 

For tickets, visit Ticketworld (  or call 8891 9999. To know more about Ballet Manila and its shows, visit

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