Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Meeting The Members of The Trey McIntryre Project

I love it how people in their own way get to learn about different cultures instead of just reading books or documentaries. Amazingly, it imbibes into us more if we learn it in a language that we understand. I'm not talking about written or spoken language, but the language of dance and body movement. The meeting of two different dance groups from two opposite sides of the globe was an interesting opportunity that I had the pleasure to witness.

The U.S. Embassy and the Cultural Center of the Philippines are proud to announce the visit of the American contemporary ballet company, Trey McIntrye Project, an awesome, awesome dance group based in Idaho. They are currently on an Asian tour for a month and would be conducting master classes in ballet, modern dance, and technical direction in Manila and Iloilo City. Aside from sharing their knowledge, they are going to each country to learn about their dances. 

Here, they would be working collaboratively with the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Dance Group. This group specializes in folk dance, dances I myself have yet to see and those that don't seem to have passed my grade school P.E. lessons (or probably maybe I scrimped on them).

The Ramon Obusan Folkloric Dance Group Center is a quaint place in Paranaque near NAIA 2 terminal. It aims to preserve Filipino folk dance and encourage kids at a very young age to learn these dances. Learning isn't just knowing the steps but maintaining discipline and executing it properly - perfect lines, arched backs, and hair neatly pulled back for girls with no stray strands. 

Dance costumes on display. 

The Trey McIntyre Project first performed a number to the song of The Beatles. As choreographer Trey McIntyre shared with us, his inspiration for this number was the feeling of joy.

  Wee I love those pretty lines.

They all look so happy! Joy indeed! They seemed to enjoy that number.

They learned three dances from the teachers of the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Dance Group. I forgot what these dances were called but they are from the Northern provinces. Noticeably, the fingers were closed or the hands balled up in fists in most of the movements, a characteristic the teachers were very particular about, as opposite to those from the South with the hands more open.

Ballet is all about pointed toes, but for folk, it's more flexed, but when flexing, flex with uttmost prettiness. 

As I watched them practice, It was interesting to learn about the dances though. Some of the dances mimic animals or elements of nature and there are some that tell a story, either dances that reminded me of battle or fighting moves. 

 This dance reminded me of fighting and marital arts.

Folk dance is not that easy. It's more than just stomping and doing the moves. You have to look pretty while doing that. Also, in the case of the hands, we have to make sure everything's right because there are certain positions of the hands and fingers that are characteristic of that region the dance originated from. I guess that's what Trey McIntyre meant that they're learning the culture of a place through dance, a language they understood. 

Hannah and I posed for a photo op with Trey McIntrye and John Michael, one of the dancers. We so short compared to them.

The Trey McIntrye Project will also have two showcase performances here in the Philippines, both this weekend.
  • May 10, at 5:30 p.m., Central Philippine University, Rose Memorial Auditorium, Iloilo
  • May 12, at 6:00 p.m., Market! Market! Mall Activity Center, Taguig City.

Both performances are open to the public and free of charge, presented through the support of Central Philippine University and Station Square East Commerical Corporation.

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