Friday, 19 August 2011

Edmonton Heritage Festival 2011

Edmonton celebrated its 36th Heritage Festival from July 30-August 1 at the Hawrelak Park.  An annual showcase and celebration of Canada’s vibrant multicultural heritage, it boasted of 63 pavilions representing more than 75 cultures.  Inititated in 1974, then Minister of Culture Horst Schmidt declared the first Monday of August an annual holiday to recognise Alberta’s ethnic diversity.  A cultural feast for the senses, it showcased food, entertainment and arts and crafts displays.
Philippine Pavilion

Philippine arts and crafts on display, for sale

the Department of Tourism display with Phil. Pavilion Overall Chairman Wilf Ladores and choreographer/director Jojo Lucila

young boys performing the Maglalatik

dancers of the Karilagan Dance Society
The Heritage Days is one of my favorite festivals in the city.  As you go from one pavilion to another and watch the cultural presentations, you glean the commonalities countries have - traits shared either by geographic proximity or colonization.  It is heartwarming to see people dressed in their national attires, proud to show off their ancestry and earnest in sharing it with others.  And in the true spirit of intercultural collaboration, I saw the Pacific Island Dance Troupe, a Filipino group presenting Philippine folk dances and Hawaiian dances, performing at the Polynesian Pavilion.
The Philippine Pavilion on the otherhand, was overseen by the Council of Edmonton Filipino Associations (CEFA) with Wilf Ladores as Overall Chairman, Josie Pallard as Arts & Craft Chair, Elmina Cochingco as Entertainment Chair and Mandy Servito as Food Chair.  Also present was the Department of Tourism, San Francisco office.  I have observed that the Philippine cultural presentations were mostly done by the Karilagan Dance Society these past years.  They have successfully presented numbers that showed youthful enthusiasm and appeal.  One just only wishes that there were some presentations by other Filipino cultural organizations and performing groups  as well, for a more inclusive event and truly representative of the Edmonton Filipino community.  Kudos, however, to the organizers, participants and volunteers for all their dedication and hard work in the Heritage Festival every year. 

* this article was written for the Pinoy Times, published in the August 2011 issue

Friday, 5 August 2011

PCARDD Canada Day Performance

The Philippine Canadian Association of Red Deer and District (PCARDD) Folk Dance Troupe performed during the City of Red Deer’s Canada Day Celebrations held at the Bower Ponds.  This was the 15th year for the organization to participate in the Cultural Showcase.  For this year, in addition to their regular folk dance hits of “Maglalatik” and “Sayaw sa Bangko”, they premiered a new repertoire of Maria Clara and other rural dances, as staged and choreographed by Jojo Lucila, an Edmonton-based choreographer and dance director.
Under the leadership of President Alex Capicio, the organization infused new energy to its Folk Dance Troupe via a 10-week workshop on Philippine Folk Dance with Jojo Lucila.  This latest initiative saw an increase in number of participants from the Red Deer Community, fulfilling its mandate of conserving and promoting the Philippine cultural heritage in Canada.  The young dancers not only experienced the discipline that is always exacted by a professional artist but   were provided a context of the various folk dances in our Philippine culture.  The successful performance during Canada Day elicited positive reactions from the audience and enthusiasm from Filipinos of all ages to participate in succeeding programs.
Other performers for the Red Deer Canada Day Celebration were the Scottish Country Dancers, Irish Dance Club, Indo Canadian Dancers, Chinese Performers, Ukrainian Dance Group, Salvadorian Society, Belly Elegance and the Tahitian Dancers.

PCARDD Folk Dance Troupe

PCARDD President Alex Capicio

PCARDD Dance Troupe in "Bulaklakan"

Choreographer/Director Jojo Lucila with PCARDD President Alex Capicio

Performance for Atienza - Wolfaardt Wedding

Jojo Lucila conceptualized a surprise number to celebrate the union of Mia Atienza and Ulli Wolfaardt last May 2011 at the Matrix Hotel.  With the Philippine Choral Group and select dancers of The Lucila Project,  it was a presentation of Philippine and South African songs and dance that brought everyone, especially the bride and groom and their family, to tears.