Indak: Expressing Art with purpose

To some, the prospect of staying alone indoors for an indefinite amount of time may be a daunting one—the sudden switch from an active, normal routine to a more solitary and sedentary lifestyle could have disadvantageous effects on an individual. These situations often encourage the settling in of invasive and negative mindsets. To prevent intrusive thoughts from digging into our minds, we long for stimulating material; in order to keep our souls intact, we turn to the Arts. 

The Culture and Arts Office (CAO) of the University hoped to address this through a live event titled Indak: An Online Showcase of Live Performances hosted on CAO’s Facebook page. Held last Sunday, April 5, the event featured the La Salle Dance Company (LSDC) and its three groups: LSDC-Contemporary, LSDC-Folk, and LSDC-Street. Along with keeping our minds and souls sound, the event was part of the Sining para sa Paghilom series of initiatives, which serves as a fundraiser for DLSU’s efforts in the fight against the spread of COVID-19, as well as for the Artists Welfare Project, Inc., an organization that supports displaced artists and cultural workers. 

Gentle awakening

At 6:30 pm, the online fundraiser started with an opening address given by Peter Alcedo Jr., choreographer of LSDC-Contemporary and LSDC-Folk. Emphasizing the importance of the diversity of dance forms, he opened the floor for LSDC-Contemporary, the performers for the first segment of the show. 

The first piece, Pula, began with two women standing idle on stage. As the music progressed, so did the intricacy of their movements, making one wonder at the graceful restraint their forms possessed. It was a rather quiet but moving piece—slow, yet still commanding one’s utmost attention. 

In contrast, the second performance, Luma o Klasik, was more fast-paced, and lacked the restraint the first piece flaunted. The dancers showcased the perfect blend of athleticism and grace as they moved around on stage, every movement possessing force and purpose. 

Traditional expression 

The screen faded to reveal Alcedo once more, this time introducing LSDC-Folk, the main performers for the show’s second segment. Alcedo then highlighted the importance of integrating Filipino culture among the youth, who are touted as beacons of nationalism for future generations to come. 

Alcedo described the first arrangement, Montage, as folk with a bit of “pop flavor”. True to its name, it was composed of fast-paced segments that each illustrated different forms of folk dancing in the Philippines. It served as a brilliant introductory piece, effectively capturing the audience’s regard for the diverse cultural compositions that our country has to offer. The dancers, all bearing smiles and wearing brightly colored modern clothing, traveled across the stage with spirited movements and contagious enthusiasm. 

With Montage setting the tone for the rest of the segment, the compositions that followed had flowed uninterruptedly into one another. From Ragragsakan, a traditional Kalinga dance that illustrated the women’s climb up the rice terraces of the Mountain Province while effortlessly balancing labba baskets atop their heads, to Kappa Malong Malong, whose choreography pulls viewers into following each riveting fold of the dancers’ pieces of clothing—one cannot avoid marveling at the dexterity each performer exhibits. 

LSDC-Folk wrapped up with a composition titled Mga Bituin at Araw; similar to the first piece, it again showcased the spectrum of forms encompassed by the Philippine Folk genre, but to a slower beat this time, content with serving as the final blend of various folk movements.

Modern denouement

When the screen brightened again for the last time that evening, it was to the beaming presence of Mycs Villoso, head choreographer of LSDC-Street. The upbeat Villoso expressed the values of unity and discipline that fuel the dancers’ passion in developing their art, values that are truly apparent in the manner that they perform and carry themselves. She noted with pride that the ensuing videos were snippets from the Asia Pacific Arts Festival held last January 2019, where LSDC-Street took home three gold medals. It was with parting words about hope and hard work that the stage became set once more for the performances of LSDC-Street.

Likhang Indayog was an unexpected but not unwelcome introductory piece for this genre; it began with the silhouette of a lone man on stage, a starkly different visual from all the previous partner and group performances. His purposeful twists and turns captivated the audience until the last melancholic minute, when all the bright lights dimmed on stage. 

Deviating from the trembling emotion of the first piece, the remaining arrangements in the genre all featured group performances, with strong beats and more modern musical renditions. The masterful flips and graceful acrobatics coupled with the group’s strong presence elicited yells and whoops from the crowd; it was no wonder then that these performances beat out all competition, leaving audiences in breathless awe even on the international scene.

Blending of heart and form 

Even through the barriers of social distancing and an LED screen, it was easy to get lost in the projected energy of the online performances; the lasting impression of confidence and proficiency of the dancers still shone through the screen, highlighting the artistic competency of all LSDC groups. By simultaneously being an expression of human form and empathy, the fundraiser sincerely brought home the importance of Art going definitely beyond its aesthetic.

Marie Angeli Peña

By Marie Angeli Peña

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