Expect dancing at LRT 2 on April 29, 2010 (Int'l Dance Day)

Expect dancing at LRT 2 on April 29
By Walter Ang
April 26, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Commuters using the Light Rail Transit 2 line will be in for a surprise (or shock) on April 29 when dancers dressed as regular passengers start dancing inside the trains and at certain stations throughout the afternoon.

On that day, the dancers will be celebrating International Dance Day with the passengers. Founded in 1982 by the International Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute of UNESCO and celebrated every April 29, the date commemorates the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre, a French dancer and balletmaster known as a great reformer of dance. In the Philippines, the last week of April is also National Dance Week.

Titled "Moving Dance @ The LRT Dance Express," more than 20 dancers will stage contemporary dance pieces beginning at the Legarda station, ride the train (and dancing inside) going to the Katipunan station where they will also perform. "They will then again ride and dance on a train, this time to the Cubao station, and perform for about half an hour," says Myra Beltran.

Beltran is the current vice chair of Contemporary Dance Network Philippines, the group that has partnered with the management of the LRT to stage this public performance. The group, chaired by Angel Lawenko-Baguilat, is composed of contemporary dance companies, artists, school-based organizations, critics and institutions, whose goal is to promote contemporary dance in the Philippines.

Participating groups in "Moving Dance" include Airdance, U.P. Dance Co., Lyceum Dance Theatre, Chameleon Dance, Benilde de Romancon Dance Co. and Myra Beltran's Dance Forum.

"This event is part of CDNP's Contemporary Dance Map series," she says. "We map alternative spaces for dance in a performance-tour of these spaces. The series started in 2005 and has since continued yearly and still remains the forum by which contemporary dance artists in urban Metro Manila renew and re-think their commitment to contemporary dance ? both in the creative aspect and in the training and nurturing of new talent."

The Contemporary Dance Map series has staged productions in spaces like the underpass in Quezon City Circle and art galleries like Mag:Net and Green Papaya Arts Projects.

This year, the exercise of "mapping" is layered with new meanings in relation to how people "move" from place to place. "The idea is that movement through time and space is inherent in dance, but dance itself will be moved across space and time by the LRT - hence, `moving dance,'" Beltran says.

Beltran points out that the Light Rail Transit has many similar things to dance, especially contemporary dance.

"Both move through space and time," she says. "And within that encompassing frame are individuals who meet or collide briefly, whose sense of space and time intersect for a brief period within a broader trajectory of movement. For a brief time, each moves according to the space given ? but each has a story to tell, and for brief periods, all meet in the same space, at the same time."

Using this as a jumping off point, she notes that the dancers will use deliberate movement. "Each dance contains a story," she says. "On each station is a story that typifies the stories of the many individuals who ride on the LRT. Stories of love, encounter, anxiety, exuberance, waiting, frustration ... these are all the worlds in an LRT station, and these are the worlds that can be told in dance."

Nonetheless, the dancers want the public to "not to expect a performance." The prepared dance pieces and expected dance improvisations to be performed will be "seemingly pedestrian" and site-specific." "We want to surprise the audience to the accessibility of dance," Beltran says. "Our concept is to blur the line between the normal and the everyday with the idea of 'performance.'"

She notes that the intention of International Dance Day is to "bring all dance together on this day, to celebrate this art form and revel in its universality, to cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers and bring people together in peace and friendship with a common language - dance."

"We want to let the public become aware of this annual celebration of and for dance," she adds. "Dance knows no class, no race, no boundary. Dance is for all."

"Moving Dance @ The LRT Dance Express" is from 1pm to 5pm. Call 0917-5760212 or 0917-5269724.

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