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12/11/2010: Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company regales audience in Manassas

November 12, 2010, Washington, DC – Officers and staff of the Embassy of the Philippines with their families joined the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company at the backstage of the Hylton Performing Arts Center when they performed here on November 10, 2010, as part of its US Tour. The Bayanihan was led by Dance Director and Choreographer Ferdinand B. Jose (seventh from right) and Music Director Melito S. Vale Cruz (eighth from right).

November 12, 2010, Washington, DC – The world-renowned Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company opened the 2010-2011 season of the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Virginia with a performance on November 10, 2010 at the 1,000-seat Merchant Hall

Multi-awarded and a true national treasure of the Philippines, Bayanihan has brought the rich and diverse culture of the Philippines to more than 700 cities around the world in the last fifty years through dance. The group is currently in the United States for a series of performances which started in San Francisco in late September.

Performing with indigenous accompaniment, lithe and extraordinary grace and stunning costumes, the Bayanihan introduced a fresh repertoire that displayed unique Filipino traditions as well as social values that Filipinos hold dearly.

The evening opened with the folk dances that define the regional groups in the Philippines such as the Tinikling (depicts how the bird, “tikling”, hops to escape bamboo traps), Maglalatik (mock battle between Christians and Muslims over “latik” or coconut milk residue) and Singkil (tells the story of how a princess manages to avoid stepping on trees and rocks felled by earthquake), among others.

Through creative choreography and seamless execution, the Bayanihan transported the audience to certain towns and cities in the Philippines. Zapatero depicted the famous shoemakers of Marikina, the lively Labandera showed excited young ladies chatting while doing their laundry by the river and the incredible Bangkero which literally means boatman, portrayed the pearl divers of Mindanao.

In the second set, the Bayanihan displayed the Spanish influences in Philippine dance and music through dances such as En la Luneta, Sacramonte de Intramuros and Habanero de dilao.

The crowd favorite was the different tableaus representing masterpieces by Philippine National Artist Fernando Amorsolo. A tribute to Filipino women, this set showed the painter’s high regard for the beauty of the Filipina.

This US tour shows how Bayanihan has successfully reinvented itself to keep its appeal to varied audiences. The National Dance Company of the Philippines has proven yet again its astounding power on the stage.

Those who missed the show last November 10 may still catch Bayanihan on November 13 and 14 at the George Mason University Center for Arts in Fairfax, Virginia. -- END