23 April 2008

Bringing Folk Dance to the Young Uns

In my recent work with the Fil-Am group at my alma mater, I got acquainted with a really talented young guy, just a few years younger than me, who choreographed the "Kini-Kini" and the "Asik" for the show last Saturday. In speaking with him, he told me that while he was in college down in Florida, he became a member of his school's Fil-Am club and performed in their own culture show. After graduation, he joined a professional Filipino folk dance troupe down there where he perfected his craft as a dancer and a choreographer, learning not just the more famous dances but some pretty obscure ones as well, dances I'd never even heard of. And then he moved to Virginia where he became heavily involved in helping local colleges choreograph for their various and sundry shows.

Been talking to him this week about possibly starting up some kind of annual boot camp or workshop for area Fil-Am high school and college students, a weekend thing where he could not only teach different, more obscure dances, but refine form and technique for some of the more popular dances. I can't tell you all how excited I am about this. Anyone who reads this blog knows of my deep love for the art of dance, and Filipino folk dancing holds a special place in my heart because it's the first type of dancing I learned.

All the big schools in my area (GW, American, George Mason, Georgetown) have their own Fil-Am group and they all put together an annual culture show of some kind. I can't wait to get more involved, not just for my own enjoyment but also so that my kids can see how much fun I'm having, which would (hopefully) make them want to join in. Already, I told my 6-year old son that when he goes to college, he has to join the Fil-Am group so he could do some of the dances too. His response? A dismayed, "Do I have to, mommy?" To which I replied, "Yes." Like he has a choice in the matter? Hey, I didn't have a choice, why should he, right? It's for his own good and that's that. I already know my 4-year old daughter won't have a problem joining in. She's already eager to learn how to dance the Tinikling.

For your enjoyment, I bring you esteemed dancer and choreographer Don Verde's "Kini-Kini," as presented this past Saturday at GW. This beautiful and regal dance was part of the Muslim Suite. Enjoy.

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