Dance group from Philippines to perform at SHSU

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The Sining Palawan Dance Troupe, a university company from the Philippines, will give two performances at Sam Houston State University this week.

The first performance will take place Thursday at 11 a.m. in the Farrington Pit, and the second will be held Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Beto Criminal Justice Center Killinger Auditorium.

Both performances will be free to students and the general public.

“We’re hoping to make a lot of noise at the first performance and get the students to come out and see what these dancers can do,” said Dana Nicolay, associate dean of the college of arts and sciences. “The company does all of the traditional forms of Philippino dancing, which actually turns out to be quite a lot.”

The company includes 14 dancers and two artistic directors.

They are traveling with a group of officials from Palawan State University in Puerto Princesa in the Philippines as part of a cultural exchange mission sponsored by the SHSU Division of Academic Affairs.

“The company has visited before in 2006,” Nicolay said. “It was really obvious that the directors knew their stuff.”

Nicolay said, since the Philippines have been ruled by seven different cultures, the company has learned just as many different types of performance styles.

“In addition to traditional Philippine dances, they also perform Muslim, Spanish, Dutch and American dances, just to name a few,” he said. “The company does a really good job of presenting each of those cultures. However, when they do the indigenous Philippine dance, I think that’s the highlight of the performance.”

The company has been asked to make each of their performances unique, Nicolay said.

“I expect there will be quite a difference between the two shows,” he said. “They’ve been asked to focus the Friday evening show on the traditional forms of dance they know, so we’ll probably see more contemporary dancing in the pit performance.”

Nicolay said one type of dance the company performs called Tinikling is one of their best.

“When you see it, you just get drawn in visually and it’s almost like magic,” Nicolay said. “There’s a genuineness and a purity of heart that really comes through. These dancers have been through lots of training, and you can really see that in their intricate movements.”

Nicolay said the idea behind the exchange is to increase the possibility of travel and interaction between the two universities.

“This should really expand each university’s international awareness,” he said. “This group is bringing with them the distillation of centuries of culture through dance, and I think the audiences will be profoundly affected by what they see.”

For more information, contact Nicolay at (936) 294-1117.