“The Undying Swan”

I’m having a field day watching the ballet greats on YouTube:  Anna Pavlova, Galina Ulanova, Maya Plisetskaya, Margot Fonteyn, Natalia Makarova, Svetlana Zakharova, Rudolf Nureyev, Yuri Soloviev, Fernando Bujones, Mikhail Baryshnikov, et. al..  I was simply born too late to be able to watch them perform live in their prime.

Watching the great performances reminded me of [ yet ] another funny story from Old Iloilo…

True to their “sweet” nature, the heiresses of Old Iloilo were invariably taught to play the piano and to dance the ballet, among several other social graces.  As befitting the daughters of the province’s two grandest families, the daughters of the Lopezes and the Ledesmas were subjected — oftentimes tortured — with piano and ballet lessons, with many of the other “social” arts thrown in.

One of the Lopez ladies [ famous for her unique and highly personal style of maquillage and coiffure ]  did like to dance the ballet, enough to do it for years.  She even went to New York and studied at a renowned ballet school [ I forget which one ] to hone her dance skills.  To cap her arduous training,  She learned to dance “The Dying Swan,” a solo act choreographed in 1905 by Michel Fokine with and for Anna Pavlova, set to the music of “Le Cygne” by Camille Saint-Saens. 

Back in Iloilo, the proud ballerina announced to Everybody that she would dance “The Dying Swan” at an evening performance.  And so Everybody, curious to see what she had learned in faraway New York, came to watch her.

Everybody was initially beguiled, and quite teary, at her interpretation of “The Dying Swan.”  There were already sniffles heard in the audience.  But somehow, The Swan was taking too long to Die.  Much too long.  The Swan kept on flapping her wings and bowing, about to expire, when she would flap her wings and bow again, and again…!!!

A smart-alecky male friend of The Swan heckled from the audience:  “Manang!!!  Dapat mapatay ka na!!!  Hay, ka-dugay man sa imo!!!   Nga-a indi ka pa ya mapatay???!!!  Sige dalian na!!!”  [ “Hey, Lady!!!  It’s time for you to die!!!  You’re taking too long!!!  Why don’t you die already???!!!  C’mon!!!” ]

The crowd started to snicker and giggle… But The Swan, unperturbed, proceeded with her Death slowly, slowly, slowly…

Now, that’s what’s called Poise!!!





  1. Nona Pimentel said,

    February 23, 2012 at 10:32 am

    To Zippo,
    I remember one of my aunt’s recollections when IRM visited our city. My Aunt was among those ‘lucky’ to have a private encounter in the very hotel room IRM was supposed to have stayed for a few hours’ rest. Well to cut the story, my aunt who stayed behind for an appointment with somebody else after IRM left with her entourage, found out from one of the personnel of the hotel, that IRM gifted her with her own diamond ring…not really big but enough to line one’s coffer for a while….probably for lack of available cash in her wallet as is almost always the case with the ubberrich, she gave her ring as a tip to the speechless and overwhelmed personnel….

  2. tisoy said,

    March 8, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    hope to see the decadent lifestyle of old iloilo relived. it was nostalgic to have opulent balls at nelly gardens. manong oskie gave one in honor of his granddaughter who was chosen as jaro carnival queen a few years ago.

  3. tisoy said,

    March 8, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    she’s manang *******. i recall tita baby orosa telling us that she and tita leonor had ballet classes with manang ***** at nelly gardens.

  4. clementis said,

    February 4, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    the undead swan…… is she hort*** L-S?

  5. Garganta Inflamada said,

    November 22, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    Huh? This isn’t Meldy posting, is it? **bug-eyes**


  6. Syzygy said,

    November 21, 2007 at 5:37 pm


    His unknown passion for her was trying to over ride her emotion that was desiring for perfection.

    Her perseverance allowed all to witness what true beauty is all about.

    Portrayed by her eloquent display of what true love is for the love of life.

    And the total submission for what lies beyond when the opportune time for the farewell of the spirit from the flesh is made manifest.

  7. zippo said,

    November 21, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    I had read that Nureyev considered that his one and only true friend was his dancing partner — Margot Fonteyn whose personality was the exact polar opposite of Nureyev’s! He had said that one look at her eyes and or one movement of her body and he knew exactly what Fonteyn was thinking. He was apparently emotionally, but obviously NOT sexually, enamored with Fonteyn whom he considered his soul mate.

    Nureyev even helped Fonteyn pay for her costly but losing battle with cancer.

    There was this story about Nureyev and IRM: IRM was said to have gifted Nureyev with a rather large diamond. It was said that he promptly returned it to Mrs. Marcos after telling her that “the stone is too small.”

    Z 🙂

  8. Garganta Inflamada said,

    November 20, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    Anita Kane? 🙂

    BTW, I did get a chance to see Rudy Nureyev in the flesh, so to speak, when he was on a double bill at the New York City Opera in the early 80s. He was the “star” attraction in the “Le Bourgeouis Gentilhomme” half of the show ( I forget now what the other half was). Quelle pendejo! He just romped through the whole thing like it was a rehearsal. I mean — this was the GREAT Nureyev?? Sure fooled me ( I forget now whether he had already been diagnosed with AIDS or not; or he was in early self-denial. )

    Anyway, it all makes sense now because on a very recent PBS documentary about him, this guy was ALL about himself. He was so frickin’ self-focused that he never really formed any worthwhile, lasting relationships. And it certainly showed that one time I saw him. We should’ve asked for our admission back; but this was before it became justifiable to do so.


  9. November 19, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    No, it’s not Tita Sony Lopez-Gonzalez.

    Someone older.

    Toto Gonzalez

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