IN CELEBRATION of National Dance Week, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) – National Committee on Dance will hold the 8th Dance Xchange: The Philippine International Dance Festival on April 26 to 30 in Roxas City, Capiz.

This year’s theme is “Cultural Connectivity through Dance”

National Dance Week is held in relation to International Dance Day (IDD) which is held on April 29. IDD was started in 1982 by the Dance Committee of the International Theater Institute-UNESCO in commemoration of French ballet master Jean-Georges Noverre whose birth date it was. In 1993, President Fidel V. Ramos signed Presidential Proclamation No. 154 declaring the last week of April as National Dance Week. The proclamation states that “there is a need to bring together dancers to demonstrate and realize the function of dance in the society and in the rest of the world.”

“It is my dream for the Philippines to also be a destination for dance,” NCCA National Committee on Dance head Shirley Halili-Cruz said at an April 11 press conference at the NCCA headquarters in Intramuros, Manila.

The Dance Xchange program “aims to enhance knowledge and skills of the dancers, dance teachers, and choreographers on dances of the different countries as creative expression of their culture,” said a press release.

“It’s getting bigger and bigger [every year],” Ms. Halili-Cruz told BusinessWorld shortly after, noting that international dance troupes who had previously participated in Dance Xchange contacted her expressing their interest to return and participate this year. Some local government units around the country have also expressed interest in hosting the program in their cities.

This year, the program will see the participation of 15 international dance troupes including groups from Bangladesh, Iran, Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Russia, and Belgium, as well as 21 local dance troupes from the NCR, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

During the five-day festival, the activities include an artist forum where dancers, choreographers, and educators will discuss the current state of dance in the Philippines and worldwide; dance workshops where the dance directors of the international and local dance troupes will teach traditional, contemporary, and modern dance; public performances; and an outreach program where free dance workshops will be conducted in the municipalities of Cuartero, Jamindan, Sapian, Pilar, Dumalag, Sigma, and Tapas in Capiz as well as the municipality of Balete in Aklan.

The dance workshops will be held on April 26 at 7:30 a.m. with the registration of participants at the Don Ynocencio A. Del Rosario National High School Gym in Dayao, Roxas City.

The performances will be held at the Villareal Stadium and Grounds and Capiz Provincial Park.

“My goal with the 15 [international groups] is [for them] to respect Filipino dancers. I want them to feel the Filipino culture and see the Filipino as natural dancers,” Ms. Halili-Cruz said. “That’s what I like about dance, there’s always continuous education.”

To register, visit For details, visit — Michelle Anne P. Soliman