Stella Abrera in the Philippines

ABT Soloist Stella Abrera will perform the lead role in Giselle with Ballet Philippines at Manila’s Cultural Center for the Philippines on Friday. ABT Principal Dancer James Whiteside will perform the role of Albrecht. For Stella, who lived in the Philippines until she was four years of age, this is her first performance in her native country.

In addition to her performance, Stella is raising awareness of the plight of children devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Stella created Steps Forward for the Philippines, in partnership with Operation USA, to respond to the urgent need for educational access in Guiuan, the coastal municipality hit first and hardest by typhoon Haiyan late last year. From her Steps for the Cause website:

I am honored and excited to work with the artists of BP and to dance, for the first time, in the country of my heritage. But the true highlight of my visit to the Philippines will come after the performance, when I travel to Guiuan to survey Operation USA’s educational initiatives and present the local children with educational supplies.

Her goal is to raise $30,000 to provide educational tools and equipment for the children of Guiuan. Carla Escoda of the Huffington Post has an interesting article on Stella and her efforts in the Philippines.