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Dancing with Rama: a rare workshop showcasing Filipino dance

Dr. Mars Cavestany

This Saturday (July 18), a visiting Filipino danseur-cultural animateur touring with the famous Loboc Children's Choir is conducting a one-day-only integrated dance workshop that everyone interested in dance theatre should take full advantage of. 


He recently wowed Standing-Room-Only audiences in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney with nothing less than a world-class performance.

"Bohol Rising" as the show with the choir was aptly titled, proved to be a new and rare total musical theatre encounter for local spectators exposed mostly to pop concerts and the like. Thus, such departure from the usual commercial outings proved altogether an unforgettably uplifting experience etched in our hearts and memories.  

Now, here's yet another bit of good news and treat arising from the same visiting artists' troupe. 

The star dancer-actor who figured prominently in the same show is Raymund Candelaria Marcaida, better known by his pet name "Rama". He is staying a week or two longer after everyone has travelled back to Manila precisely to conduct a dance workshop tailor-made to suit any and all interested cultural groups including but not limited to choral and dance groups, as well as choreographers, members of folk dance groups not to mention other younger  dance students and enthusiasts. 

Rama started in his early 20s with a Western mode of discipline under such towering Filipino dance teachers like Julie Borromeo.

His baptism of fire in the Asian dance form where lies much of his expertise began through a dance scholarship in Yogyakarta, Indonesia under the tutelage of the iconic  PadepokanSeniBagongKussudiardja.

This was reinforced  with a year-long acculturation in Bali, one of the most amazing places steeped in cultural tradition and heritage. Such cultural immersion made him realise both his metier and true calling as a dancer. 

Returning home, Rama began fusing and experimenting on the Asian dance form, mixing and matching it with his first Western training like East meets West. Additionally, he sought his own roots reorienting himself with the truly  indigenous Philippine movement such as the "Pangalay" as taught masterfully by its leading guru Ligaya Fernando Amilbangsa.

Like all artists, at some point one has to strike out on one's own, and when he did, he hybridised, synthesised, and distilled all his learned dance disciplines into what he safely and simply calls "creative movements."

He now performs essentially as a one-man theatre while collaborating unstoppably with the Philippine's answer to the Vienna Boys Choir, the  Loboc Children's Choir as well as with Boholano pioneering artist Gardy Labad travelling with him in US, Europe and Asia. 

Rama is also a known songwriter and composer to some of the best known singers in the Philippines today. 

Interested parties are urged to call the over-all coordinator to express interest, clarify details/further enquiry, or reserve a spot straightaway in any of the three, 3-hour sessions limited to 30 participants per session on Saturday, 18 July are: Session 1 (9- 12am); Session 2 (1-4pm) plus an afterhours session for those coming from work,  Session 3 - (5-8 pm).  

The other possibility is, for organisations who can arrange for a minimum group of ten participants, to have their separate sessions during any of the additional alternative dates: Wednesday to Friday , July  15, 16 or 17th, anytime am, pm or early evening.  

All mechanics and logistics may be coordinated with Dr. Mars Cavestany, Artistic Director, Filipinas-Petals (Philippine Educational Theatre Artists League Sydney) at 02 9636 4273,  0405 756 364 or 0414 928 952.

Other participating associations include the BAFA via Malcolm Boncales and Jade Cadelina, FAACES c/o Manny Diel, RMEG thru Sennie Masian, and Radio Dalisay's Mon and Nilda Carpo.  

Photo credit: Bohol Eyes, Pangalay Dance

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