‘Karangalan’: Celebrating 25 years of dance and Philippine heritage

‘Karangalan’: Celebrating 25 years of dance and Philippine heritage

LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble honors dying cultural traditions

In keeping its vision of educating and informing people about Filipino culture, LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble is putting on a spectacular display of ancient dances to celebrate its 25th year.

“Karangalan,” the Filipino word for “honor,” will take stage on September 24 and 25, at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

LIKHA has planned to fly in renowned performers and cultural bearers from the Philippines to dance onstage, but tourist visas could be in question due to the turbulent environment south of the country, as well as current tensions in the U.S.  Hoping that visas will be granted to these honored guests, LIKHA, however, will still honor their life’s work whether they make it to San Francisco or not.

Some of the performers LIKHA hopes to bring have helped shape the art landscape in the Philippines. They include Kalinga educator Cirilo Bawer, ethnochoreologist Earl C. Pasilan of the Yakan and many more.  LIKHA will posthumously honor National artist of the Philippines Ramon Obusan and Lucretia Urtulla-Reyes.  In their honor, LIKHA is performing signature pieces from their repertoire.

Dances include the Banga, where women balance several earthenware pots on their heads, to the Semba, which seeks permission from local spirits to approve a dwelling or to get guidance in fishing and planting.

“We are no one without our culture and traditions,” said Rudi C. Soriano, who founded LIKHA in May 1992. The dance ensemble has 19 productions under its belt, plus several international tours and nine appearances at the acclaimed San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival (SFEDF).

Soriano was a former dance soloist with the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company and has also trained with Alice Reyes of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Dance Company in Manila.  In Paris, he studied under Lianne Dayde at the Paris Opera Ballet and trained with Rosella Hightower’s modern dance company in Cannes, France.

In 2001, Soriano was honored with the Pilipino community’s Pamana Award for Folk Dance Arts Education. And in 2007 he was awarded an outstanding choreographer award by World Arts West, the organizers of the SFEDF.

LIKHA, which means “creation” in Filipino, has grown into a full-blown arts organization.  At present, the group not only performs but also offers workshops, programs, collection and curation, seeking to preserve the music, literature, dance, arts, crafts, instruments, and native dress of the Philippines.

“Karangalan” gala is on Saturday, September 23 at 7 p.m., while matinee show is on Sunday, September 24 at 2 p.m.  Tickets are available on Eventbrite at www.eventbrite.com/e/likha-pilipino-folk-ensemble-presents-karangalan-gala-performance-tickets-35611506976.

Palace of the Fine Arts Theatre is located at 3301 Lyon Street, San Francisco 94123.

For more information about LIKHA, log on to www.likha.org or add them on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/likha.org/. (AJPress)

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