Today marks the beginning of the final count-down phase towards LKs 20th Anniversary performance PAGLALAKBAY / JOURNEY on Sat 22 Nov 2014 at RADA Studios, London — and with the arrival of the members of the Philippine Baranggay Folk Dance Troupe (PB) Manila, the energy and excitement has been turned-up on full. The PB members are in London for the next couple of months to take part in LKs upcoming events and performances.
Celebrating 20 years with
RADA Studios, 16 Chenies Street WC1E 7EX
22 November 2014 – Matinee 3pm, Evening 7pm
And what a journey it has been!
When a group of women from the Filipino Women’s Association UK (FWA-UK) approached Ronnie del Barrio to teach them a few Filipino folk dances in 1994, little did they know that 20 years later, the company now known as LK would stomp and sway over land and sea as the UK’s torch bearers for the promotion of Philippine arts and culture through dance and music, dazzling audiences with stylish performances, amazing costumes, infectious enthusiasm and energy.
In a fast evolving world where cultures merge and new art forms emerge, LK continues to develop and grow as a dance company rooted in the rich and diverse folk culture and traditions of the Philippines and its more than 100 indigenous groups enriched by the influences of its southeast Asian neighbours and the legacy of Spain’s 400 years of colonisation.
What sets LK apart from other companies is its inclusive ethos. No one is turned away for their age, size, ability, gender or religion. Some families have three generations as members, and children have grown up to be leading performers. It is not just a company, it is a family where everyone is encouraged to support each other in the spirit of bayanihan (community), pakikisama (sharing), pagkakaisa (togetherness) and most of all kasiyahan (fun).
Here in the UK and Europe, LK is regarded as informal cultural ambassadors for the Philippines, showing the rich diversity of its rituals and traditions through their performances and workshops. Invitations continuously pour in from all quarters – Philippine embassies for their official functions, arts and community organisations for world and community events, private functions such as weddings, birthdays and baptisms. They have performed in highly sought after and prestigious venues such as The Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s Southbank, the 2000 Fiesta Filipina at the then Dome, now O2 in Greenwich, The British Museum, Weltmuseum Wien (The World Museum Vienna) and world arts festivals all over the UK and the continent.
This year’s PAGLALAKBAY will dance its way around the Philippine islands - from the northern world heritage site of the spectacular Cordillera mountains of the Igorot tribes, the fiestas and merrymaking of rural folk in Luzon, through to the bailes of the Spanish influenced Visayas, down to the intricate rituals of various ethno-linguistic Lumad groups, then following the languid, undulating movements of the Maranao in Jolo. Authentic instruments such as gongs, bamboo zithers, guitars and even a conch shell will accompany rhythmic stamps of the feet, twirling of the fans and sashaying of voluminous skirts, heart-stopping movements on top of bamboo poles.
Musicians and dancers from the Philippine Baranggay Folk Dance Troupe (PB) will be joining LK as a testimony of the partnership and artistic exchanges that has flourished over the years. This year, LK members crossed the seas to sell-out performances in Manila with PB in front of their families and friends for the start of the 20th year activities in the beautiful PETA (Philippine Educational Theatre Association) Centre.
PAGLALAKBAY is also a metaphor for how far LK’s journey has gone and how its members have grown more polished as performers, more confident and proud of being Filipino and ever more desirable and respected as a company. In 2006, they were bestowed with the Presidential Banaag Award ‘in recognition of its unwavering dedication to artistic excellence, raising cultural awareness and ethnic pride of the Filipino community in the United Kingdom, and supporting cultural and humanitarian activities in the Philippines’. In 2012, LK won the ABS-CBN Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipino Award for Europe.