How Pinoy arts group is promoting PH culture in Europe
LONDON - Philippine culture took center stage once more at back-to-back sold-out shows in London by one of the most established Filipino arts group in Europe, Lahing Kayumanggi Dance Company (LK).
A diverse audience of different ages and nationalities flocked to The Cockpit theatre near Marylebone in central London to watch the group perform their trademark Philippine folk dances in a show entitled “Sayaw.”
“Sayaw means dance, so wanted to share Filipino culture through dance and music,” said April Malanot, one of the dancers from LK.
Audiences were taken on a song and dance journey to various corners of the Philippines, from Polka sa Batangas to singkil in Mindanao, complete with lavish indigenous costumes including bahag, barong and terno.
“At least they’re showing our tradition, and this is one of the best parts of our culture,” enthused Esther Murray, a UK-based Filipino and an avid supporter of the group.
Dozens of Filipinos came out to support the show alongside British and European nationals, whose numbers seem to rise each year.
Among them is British-native Greg McSloy from Manchester, who has become a fan of Philippine culture. Speaking to ABS-CBN Europe after the show, he said: “It’s interesting, entertaining, and educative, and quite inspiring. The people on stage did a great job. They entertained us, and kept us at the edge of our seats all night.”
He also believes Philippine culture needs more exposure on the international stage, saying: “Having been to the Philippines a couple of times, I can see it just hides its light under a bottle. It really doesn’t do itself justice, and it really needs to push itself forwards.”
It seems LK is also inspiring young people to get involved in the arts, like 12-year-old Jacob Colley who is dreaming of a chance to be on stage after seeing Filipino dancers performing native dances and rituals.
“It was absolutely amazing. You wouldn’t be able to top that with theatre or cinema. It was a new thing for me. It was just so awe-inspiring and I’d like to do it myself,” he revealed.
Based in London, LK has been showcasing Philippine arts and culture since 1994, performing countless shows all over the UK and Europe, as well as collecting various accolades along the way including the Presidential Banaag Award in 2006.
The group is now preparing for their biggest show to date, their 20th anniversary show in 2014, which is expected to take place in Manila and touted as the group’s homecoming.
“Sayaw” by LK Dance Company took place on 30-31 August at The Cockpit in London, directed by the group’s founder Ronnie del Barrio.