THE THEATER OF DANCE

With a body of work that de­fies easy cat­e­go­riza­tion, the Daloy Dance Com­pany has emerged af­ter their first year as an ex­cit­ing con­tem­po­rary dance com­pany that is as mer­cu­rial as their name im­plies

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By WANGGO GALLAGA Im­ages by AN­DREW APUYA

With a body of work that de­fies easy cat­e­go­riza­tion, the Daloy Dance Com­pany has emerged af­ter their first year as an ex­cit­ing con­tem­po­rary dance com­pany that is as mer­cu­rial as their name im­plies

At last May’s Karn­a­bal Fes­ti­val, I got to catch Daloy Dance Com­pany’s two per­for­mances: Un­earthing by Ea Tor­rado and In­ter/ act by Delphine Buen­camino. The two works-in-progress con­tinue to show­case the fledg­ling dance com­pany’s predilec­tions to­ward Dance Theater and move fur­ther away from the con­ven­tional idea of what con­tem­po­rary danc­ing is ex­pected to be. Un­afraid to ex­plore awk­ward shapes or deal with sim­plis­tic nar­ra­tives, the Daloy Dance Com­pany presses for­ward in their of­fer­ing of a very dif­fer­ent kind of con­tem­po­rary dance show for the Filipino au­di­ence.

I call them fledg­ling be­cause they only re­cently cel­e­brated their one year an­niver­sary as a com­pany, and talk­ing with founder and artis­tic di­rec­tor, Ea, she hap­pily ex­claims that “it is a very ex­cit­ing time for us.” The com­pany is com­prised of dancers from dif­fer­ent back­grounds and Ea wants to de­velop their in­di­vid­ual sense of artistry and their voices and by do­ing so, has man­aged to build a body of work that makes them hard to easily cat­e­go­rize. “This is the time to not set our style or our voice,” she says.

I first saw them per­form at last year’s The Ima­ganarium, a fes­ti­val of the ab­surd, where they per­formed Dys­mor­philia. The show is an ex­plo­ration of the body and self­im­age and it was a pro­found and mov­ing ex­pres­sion of equal parts self-loathing and em­pow­er­ment. I then caught their per­for­mance of the twin-billed Can­ton atbp at the Fringe Fes­ti­val last Fe­bru­ary where they ex­plored the dual­ity of so­ci­ety—how it can be op­pres­sive (in the piece Can­ton) and how it can also be sup­port­ive (in the piece Hi­malaya). Un­like Dys­mor­philia, Can­ton atbp is the more ac­ces­si­ble work, fea­tur­ing lyri­cal chore­og­ra­phy that is more what peo­ple ex­pect con­tem­po­rary dance pieces to be.

With such a wide range of ex­pres­sions that they can ex­plore, I im­me­di­ately asked if the coun­try is ready for Dance Theater and the kind of work that the com­pany seems more in­clined to pur­sue. “I think the Philip­pines is ready for it,” replies Ea. “That’s why the next pro- grams that we have are for au­di­ence de­vel­op­ment. We have this thing we call Tang­ha­lan Talakay where we are go­ing to be per­form­ing ex­cerpts of a full length pro­duc­tion or worksin-progress or new so­los and, af­ter which, we have a talk back with the au­di­ence. “

“Peo­ple are ready but we need to open up dis­cus­sions some more so that con­tem­po­rary dance doesn’t just give the au­di­ence a feel­ing. It can be­come more than that. It opens up a con­ver­sa­tion; it opens up a dis­course.”

This con­stant shift in artis­tic ex­pres­sion seems very ap­pro­pri­ate for the com­pany. “Daloy,” af­ter all, means flow. “Daloy is con­stant change,” ex­plains Ea. “It’s im­por­tant for the work to change as the per­son changes. It is grounded on bal­ance and the only way to be bal­anced is to be truth­ful.”

Truth and hon­esty are im­por­tant to Ea Tor­rado, which prob­a­bly ex­plains her per­sonal in­ter­est and ex­plo­ration with im­pro­vi­sa­tions. “At the heart of im­pro­vi­sa­tion, it’s anti-per­for­mance, which means when you do it, you do it for your­self. You are not per­form­ing move­ments that have to look beau­ti­ful, that have to con­form to a stan­dard of beauty or aes­thet­ics. It con­nects me to a deeper sense of my­self,” Ea says.

Af­ter a suc­cess­ful first year of es­tab­lish­ing them­selves as a com­pany to watch out for, their sec­ond year is fo­cused on au­di­ence de­vel­op­ment and will fo­cus on the core mem­bers’ train­ing to be­come a stronger ensem­ble as they have ma­jor works com­ing up later in the year.

“We have three very ex­cit­ing male chore­og­ra­phers in the com­pany right now,” says Ea. “We have Al Gar­cia, who went to choreo-lab in Malaysia in June. He’s chore­ograph­ing for us in De­cem­ber. We also have Jared Luna, who stud­ied for two years his Mas­ters in Dance Chore­og­ra­phy. And we have Ronel­son Yadao, a for­mer Bal­let Philip­pines dancer and he is go­ing to make a new work for Daloy. The ti­tle of the show will be called Three-Way and each one will be chore­ograph­ing a 30-minute work each for the com­pany. And in Fe­bru­ary next year, we are sure that Paul Hick­man, Aus­tralian­based chore­og­ra­pher and dancer, is mak­ing work for Daloy.”

As the com­pany is train­ing ex­ten­sively for these ma­jor shows at the end of the year, it has re­cently an­nounced the re­turn of its dance school, be­gin­ning July 8, at the stu­dio in Ere­hwon Arts Cen­ter, and it has a daily sched­ule of classes of many dif­fer­ent styles like Con­tem­po­rary, Bal­let (for kids and adults), Cre­ative Move­ment, and Con­tem­po­rary Hip Hop, among oth­ers.

Peo­ple are ready but we need to open up dis­cus­sions some more so that con­tem­po­rary dance doesn’t just give the au­di­ence a feel­ing. It can be­come more than that. It opens up a con­ver­sa­tion; it opens up a dis­course. —Ea Tor­rado

REACH­ING NEW HEIGHTS This year, Daloy Dance Com­pany's artists will be com­pet­ing in in­ter­na­tional dance com­pe­ti­tions and will be pre­par­ing for shows later in the year, chore­ographed by in­ter­na­tional chore­og­ra­phers

DALOY ON THE MOVE Clock­wise from top left: Daloy Dance Com­pany founder and artis­tic di­rec­tor Ea Tor­rado; artists (clock­wise from top left) Erick Di­zon, Al Gar­cia, Jared Luna, Buboy Raquitico, Zyda Baaya, and Jomelle Era; and Daloy artist Al Gar­cia, a...

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