“Sayaw” follows a choreographer’s year-long journey for competition

By Malvina Wong

SAN FRANCISCO – Colorful costumes and tribal beats filled the silver screen at the San Francisco premiere of the dance documentary, “Sayaw”. The film by Cecilio Asuncion follows Filipino choreographer Jay Loyola as he prepares to enter a competitive ethnic dance contest in San Francisco.

“I knew I wanted to do a dance documentary and I just happened to have met Jay by chance,” said Asuncion. “His passion for being Filipino and Filipino dance is infectious, and as an artist, I think it’s something we should all do together.”

Sayaw reveals a hypnotic mixture of modern movement and traditional Filipino dance, and aims to introduce the uninitiated to the beauty of the Filipino culture.

The cast and crew said they were ecstatic to see the finished documentary, which took over a year to film and captured the ups and downs in the lives of these dancers.

“For me this film is really important because it defines us as Filipinos in America,” expressed Loyola, “and it actually gave us another door to excel as an artist and it gives other artists inspiration, as well to hone their craft and take all the challenges to achieve their dreams.”

For the youngest cast member, Mahalaya Tintiangco-Cubales, participating in Sayaw meant showcasing both her Pinoy pride and skills as a dancer.

“Whenever I watch her dance, she has this amazing joy, and whenever she talks about being Filipino,” shared Mahalaya’s proud mother, Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales. “She also has the same joy, and so to me, this film allows her to be both of those things, a dancer, and also to be proud of who she is as a Pinay.”

“Our culture is so rich and we have so many things that we should be proud of, and share with other people in the states or wherever we may be,” added the film director.

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