LK is about participation and continuing the ‘baranggay’ (community) spirit, bonding through our memories of the homeland, wanting to share our sense of ethnic pride and teach others about our cultural roots

 

Background

Founded in 1994

The foundation of Lahing Kayumanggi (brown race) Dance Company (LK) was laid when the Philippine Centre London invited choreographer Ronnie del Barrio to create a performance for their event back in 1993. Members of the Philippine Centre, the Filipino Women's Associations UK (FWA-UK) along with other individuals joined togther on a voluntary to form an informal group with a desire to dance and promote their Filipino cultural heritage through music, song and dance. This later led to the formalisation of LK in the Spring of 1994. 

LK is about participation and continuing the ‘baranggay’ (community) spirit, bonding through our memories of the homeland, wanting to share our sense of ethnic pride and teach others about our cultural roots. There’s a need for the new generation of Filipino-Europeans growing up here, to see, feel and experience our Filipino folk culture to ensure it’s not forgotten by generations to come. Bringing our culture to a wider European community also acts as way of educating new audiences, who we are as a people and a country, and thereby forging bridges between our new adopted homelands and our ancestral home. It also helps breakdown cultural prejudices when we show our rich and varied culture to unknowing audiences... especially among Europeans its a revelation to many how familiar our Spanish and rural dances appear, which often touches people deeply when experienced for the first time, as if memories of a forgotten past has been brought back to life.

The company is lead by Creative Director, Ronnie del Barrio, who's background stem from his years as a Principal dancer with the Philippine Baranggay Folk Dance Troupe (PB), Manila. The PB is, today, the longest current running Philippine folk dance troupe in the world, formed in 1946 by the Dr Paz-Cielo A Belmonte, or Mommy Bel as she’s also fondly known. Ronnie says:

"I owe much of my skills as a choreographer and performer to the training and opportunities I received whilst working and touring with Mummy Bel, drawing upon her years of experience as a teacher and researcher of indigenous Philippine dance culture. She instilled in me a desire to continue in her footsteps of exploration, so when the opportunity came to teach here in London it was a natural progression for me to start up the company — Dance in it’s basic form is human emotion expressed through movement, and when done with intent and passion it has the capacity to reach into people’s soul and capture their imagination. Philippine tribal and folk dance culture is very rich and varied, representing a multitude of ethnic groups, each with their own distinct movements and sound. It is why you will never tire from watching Philippine folk dances, there are vast materials to pick from, and with each show I work with LKs creative team to develop new interpretations and stories which we hope people can relate to, and perhaps recognise things from within their own culture, as all aspects of life are depicted through the dances."

The sense of camaraderie and family which Filipino’s share is what brings people together. LK have members from families spanning four generation and age ranges from 3 yrs up to 70+, with all abilities and skills. Many of LKs members are healthcare professionals, self-employed, teachers, students and some retired. Majority lives across Greater London, some just outside London. LKs is open to everyone regardless of ability and skills, as through LKs workshops we build up members skills and confidence to perform. Many members have a background in dance either from college or other dance groups, which helps LK advance new comers to a sufficient performance level, through weekly workshop rehearsals. LK prepare a min. of 4-6 weeks for each shows, developing and creating the new routines.

LK has performed across the UK and mainland Europe for the past two decades, at many different venues and events (please below). The show SULYAP at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank range among the top purely given the prestigious venue and the reach of a mainstream audience, as well as their weekly TV appearances on the GENERATION GAME (ITV) in the late 90s. LK love performing at festivals and barrio fiestas for the sheer fun of the audience and atmosphere, and are very passionate about the preparation for it's workshops/performances at schools and care homes where LK tailor each event according to the requirement and abilities of each group. LK often assist local Embassies with the educational and cultural programs.

LK has since 1994 toured and mounted successful theatre shows in London, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Edinburgh and Belfast, as well as across mainland Europe with invitations to perform in cities like Amsterdam, Berlin, Bayreuth, Copenhagen, Malmö, Vienna, Stockholm.

 

Events and venues

  • American International School, London
  • Asian Festivals in Bradford and Sheffield
  • Barrio Fiestas including: 
    ondon; Morden; Haunslow; Merton; Bournemouth; Scarborough; Milton Keynes; Birmingham and North Wales, Yorkshire
  • Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
  • British Museum, London
  • British Museum of Mankind, London
  • Centre for Filipinos
  • Chrysalis Theatre, Milton Keynes
  • Church Hill Theatre, Edinburgh
  • Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone, London:
    GANDINGHAN (2009), RITWAL (2010), UGAT (2011)
  • CoralCay Conservation Trusts
  • Eneskillen, Northern Ireland
  • F:EAST, Bull Arts Theatre
  • Fiesta Filipina, Millennium Dome's McDonalds Theatre
  • Filipino Women's Association UK (FWA-UK) – annual dinner dance 
  • Help Now 1 - Sendong Appeal, London
  • Generation Game (TV), 
  • BBC 1
  • St Ermins Hotel, London: KALAYAAN
  • London Aquarium, London
  • Lunch for a Cause – Mt Pinatubo disaster appeal
  • Lyrical Dance (2003-7), Lyric Theatre  
  • Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham
  • Notting Hill Mayfest, St John's Church, Ladbroke Grove, London
  • Café de Paris, London: 'One Billion Rising' charity performance 
  • Royal Festival Hall, London: PAGDIRIWANG
  • Palace of Westminster, Westminster
  • Paul O'Grady Show (TV), ITV
  • Pinoy Expat Magazine Launch, Amsterdam
  • Philippine Department of Tourism Trade Exhibitions
  • PETA Theatre, Quezon City: MAGLABILAAN (Both Sides) (April 2014) – 20th Anniversary Show Part 1
  • Philippine Embassy endorsed projects
  • RADA Studios, London: PAGLALAKBAY (Journey) (November 2014) – 20th Anniversary Show Part 2
  • Royal Geographic Society, London
  • Royal St Katharine's Trust, London
  • Novotel Hotel, London: SAYAWITAN; DECADA (2004); AN EVENING WITH LK
  • Shaw Theatre, London: TIKIM
  • St Andrew's United Reformed Church, Hampstead:
    KASAYHAN (2008); ARI ARI MUNDING (2012)
  • Stantonbury Theatre, Milton Keynes
  • Queen Elizabeth Hall, London: SULYAP (2000)
  • The Embankment Gardens Open Air Theatre, London
  • The Vue, Milton Keynes: ISLANDS OF PARADISE (2013)
  • Werkstadt-der-Kulturen, Berlin-Neuköln, Germany: UGAT (2013)
  • Westminster Methodist Church Hall, Westminster
  • World Travel Markets
  • Welcome Asia Festival, Lampton Park, Hounslow

As a voluntary community group, funding remain LKs biggest challenge, and the marketing/fund raising team is always hard at work finding new avenues for sponsorship and grants to cover expenses. LKs costumes primarily are made in the Philippines where fabrics, accessories and props are sourced, as well as some made by members of LK.


...in recognition of its unwavering dedication to artistic excellence, raising the cultural awareness and ethnic pride of the Filipino community in the United Kingdom, and supporting cultural and humanitarian activities in the Philippines
— Presidential Banaag Awardee, 2006

What We've Achieved

  • 2014
    20th Anniversary celebrated with two productions: MAGKABILAAN (Both sidess), PETA Theatre, Quezon City, in collaboration with the Philippine Baranggay Folk Dance Troupe, Manila; PAGLALAKBAY (Journey), RADA Studios, Chenies Street, London

  • 2012
    LK was presented with a Medal as winner of the ABS-CBN Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipino Awards Europe — the presentation took place at the TFC London, Earls Court, and later official ceremony in Manila

  • 2006
    LK received the Presidential Banaag Award – ‘in recognition of its unwavering dedication to artistic excellence, raising the cultural awareness and ethnic pride of the Filipino community in the United Kingdom, and supporting cultural and humanitarian activities in the Philippines’

  • 2004
    10th Anniversary celebrated with the dinner dance production of DECADA held at Novotel Hotel, Hammersmith