Manila Cinderella: Lisa Macuja's "Project Ballet Futures" saves the lives of children growing up in poorer regions of the developing world, including Jessa Balote from the neighborhood of Aroma. (Photo: Ballet Manila)

Manila Cinderella: Lisa Macuja’s “Project Ballet Futures” saves the lives of children growing up in poorer regions of the developing world, including Jessa Balote from the neighborhood of Aroma. (Photo: Ballet Manila)

Philippines Ballerina Produces Manila Cinderella

Lisa Macuja, considered the prima ballerina of the Philippines, is being credited with turning Jessa Balote into a Manila Cinderella.

Macuja is funding a dance scholarship called “Project Ballet Futures” directed at giving some of the country’s poorest students such as Balote the opportunity to receive an outstanding education to change their lives.

The program selected 10-year old Balote in 2008 to enroll in one of the country’s best ballet schools and now four years later, she is being touted as the Manila Cinderella for her performances in many of the finest ballet productions ever launched in the Philippines, including “Cinderella”, the story from which she received her nickname, mirroring the good luck of the protagonist who rises from a lowly and poor lot in life to become a real life princess. Balote recently flew for the first time in her young life to compete in Hong Kong at the 2012 Asian Grand Pix dance competiton.