Luzviminda Project: a mosaic of traditional Philippine dance and culture

by Rachelle Cruz, ABS-CBN News

TORONTO — Born and raised in the Philippines, Dr. Patrick Alcedo has always been passionate about dance. Today, he is a dance ethnographer and a specialist on Philippine traditional dances.

“I think that my statement is that our identity is not just through labor, but also through performance,” said Alcedo, associate professor, department of dance at York University.

His first dance concert, the Luzviminda Project, is a mosaic of the Filipino culture and history. From the north to south, the concert captured the essence of each tribal region through music and dance.

The show was produced with the support of Canada150 at York University and the city of Toronto.

“So when the opportunity to be part of the canada150 series came up, I said that wow, Philippine dance would really make an important mark, especially that Filipinos are the fastest growing immigrants here.”

Every dance has a story.

Singkil is a dance of royalty that originated in Mindanao.

Salidsid is a dance of courtship in the Cordillera, the northernmost area of Luzon–one that takes the solo female dancer years of practice to balance many pots.

There’s about 60 dancers that make up the three major dance groups of the show, and they have spent about 200 hours of rehearsal time since February.

For some dancers, learning dances from the Philippines has been about more than just performance.

“When I was growing up, there’s not many people who understand Philippine dances here. I was a little embarrassed because my friends didn’t know what that was,” said Luzviminda Projet dancer Justin del Rosario. “So now being tapped to do and be part of this production, and to play such a major role in it makes me proud of who I am.”

Part of the program shared the story of Filipino caregivers in Canada, a takeoff from Dr. Alcedo’s film titled, “A Piece of Paradise”.

“…It’s an idea of caregiving and mothers who have left their kids back home just to fulfill their financial needs of their families,” said Lordeliza Punzalan, associate artistic director of the Luzviminda Project. “That idea came to me because as a mother, I know how it feels to leave your own child.”

The performances also featured Josie de Leon, Lilac Caña and Paulo Alcedo, along with Breadcrumbs Crew, Culture Philippines Ontario, Fiesta Filipina, Folklorico Filipino Canada and the York Dance ensemble.

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