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Home NEWS Filipiniana Panasadiyaw: Ayala Malls Dance Concert

Panasadiyaw: Ayala Malls Dance Concert

Bravo! Celebrating the Filipino, the Ayala group's salute to Filipino artistry and ingenuity, returns to the national stage following its successful and highly esteemed debut in 2008. The months-long festival—comprised of a series of activities ranging from dance concerts, musical performances, art exhibitions, and literary symposiums—is one among the Ayala group's orchestrated efforts at cultivating a greater sense of Filipino identity and national pride through the arts.

Under the leadership of its chairman emeritus Jaime Zobel de Ayala, the industrialist widely known as much for his patronage of the local arts as for his business acumen, the Ayala group has long championed Filipino artists. Bravo! is the latest platform by which the Ayala group shares with the public its belief in and admiration of Philippine artistry, in the hopes of enhancing our own understanding of ourselves and enriching our lives.

In August the Ayala Malls, in cooperation with the Filipinas Heritage Library, organized a dance concert to remind Filipinos of their rich dance heritage. Entitled Panasadiyaw, the event featured new work by two of the most talented young choreographers in the country today—Max Luna III and Dwight Rodrigazo.

Panasadiyaw is formed by combining the words "mga pananaw, mga sayaw, isang diwa." The coined term expresses the way different thoughts and experiences can be distilled through dance, and how dance strengthens the ties that bind a family, a community, and a nation. Through dance, Filipinos can bridge distances—geographical, political, emotional—that separate them from one another.

For Panasadiyaw, Bacolod-based Dwight Rodrigazo presented his first major choreographic work, Karga Tapas, a piece deeply rooted in the experiences of the sakadas or sugarcane plantation workers on the island of Negros.

Karga Tapas evokes the bustle of activity among sakadas during the milling season: the piece's sharp arm and hand movements call to mind the cutting of sugarcane, while its footwork expresses the physical toil inherent to the act of gathering the cut sugarcanes and loading them onto trucks, which will then bring them to sugar mills. Even the masks worn by the dancers mimic the sunburned faces of sakadas, as they spend hours and hours under the sun. Karga Tapas, which had its world premiere at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2008, received critical acclaim.

Sugar is important to the identity of Negros—it is inextricably bound with the history of the island and the daily life of Negrenses. Through Karga Tapas, Rodrigazo, together with the members of his own Dance=Pull Company, have shown the country and the rest of the world the richness of Negros history and culture.

At the same time, Rodrigazo seeks to promote dance among the youth in Bacolod and the rest of Negros. Founded in 2006, the Dwight Rodrigazo Dance-Pull School of Performing Arts provides a comprehensive dance education to some of the most gifted young dancers in Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.

Meanwhile, Max Luna III's piece, entitled Pangadamlong Bulan, was inspired by the pangalay, a centuries-old dance form that originated from the Sulu archipelago. Pangalay, which came from the Samal/Tausug word mangalay ("to dance"), was strongly influenced by Hindu culture—Hinduism having been a significant presence in the country even before the arrival of the Spaniards.

Pangadamlong Bulan comes from the words "pang-alay, damdamin, alon ng buwan." Closely following the traditional pangalay, Luna's piece is richly meditative, its subtle movements suggested the gentle lapping of waves, and relaxed, conscious breathing. With eyes closed, Luna's dancers extend their limbs and open up their arms and fingers, indicating expansiveness and a kind of oneness with time and space.

Luna—whose modern dance training has led him to perform with such prestigious dance companies as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal—fused modern dance techniques with the traditional movements of the pangalay. This fusion of tradition and innovation helped Luna produce a work that possesses the solemnity and elegance of the traditional pangalay with the energy and dynamism of modern dance.

Sadly, the pangalay is slowly disappearing in Sulu. Pangadamlong Bulan is Luna's contribution to generating awareness of the need to recover the dance form from oblivion; it is also his way, after years of success overseas, of giving back to the Philippines and reaffirming his ties with the country of his birth. The piece was performed by a group of young dancers who came from different dance troupes, brought together by a passion for dance. The Kalayo group, one of the more popular world-music performers in the country today, provided the musical accompaniment for the piece.

Panasadiyaw is another expression of Ayala Malls' commitment to championing Philippine art and culture. Through the performances of Pangadamlong Bulan and Karga Tapas, Ayala Malls seek to foster in Filipinos a greater appreciation of the country's cultural and artistic legacy.