Stella Abrera’s legend precedes her. In 1996, at 17, she joined the American Ballet Theatre, a leading ballet company in the United States. Starting as an apprentice, she worked her way up until she was made a soloist in 2001, a title she held for the next 14 years. Abrera then made headlines—and possibly certain history books—in 2015, when, following potentially career-ending physical injuries, she was promoted to principal dancer, making her the first Filipino-American principal ballerina at ABT.




This year, Abrera, whose dancing has been described as fluid, full, and poetic, is gearing up for a homecoming of sorts with a performance in the country in which she was born. In partnership with the Ayala Foundation, the event will held in time for the 20th anniversary of the organization’s flagship education program, the CENTEX Schools, and serve as a fundraiser.

CENTEX, which stands for Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education, stays true to the Ayala Foundation’s strong commitment to community development by providing a holistic education to its intelligent scholars from underprivileged communities in Tondo and Batangas.

So far, over 1,500 students have graduated from the CENTEX schools. Additionally, in hopes of extending the holistic educational experience to different parts of the Philippines, a teacher-training program has helped more than 800 teachers and principals from 20 public schools become better educators.



Abrera will be joined by fellow American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Isabella Boylston (above), and seven other ABT dancers: Alban Lendorf, Arron Scott, Blaine Hoven, Catherine Hurlin, Gillian Murphy, Roman Zhurbin, and Jose Sebastian. 




Sofia Zobel-Elizalde, who serves as committee chair for the benefit performance, had been a ballerina herself and founded the STEPS Dance Studio to continue her passion and share it with others. As the CENTEX schools encourage individuality and creativity in their students, particularly gifted students are also able to attend classes at the dance studio and given opportunities to hone their talents.

Abrera and Zobel-Elizalde conceived the idea for the benefit performance after discussing that the prima ballerina would be performing a full-length ballet in Hong Kong, and could stop by the Philippines for something that’s exciting and doubles as a good cause. Joining Abrera in the intimate production are eight other members of ABT: Alban Lendorf, Arron Scott, Blaine Hoven, Catherine Hurlin, Gillian Murphy, Isabella Boylston, Roman Zhurbin, and Jose Sebastian.

With production design headed by award-winning Gino Gonzales and renditions of much-loved ballet classics, “An Intimate Evening with Stella Abrera and American Ballet Stars” is sure to bring whimsy, inspiration, and wonder to audience members both young and old. Allow yourself to be enchanted, and to give back.

“An Intimate Evening with Stella Abrera and American Ballet Stars” will be staged at the Maybank Performance Arts Theater in Bonifacio Global City on April 5 to 7. Tickets are available at TicketWorld.

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