Leyte Dance Theater promotes Philippine culture, representation in the arts

AUSTIN, TX — On the road since April, the Leyte Dance Theater completed its 10-state US tour of  “Salida – Simbolo at Kultura:” a showcase of the company’s artistic creativity.

“I feel like Filipino culture in general is really important, especially in terms of the fine arts and our representation in the arts. As an Asian woman and as Filipino people, [we] should be more respected and be seen,” said Katrina Agudo.

After 25 years, the Leyte Dance Theatre is considered one of the premier cultural dance companies in the Philippines—offering various programs and scholarships to let the talents of young aspiring dancers be developed.

“Most of them start as early as five years old. The youngest right now is 15. That means it takes about 10 years before they can dance,” said founder Jess de Paz.

“Coming up here as a cultural ambassador of the Philippines through dance is a great opportunity to showcase what we really are about. Through dances, songs, they will be able to better appreciate,” said dancer Jlel R Badion.

Having trained in so many different styles, the dancers say it is difficult to pick a dance they enjoy most. Everyone has a favorite.

“The Muslim part, because it showcases our royalty and different cultures of the costumes we wear for every dance.”

Organizers of the event also invited The Filipino American Modelling Ambassadors from Houston to open the show and showcase highly customized cultural costumes.

“It’s a lot of work, but I know that for the love of the country I have to do it, so I wanted to bring them back again and I am so happy they are being well received,” said promoter Gigi Hobson.

All proceeds will be donated to the dance troupe and to other various charities.

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