World peace and justice through dance
By Walter Ang
March 21, 2011
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Airdance is staging "Body Politics: Declaration" to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The group will be performing eight compositions inspired by articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"We're steering clear from plotless, abstract, it-is-whatever-you-want-it-to-be pieces," says artistic director Ava Maureen Villanueva. "For this show, the company presents its stand and position against social injustice."
Airdance is composed of dance artists of varied backgrounds from classical and modern ballet, to jazz and ballroom, to hip-hop, breakdance, martial arts and gymnastics.
"What's nice about Airdance is, we really try be versatile in all the dance genres even if we are known for our strength in contemporary dance," says Villanueva.
"When you have to define what 'contemporary dance' means, there are many possible answers. Contemporary dance is not associated with any specific dance techniques like in classical ballet, but rather with a dance philosophy. In contemporary dance, dancers or choreographers attempt to explore the natural energy and emotions of their bodies to produce dances which are often very personal."
Awareness and discrimination
The UDHR, adopted by the United Nations in the late 1940s, represents the "first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled," and is part of the International Bill of Human Rights.
"People from all over the world are suffering from oppression, hunger, and discrimination. There can't be a more fitting time to stand up and move against all these," she says.
"This production is a conscious effort to contradict the notion that artists, dancers especially, have no awareness and concern for the greater good, hence the discrimination against the arts for not having any social relevance. This is a campaign against that discrimination in dance in our society."
"Declaration" will feature the choreography of Villanueva; Airdance associate artistic directors Rhosam Prudenciado Jr. and Jed Amihan; and choreographers Mia Cabalfin, Avel Bautista, Alfred Mercado, Jojo Guzman and Johnny Amar.
"We do not promise to bring about world peace, nor can we end starvation but allow us to assert our right to freedom of opinion and expression (be it verbal or otherwise) in the best way we know how, through dance," she adds.
Airdance is a member company of Contemporary Dance Network Philippines and is active in the network's annual performances such as the Contemporary Dance Map series and the Wifi Body Independent Contemporary Dance Festival.
The group has represented the Philippines at the World Expo, Japan and the Asia Arts Festival, China. The company is a two-time Aliw Award winner of the Best Dance Company (Modern) category.
Earlier this year, company members Alfred Mercado and Anna Agawa competed in the "Yokohama Dance Collection EX 2011" competition in Japan. They were selected as finalists from over 80 entries from five different countries (Japan, Estonia, Korea, Cuba and the Philippines).
Airdance will also hold a six-week intensive dance training program culminating in a recital. Classes offered includes Jazz (beginners and advanced); Contemporary (beginners and advanced); Streetdance (beginners and advanced); and Breakdance.
The workshop will run April 4-May 22, with a break on April 17-25 for the Holy Week.
"Airdance's Summer Dance Workshops has always proven to be a fun, enjoyable and learning experience for its students. Not only do they get the physical benefits of dance training—grace, flexibility, coordination, strength, cardiovascular endurance—but they also develop poise and stage presence," says Villanueva.
"Preparing and performing for a live audience requires that the student develop self-discipline and respect for fellow students. Airdance firmly believes that these are habits that they will carry on to their personal, academic and professional lives."
The training program is accepting scholars who pass auditions. Applicants must be at least 16 years old, preferably with dance background in ballet, jazz, modern and/or contemporary. Improvisation skills are a plus.
"Declaration" runs March 25-26, 8 p.m., at Dance Forum Space, 36E West Ave., Quezon City. Call 4152185 or 0916-3566693. Visit airdance.com.ph.
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