There will be a confluence of the arts starting April 29, bringing together the worlds of dance, literature and visual arts, and the significance of heritage.
This was announced during a recent conference at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA) in Intramuros, Manila, in honor of International Dance Day (April 29); National Heritage Month (May); and the Bayaning Bayan project.
Highlight of the latter is a painting contest about heroes from 14 folk literatures categorized into Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao clusters. Deadline for submission is on May 28 (log on to www.ncca.gov.ph).
Performers during the press launch were folk dancers from Lakandula High School, and contemporary dancers from the Lyceum and Philippine Normal Universities.
Prima ballerina Lisa Macuja, artistic director of Ballet Manila (BM), told the press launch that while BM often staged classical ballet shows because this was what their audiences “love to watch,” the company also encouraged Philippine music and dance, as shown by their successful “Lola Basyang” series.
She gave due credit to National Artists Leonor Orosa-Goquingco and Alice Reyes for initiating this.
Asked about her art, Macuja, speaking in formal Tagalog interspersed with English, cited “ang kabuluhan na gustong ipahiwatig [the meaning that a dance number would like to convey]. The more you know the character, the music [she mentioned ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as an example], the more it becomes clearer to you and the audience.”
Panelist Josefina Guillen said: “There should be something that you want to express, not just technique.”
On the Bayaning Bayan project, Galileo Zafra said the epics and their heroes “have a lot to say about what is happening today, like traveling and exile. They are very influential to our way of thinking.”
Panelist Lucille Isberto saw heritage “as building blocks for development of a decent society. We go back to the Constitution. How can we use heritage to develop these places. For example, Cebu [City] is napaka-progressive, but Cebu is one of our poorest provinces.”
She expressed a desire to know what heritage meant to the informal settlers: “It’s about time that we look at the marginalized sector. This might be a good time to ask what is their heritage. These are the questions that need to be asked.”