MEMBERS of Airdance, the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, Galaw Company Dance Theater, and Ballet Manila came together for a preview of the International Dance Day Festival. — BRONTË H. LACSAMANA

OVER 500 dancers will take to the stage in a week-long celebration of International Dance Day (IDD) in Makati. The Samsung Performing Arts Theater will be hosting the 1st IDD Festival on April 24 to 28 in Circuit, Makati.

The festival aims to represent “a kaleidoscope of genres, from folkloric traditions to urban beats, classical elegance, and contemporary styles — plus an engaging workshop focused on dance in film,” Samsung Performing Arts Theater managing director Christopher Mohnani said at an April 11 press conference and preview at the JZA Hall in Circuit, Makati. “The idea really is to galvanize audiences through dance.”

The theme, “Dance for All,” highlights how the various performances will showcase the art of movement and music. IDD, which is held every year on April 29, was started in 1982 by the Dance Committee of the International Theater Institute-UNESCO as a tribute to French ballet master Jean-Georges Noverre. Now, it makes its way to the Philippines by tapping over 500 artists to represent the best of local dance talent from various genres during the weeklong festival.

“There’s post-pandemic revenge theater watching now. There are so many productions all at the same time, and all of them are selling out. There is no reason that can’t happen for dance,” Mr. Mohnani said, noting that Filipino dancers and choreographers are fantastic and deserve to be seen more.

On April 25, a tapestry of Filipino folk dance will be unveiled. This includes the graceful dance “Bungad,” choreographed by Nicole Primero of Airdance and performed by Carlos Deriada, Jr.

The Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group will also present “Pindulas” that day. It is a portrayal of courtship rituals of Basilan’s Yakan indigenous people. The dance is known for its languorous “broken arm” movements and Indian influences.

Other groups gracing the stage that day are Bayanihan, The National Folk Dance Company, the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, The Kalilayan Folkloric Group, and the PNU Kislap Sining Dance Troupe.

On April 26, it will be hip-hop’s turn to dance to the rhythm. The featured street dance crews are UPeepz, Sayawatha, The Crew, Junior Electro Groovers, Mixed Nuts, TPM (Team Package Makers), Femme MNL, Dancehall Manila, and VPeepz.

Fans of this genre will have something to look forward to since each of the groups will be debuting completely new choreographies.

“That’s why the street dance gala is not here at the preview, because they’re still coming up with their numbers,” Mr. Mohnani told BusinessWorld.

The ballet segment on April 27 will be special as it brings together the biggest ballet companies in the Philippines for the first time in eight years.

“We were able to do this a long time ago through DANCE MNL, organized by Paul Morales of Ballet Philippines. We all got together and did Giselle and it was a great initiative,” Ballet Manila artistic director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, speaking at the press conference, said of the event eight years ago.

“I feel that International Dance Day Fest is taking a step way above that because this is including everybody else,” she added.

Mr. Mohnani said that Ballet Manila will grace the stage with a pas de deux, Alice Reyes Dance Philippines will do a contemporary piece, Philippine Ballet Theater will perform a tried-and-tested Filipino dance combining folk and ballet, and Ballet Philippines will perform a modern theatrical dance.

Other companies which will perform at the ballet gala are the Hong Kong Ballet, the Steps Dance Project, the Association of Ballet Academies in the Philippines, the Hope Dance Academy Philippines, and the Halili Cruz School of Dance.

On April 28, it is contemporary dance’s turn with Galaw Co. Dance Theater’s piece “Tahan Na,” directed and choreographed by PJ Rebullida and performed by Abby Bonifacio, as one of the dances.

The Contemporary Dance Network Philippines is bringing together the showcase that day that includes Myra Beltran’s Dance Forum, the University of the Philippines Dance Company, the Guang Ming College, Airdance, Nude Floor, Nunoy Revlon, the Daloy Dance Company, and the Hiraya Dance Company.

For Myra Beltran, one of the foremost contemporary choreographers in the country, revisiting old works is a major event, especially after the pandemic.

“This is the first big coming together. It was really difficult for many dancers during the pandemic, just working out in the studio and via Zoom, and there were a lot of mental health issues,” she said at the press conference.

“Now is the time to reiterate dance as a healing art,” she added.

The IDD Fest will culminate with a Dance in Film workshop led by Fifth Wall, a “revolutionary movement platform” founded by dance artist Madge Reyes.

All performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the various performances and workshops are available via TicketWorld. — Brontë H. Lacsamana