Dancers leap on stage during Dance Xchange 2019 held in Roxas City, Capiz
Choreography, convergence
Rene S. Napeñas (The Philippine Star) - May 19, 2019 - 12:00am

Dance is the language of the soul and the recently concluded Dance Xchange: The Philippine International Dance Workshop and Festival bore witness to the communicative power of dance, with local and international performers in a week-long festivity held recently in Roxas City, Capiz.

Dance Xchange (DX) is one of the banner projects of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). Convening the DX in Capiz was festival director and head of the NCCA National Committee on Dance Shirley Halili-Cruz, together with NCCA deputy executive director Marichu Tellano as co-festival director, all made possible with the support of the local government of Capiz.

Dance workshops were held in communities throughout the province

DX commenced with a parade of delegates from the Capiz Provincial Capitol to the Villareal Stadium where delegates, visitors and partners were welcomed by an array of performances from local and international dance troupes.

With Capiz’s long-standing and strong support of arts and culture programs, as seen in Dayaw International Indigenous Peoples’ Festival held in the province last October 2018 and the National Filipino Food Month Visayas launch in April 2019, Capiz Governor Tony del Rosario expressed the province’s utmost support to the sector through hosting Dance Xchange’s series of workshops and dance concert in various venues within the province.

Dance Xchange delegates celebrate the successful event≠

Among these venues are the Villareal Stadium and Grounds and the Capiz Provincial Park for the dance concerts, Don Ynocencio A. del Rosario National High School Gymnasium for the dance workshops and various communities in select municipalities for its ourtreach programs.

“While notorious as the seafood capital, we are more than just seafood, as Capiz has much to offer especially in the preservation of the cultural and artistic heritage of the province and of the country in general. We are always reminded that this is our spirit and it makes us who we are. It is our breath of identity and having all of you here is an attestation that this spirit can only get stronger through time,” Del Rosario said.

Ballerinas from the Halili Cruz Dance Company take the stage

This year, Dance Xchange carried the theme “Cultural Connectivity through Dance.” The theme underscored the power of dance to bridge and unite communities, nations and inspire one movement across various dance forms and practitioners.

In her message, NCCA’s Tellano highlighted NCCA’s mandated of promoting not only of the traditional dance but dance across the different genres. “We [find] Dance Xchange as a venue where we would be able to present these different forms of dance not only with our local performers but also with our international friends and partners.” 

Among the international participants who joined the Dance Xchange were groups from Bangladesh, Belgium, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Taiwan and Thailand. Apart from the international delegation, there were 21 dance troupes from across the country in the four-day dance extravaganza.

Communities in Capiz and nearby provinces were able to learn basic dance movements in contemporary and traditional dances from international delegations in the two-day outreach workshops and performances hosted by select municipalities. The first day workshops were held in the island brangay of Olotayan in Roxas City and the town of Sapian in Capiz, and in Balete in the neighboring province of Aklan.

On the second day, communities in the towns of Pilar, Panay and Sigma in Capiz received instruction from select dance troupes for the workshops.

The annual Dance Xchange is the Philippine celebration of International Dance Day held every April 29. The International Dance Day (IDD) was created by the Dance Committee of the International Theater Institute-UNESCO which marks the birthdate of Jean-Georges Noverre, the creator of modern ballet. The IDD aims to promote dance in all its forms across the world, to make people aware of the value of dance, share the joy of dance with others and enable the dance community to promote their work on a broad scale, so that governments and opinion leaders are aware of the value and importance of dance and support it. Events and festivals are held all over the world to promote dance, thus this Philippine celebration.

Dance Xchange is also held in accordance with Presidential Proclamation No. 154, declaring the last week of April as National Dance Week.  The program aims to enhance knowledge and skills of the dancers, dance teachers and choreographers on dances of the different countries as creative expression of their culture. With the number of international delegates participating, Dance Xchange also sought to provide a venue for exchange of ideas and showcase the unique dances of each participating country.

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