Daloy Dance Company shows silhouettes of hope and dissent. Photo by Ea Torrado

The FEU Center for the Arts (FCA) welcomed the Daloy Dance Company (Daloy) as Far Eastern University (FEU)’s featured resident guest artists for the month of January. The FEU Dance Company (FDC)’s Artistic Director, Deborah Lynn Afuang, is a member of Daloy whose artistic prowess was supported by the FCA through the rehearsal space provision for the preparation of their show production, in exchange for additional learning opportunities for the FDC members through Joy Alpuerto Ritter’s Shapeshifting Dynamics Masterclass Workshop and the most anticipated production of the Joy & Daloy: a Twin Bill Show.

The Joy & Daloy: a Twin Bill Show is an exhibition that honors the artistic collaboration between German-based choreographer Joy Alpuerto Ritter and Daloy, consisting of Deborah Lynn Afuang, Julienne Depatillo, Joemarie Cruz, Freyja Kapangyarihan, Brian Abano, as well as their Artistic Director Ea Torrado. The event was held last Jan. 27 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Black Box Theatre. It featured a captivating dance performance from Joy Alpuerto Ritter’s “BABAE,” an act that emulates the mystical allure of a witch that performs rituals fused with various traditional dance elements. Following this, Daloy took the stage with “ItikLandia,, an act that pays homage to the relevant elements of Filipino culture, integrating environmentalism with a fusion of folk dance, contemporary dance, and theatre.

Joy Alpuerto Ritter and the Daloy Dance Company interact with the audience in a “talk back” session about their performance. Photo by Bernadette Gaffud
The FEU Dance Company together with their Artistic Director at the Joy Alpuerto Ritter’s Shapeshifting Masterclass Workshop. Photo by FEU Dance Company
Grace and Precision: Joy Alpuerto Ritter captivates her audience. Photo by Ea Torrado
The FEU Dance Company supports their Artistic Director, Deborah Lynn Afuang, for the Daloy Dance Company’s “ItikLandia” performance at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Black Box Theatre. Photo by Deborah Lynn Afuang

Rehearsal Process

Daloy’s artist residency at FEU granted them access to the FDC studio for their rehearsal venue, and the members shared their enthusiasm for this goodwill gesture. Ea Torrado, Daloy’s Artistic Director, expressed how this deed contributed to their creative journey, enabling them to have the environment for focus during the development of the production. Julienne Depatillo, a Daloy member, supported this sentiment in her interview when she shared how much the provided space allowed independent artists like them to freely explore and be at their most productive in terms of exploring possibilities and creating the iteration of “Itiklandia.”

Daloy’s “Itiklandia,” while being open to interpretation, was a performance that centered around the significant and contemporary issues within the Philippine society integrated with elements of contemporary dance and theatre, aiming to evoke inquiries of environmentalism as well as minimizing one’s desensitization regarding the injustices evident in the current time—all the while maintaining to keep to the traditional Filipino cultural aspects.

Not just bodies in motion, but voices amplified: Daloy Dance Company uses harmonies to symbolically portray contemporary issues. Photo by Ea Torrado
Voice that speaks truths, and passion that fuels hope, the Daloy Dance Company in an interactive segment of their act. Photo by Ea Torrado

Drawing inspiration from Francesca Reyes-Aquino’s seminal book. “Philippine Folk Dances,” Torrado shared how the dance company has always been drawn to experimental works that challenge conventional boundaries, and that they sought to infuse their choreography with a sense of ecological reverence and the rich communal traditions ingrained in the Filipino culture.

“This performance has evolved into a contemporary expression, adopting a post-dramatic structure through an ecofeminist lens. It prompts inquiries about nurturing care amid climate catastrophe, navigating environmentalism within a robust capitalist era, and exploring alternative, non-heteronormative, and non-patriarchal modes of existence and connection,” said Torrado.

Torrado added that Itiklandia’” transcends mere performance—it is a provoking narrative; a production urging a pressing call for nurturing amid the climate crisis and challenging capitalist ideologies.

Joy’s Shapeshifting Masterclass Workshop

FDC was given an opportunity to participate in Joy Alpuerto Ritter’s Shapeshifting Dynamics Masterclass Workshop, a workshop that focused on contemporary, ballet, house, hiphop, and other various dance elements. This took place last Jan. 25 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Black Box Theatre.

This workshop granted Ritter a space where she was able to share her 30 years of dance expertise involving various dance styles to the workshop participants.

Johann Jabrica of IAS ‘27, a trainee of the FDC, was grateful that he had the opportunity to partake in the workshop and was thankful of the extensive development that this gave him.

“At first we improvised how our body moves from animal to human and vice versa. After dancing, we discussed and found out that they can move more freely when dancing in this [animal] concept. There are activities that we need to feel our surroundings and have spatial awareness. The movements of the dance are contemporary and modern, so you really need to learn and pick up the steps fast. Overall, thanks to Daloy and Teacher Joy, I learned a lot and enjoyed the experience,” said Jabrica in a mix of  English and Filipino. The workshop truly provided the participants an avenue to expand their dynamic movements, enhance their musicality and improvisation, and improve in other areas in dancing.

Joy & Daloy: A Twinbill Show

The “Joy & Daloy: A Twinbill Show” was performed last Jan. 27 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Black Box Theatre. The event was trailblazed by Joy Alpuerto Ritter’s powerful solo performance, “BABAE”. Drawing inspiration from Mary Wigman’s Witch Dance, Ritter blended her diverse dance background in voguing, folk, contemporary, hip-hop, and other dance styles to create  a captivating portrayal of a mystical allure of a woman performing rituals with bowls.

Ritter explained that “BABAE” is representative of the celebration and struggles of being a woman, examining the complexities of womanhood. She embodies a unique version of a witch, using rituals and symbolic bowls that represent the various cultures of a witch—exploring different aspects of feminine power. While she expressed that her one-woman dialogue was open for interpretation, the performance served as a “dance through women,” representing women as a spectrum of colors symbolic of their strength and power.

In a captivating yet comedic fusion of contemporary dance and devised theatre, the following performance of Daloy entitled “Itiklandia” at the “Joy & Daloy: Twinbill Show” transported audiences on a journey deeply rooted in Filipino culture and environmental stewardship.

When asked about the story behind the act, Deborah Lynn Afuang, the FDC’s Artistic Director and member of Daloy, said in a mix of English and Filipino, “It’s basically a story of how we were uprooted throughout the times and how because of the injustices that came with that, we have become very chaotic. Thus, we find it difficult to ground ourselves from being detached from nature. We should not accept that we remain detached forever. Instead, we want to rekindle the sense of connection with the Earth. We want people to be angry about it, with reason. We are angry so we will find a solution.”

Daloy’s Artistic Director Ea Torrado and co-member Julienne Depatillo echoed the same sentiments, hoping that their performance served as a catalyst for action and a stimulant for people to talk and begin conversations. In their eyes, provoking thought was just as valuable as eliciting emotion.

FEU Dance Company’s Reflections

Bernadette Gaffud of ITHM ‘26, a trainee of the FDC, was able to witness the “Joy & Daloy: A Twinbill Show”. She shared that she was thoroughly captivated by Joy Alpuerto Ritter’s improvisational dance, which exuded raw emotions and fluidity. She was also in awe of Daloy’s performance, mesmerised by their innovative choreography and interactive elements that made her experience more immersive. \

“Overall, it demonstrated how dance has the power to transform and bring people together, showcasing its unifying essence as an art form,” said Gaffud.

Also captivated by Daloy’s performance, Xyron Godfrey Apostol of IAS ‘27, a member of the FDC, shared his insights on the performances. He felt as though he was not only watching a show, but a continuous ideology of advocacies against contemporary world issues. To him, the usage of ducks as a central theme was wise and symbolic. Additionally, he claimed that their comedic sense was unique combined with their ability to incorporate Filipino cultural dance elements.

“It was very theatrical, and using vocals made a huge impact in making the group more harmonious. I think that the skills of the performers were very professional, inspiring me to achieve the same level of professionalism as what I witnessed in their rehearsals,” he said.

Apostol said in mixed English and Filipino, “Hopefully, the FEU Dance Company will be inspired by the work ethics of the Daloy Dance Company and that they manifest the [best practices] in our future works.”

The Daloy Dance Company acknowledges the applause and praise from the audience. Photo by Ea Torrado
A chorus of bodies, the Daloy Dance Company moves in unison for ‘ItikLandia’ performance. Photo by Ea Torrado