Friday, February 8, 2008

RMMC's Teatro Ambahanon Sparkles at CCP

Just when City Mayor Pedro B. Acharon Jr. declared 2008 as the year of Excellence in General Santos City, Teatro Ambahanon - the resident Dance and Theater Company of the Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges - was invited to perform at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines for “Galaw, Galaw… The Filipino Soul in Dance”, CCP’s program offering for the National Arts Month Celebrations.

“Galaw, Galaw…” which ran from February 1, 2, and 3 was dubbed “the Concert of the Best in Philippine Dance”. RMMC’s Teatro Ambahanon (TA) shared the limelight with world class dance companies like Ballet Philippines, Lisa Macuja and Ballet Manila, the Philippine Allstars, Philippine Ballet Theater, the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Dance Troupe, among others.

TA performed their critically-acclaimed dance piece called “Sa Ngalan Sang Inahan” from their “Oraciones” series choreograped by Julius Lagare. The nine-minute program slated for General Santos City’s dance company was well received by both audience and critics.

TA was discovered by Nestor O. Jardin, President of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, when the group competed in July 2007 at the National Modern Dance Competition in Koronadal City. Mr Jardin, who was one of the judges of the competition, invited the group to perform at CCP immediately after the program, to the surprise of the group considering the piece only ranked fourth in the competition. Apparently, the CCP President saw the appropriateness of the piece and its aesthetic appeal.

Vision of Excellence and Community Involvement

Teatro Ambahanon Contemporary Dance Company started as a dance arm of RMMC Theater company as its training laboratory for dancers and choreographers in the region. In the four years since its founding, the group won in many local, regional and national competitions.

TA is also a training ground for emergent leadership and has produced three GSC Youth Awardees and a finalist. Julius Lagare, the group’s Principal Dancer, was a 2005 recipient and is now based in Cebu as the resident choreographer and teacher at Nicolas Pacaña’s Ballet Center; Hosen Ngilay was a 2006 Finalist; Jan Robert Acharon was a 2007 Awardee. Both are sough-after choreographers. Another member, DeeJay De Vera danced for Exquizyth as guest performer when it competed and won in ABS-CBN’s TV show “You Can Dance Competition” in 2007.

Alongside leadership and excellence, the group is also active in community extension program. Jan Robert Acharon, the group’s Dance Master, formed Renegade 360 and Extreme Boys, two hiphop dance groups composed of both in- and out-of-school boys in Barangay Bula. These two groups, both award-winning in local dance competitions, are recipient of the program Tulbong - a training initiative by RMMC and Teatro Ambahanon in the fields of leadership and excellence.

Promoting Dance Appeciation and Introducing New Form

Having rooted its artistic direction on contemporary or modern dance form, Teatro Ambahanon has been active in its mission of bringing to fore this relatively new dance mold. Utilizing materials which are of rural and provincial appeal, the group creates dance pieces that depict “Philippine-ness” of dance. This did not escape the eye of Ms Edna Vida, a premier Filipina ballerina who directed the CCP show “Galaw, Galaw…”. “The choreograhy and movements have a distinct Filipino flavor. It’s a raw, pure Filipino form and I would love to see you choreograph more pieces like that…”, Ms Vida enthused.

Future Performances

Aside from such raving reviews after the 3-day performance, the group also received two invitations. Myram Beltran, Artistic Director of Dance Forum and the forerunner of WIFI Body Festival which has supported independent Filipino choreographers and dancers, invited the group to participate in WIFI’s 2008 season at CCP this June.

Another invitation came from Floy Quintos, a respected Theater, Movie and Television Director who said he was enthralled and “moved to tears” by the performance. He personally requested the group to perform, along with Filipino luminaries in world Opera, in his upcoming show “Virtuosos” on February 28, 2008 again at the CCP Main Theater.

With all these pouring-in of invitations, Gensan Dancers sparkle with the stars of Philippine Performing Arts, proving that Generals are indeed a breed of excellent artists. (press release)


RMMC Teatro Ambahanon recruits new members through its Summer Dance Workshop. This workshop is free for incoming RMMC Freshmen enrollees. Six new members will be chosen. College scholarships will be granted to successful auditioners. For information and inquiries, see the RMMC Admissions Office.

Teatro Ambahanon displays a trademark structure before an appreciative crowd as Philippine Allstars looks on, at the Main Entrance of CCP after the February 3, performance

Jamming with a full house crowd after the performance inside the Main Theater

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