Now on its 10th year, the longest-running Arts Month flagship project organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, is aiming to enjoin some 35 Philippine dance groups to participate in the event and beef up audience numbers.
Considered as “one of the most-attended, widely successful, and much anticipated event” every February, Sayaw Pinoy 2012 aims to recognize the traditional roots of Philippine dances, make quality performances accessible to the audience especially in far-flung places, and provide new and upcoming dance groups ample exposure.
Shirley Halili-Cruz, who chairs the National Committee on Dance and is artistic director of Quezon City Ballet Halili Cruz Ballet Company, says the dance festival also takes pride in the number of people attending each show.
“Last year alone, with 25 dance groups and 41 performances, we had around 2,000 in attendance at each of the 28 venues,” Halili-Cruz said.
In one presentation alone, the audience would usually be treated to a variety of dance forms including indigenous/traditional dance, folkdance, ballet, neoclassical dance, modern/jazz, contemporary and hip-hop.
Participating dance groups
Through the years Sayaw Pinoy has solicited the participation of Bayanihan, the Philippine national folkdance company; Ballet Philippines; Ballet Manila, Philippine Ballet Theater; Douglas Nierras Powerdance; Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group; Quezon City Ballet/Halili Cruz Ballet Company; Airdance; UP Dance Company; UE Silanganan Dance Troupe; Camellon Dance Troupe; PNU Kislap Sining Dance Troupe; Lahing Batangan Dance Troupe; Sining Bulakenyo; Kapampangan Sinukwan Dance Troupe; TUP Kalinangan Dance Troupe; Next to Innocence; Professional Dance Teachers of the Philippines; Annie Divinagracia-Satorio Performing Arts; Quezon City Performing Arts, MEV Dance Company; Sining Kumintang Dance Troupe; Double J Dance Group; Poseidon Dance Group; Bungkos Palay Dance Troupe; Madayaw Cultural Dance Troupe; Kahayag Dance Company; San Carlos University Dance Troupe; St. Louis University Dance Troupe, Earthsavers, FEU Dance Troupe; ZSNHS Melengas Dance Ensemble; Kaagan Theater Collective; Irong-irong Dance Troupe; and Kaagan Dance Ensemble.
“I believe it is important to create more opportunities for all dance and ballet companies and groups to get together and perform because in doing so, we learn from each other and share the beauty of our art with one another,” said prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, artistic director of Ballet Manila. “We also bring a diverse, interesting and entertaining mix of dance numbers to [a wider net of] audience [here in the Philippines].”
Ballet Manila’s first performance in Sayaw Pinoy was when it was barely a year old as a company. It has not turned down an invitation to perform in Sayaw Pinoy since.
No ordinary task
It is not that easy to hold a show in remote places when basketball courts would serve as the stage; a good sound system may not be available; and the dancers—for lack of available accommodation—sleep in kitchens or schoolrooms.
“I think that is what sustains Sayaw Pinoy through the years—the passion to promote arts and dance, the passion to share an event that uplifts the spirit,” Cruz said. “If you hear how the audience appreciate the government effort to reach them through this program, you will forget the fatigue, the inconveniences and the difficulties. This was especially apparent when Sayaw Pinoy was brought to Sultan Kudarat and Midsayap in Cotabato a few years earlier.”
Concerts at the Park have been held since Feb. 5 and will continue on Feb 12 and 18 with a finale show on the 26th. The regional tours started with several places in Davao City last week and will be held simultaneously in more venues throughout the month: Feb. 6, Bukidnon State University and Central Mindanao University in Bukidnon, and Riverbanks in Marikina City; Feb. 10, Oton Public Plaza in Iloilo City, Leganes Multi-Purpose Hall, Anilao Public Plaza, and Paco Market; Feb. 12, SM Iloilo City and Quezon City Circle; Feb. 13, Roxas City Sport Complex and Star Mall Alabang; Feb. 14, Global City, Taguig; Feb. 15, Valenzuela City; Feb. 18, Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte; Feb. 19, Ozamis City; Feb. 20, Pagadian City and Aurora; Feb. 23, Paracale, Bicol; Feb. 25, Lucena City and Tayabas in Quezon; and Feb. 26, Lyceum of the Philippines in Batangas City.