FEU President’s Committee on Culture Executive Director Martin Lopez on the success of FEU Dance Company’s “SISENTA”.

The FEU Dance Company celebrated more than 60 years of existence, of dance, of alumni, of artistic directors, of achievements, of giving pride to FEU and the Philippines with a series of events under the banner Sisenta.

The Exude Dancers won the inter school, inter institute street dance competition organized by the FDC. Judges were FDC alumni who are excelling in their respective professional street dance groups.

A fascinating exhibit of 60 years of FDC memorabilia, photos and videos opened in the lobby of the Administration Building.

A good number of alumni and students watched Be Brave, the award winning documentary on FEU which includes the FDC.

Even more alumni attended the Memorial Mass to honor all FDC pillars, supporters and alumni who already departed this world.

The highlight was the concert of the FDC directed by alumnus Koyan Reyes where they restaged their winning competition pieces of the last decade and other notable works choroeographed by Artistic Director (AD) Eduardo Malagkit and past AD Shonee Henry Alzona Henry.

An unexpected highlight was the dinner and dance party that followed!

I would like to share what I wrote for the souvenir program which I also read to the audience.

“All great things start with an idea. In 1957, FEU Vice President Alfredo Reyes had such an idea – which was to create a dance company for the 30 year old university. He then sought the help of faculty member Corazon Iñigo, already a luminary in the field of folk dance. Thus was born the FEU Folk Dance Group.

Within two years, it established itself as a force to reckon with in the dance world not just in the Philippines, where it was already making waves, but also abroad. In 1959, the Group became the first Philippine based university group to win competitions in Europe, particularly the two major folklore competitions in Spain: the Hispanico Americano Folklore Competition in Caceres as well as the Palma de Mallorca Folklore Competition.

In the more than six decades that followed, the group evolved with the times and took on various identities reflecting the ideas and visions of notable Artistic Directors. Rosalie Merino Santos, the mother of modern dance in the Philippines gave birth to the FEU Modern Dance Company. Shonee Alzona Henry first joined the FEU Experimental Dance Group and eventually became the Artistic Director of both the FEU Modern Dance Company and the FEU Folk Dance Group then headed by Josie Sison. Cherry Rodriguez Chastain acted on her idea of merging both groups, eventually forming the FEU Dance Company (FDC).

Eduardo Malagkit, the ballet world’s first male Peter Pan celebrates a decade of being the Artistic Director of the FDC. Under his leadership, the FDC continues to choreograph challenging pieces, mount excellent productions and place if not win in local, national and international competitions in various genres of dance: folk, contemporary, street and ballroom. The FDC won the National Folk Dance Competition in the CCP in 2013, allowing them to compete and win 3rd place in the Cheonan Folk Dance Festival in South Korea in 2015. The FEU Street Dance Alliance under the banner of the FEU Dance Company won the 2018 UAAP Street Dance Competition. In 2019, the FDC returned to Korea where they competed in the Andong Mask Dance Festival and again won 3rd place.

From Corazon Iñigo to Eduardo Malagkit Malagkit, thousands of FEU dancers were molded, developed and transformed by their experiences and learnings while with the FDC. Many of these alumni continued to dance with professional companies in the Philippines or abroad. Others started their own dance organizations. No matter where life took them, the FDC certainly played a big role.

Moving forward, it is my hope that the older alumni will mentor, inspire and set good examples for the younger ones, including current FDC members. The FDC network is vast and powerful and can be tapped for so much good, not just for the FDC or FEU but for the Philippines and the world.

Getting the alumni involved in Sisenta to choreograph, dance, support, attend as audience members and share stories, photos and videos will hopefully lead to even more collaborative projects and bonding opportunities!

Thanks to all who made Sisenta possible!

Mabuhay ang FDC!