Dumaguete wins world dance festival in South Korea
Raffy T. Cabristante (The Freeman) - July 17, 2018 - 12:00am

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines — A dance troupe from Dumaguete City on Wednesday was named grand champion of the International Youth Fellowship’s (IYF) World Cultural Dance Festival held in South Korea.

The 32-member Sidlakan Dance Company (SDC), which represented both Dumaguete City and the Philippines, bested 15 other contingents from across the globe in the annual dance competition that aims to showcase different world cultures.

For its victory, the SDC received a cash prize of $5,000 (P267,000) and a glass trophy. Trailing behind the Philippines were gold medal winner West Africa, silver medalist China, and the bronze medalist contingent from the United States of America.

The SDC, consisting of freelance dancers, artists, professionals, and students from Dumaguete City, showcased its winning performance, called Fiesta Sa Nayon, which was a dance portrayal of the annual fiestas held in the country and its significance to Filipinos, said Vic June Nocete, the dance company’s artistic director.

“The tradition of the Fiesta Sa Nayon dates back centuries to the rural areas and towns in the Philippines. During Fiesta Sa Nayon, Filipinos would gather for a fiesta in the middle of the town to celebrate a good harvest, and it would be a particular time for the people to focus on their neighbors, family, and friends,” he said.

It was the second time a dance company from Dumaguete won the international competition, the first one of which was in the 2015 edition of the festival, also held in South Korea, when the Dumaguete-based Kahayag Dance Company also represented the Philippines and was named grand champion.

Nocete noted that he considers this victory also his second one in the dance festival, having been one of the choreographers during Kahayag’s bid for the championship in 2015. “(We were given a chance to become) good ambassadors of our country, I think that’s the best prize we got,” he said.

The road to the championship, however, was not an easy one. Aside from undergoing a rigid screening process, the contingent also lacked funds to shoulder the members’ expenses for airfare, costumes, and props for their performance.

Local officials who were among those who gave money to help the SDC in its victorious journey were Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo, Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Remollo, Siaton town Mayor Fritz Diaz, and the Provincial Tourism Office.

Nocete added that the SDC preparations took three months, taking for themselves the strategy and mindset: “I believe that if you have a desire to win and bring honor to your country, you can do everything.” (FREEMAN)

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