I have been in the practice of dance for almost 40 years, and through the years, my principles on dance have changed and aged with me.
Earlier in my career, I focused on learning styles, forms and techniques. Being a Filipino native, I learned folk dances from various parts of the Philippines. I learned the mountain dances of the Igorot from the North, the rural dances from the Central Islands, and the communal practices, rituals of the southern Maranoa people from the South. Later on, I learned Western techniques such as ballet and modern dance, and successfully made a career in dance. Like most immigrants, I was fascinated about other cultures other than my own, and this curiosity led to a study of other cultural dance forms. Currently my journey is finding the connection between dances from my homeland to polyrhythmic dances stemming from the African diaspora.
At this point of my practice, I no longer focus intensely on technique. All the information is within my body and will emerge when called for. My trajectory is now to manifest what I am, an immigrant of color whose dance language is a cross-pollination of many forms. I approach virtuosity beyond physicality but through commanding space and time. My practice is to summon my audience, my village. Through presence, simple gesture, nuances, and ability to affect the space, I dance. My practice is beyond style, aesthetic, and form. It is my spiritual practice, my meditation, my release. Dance has been a way to evoke the spirits of my ancestral gods. Dance connects me to home, and home is a place where dance is healing. I embody a feeling that is internal and authentic. My “finish product” is to have the audience witness my process versus the audience witnessing my performance.
This is the gist of ongoing project, Ancestral Memories. How do I connect with my ancestors through my dance practice?