Navigating a Precarious Balance: The Noel Garovillo Dance Center's Contemporary Dance as aCommitment to the Community

Ruth Jordana Luna Pison


If it is difficult to picture a ballet school located in Koronadal, South Cotabato, then perhaps it will even take more than a stretch of the imagination to conceive of how contemporary dance survives in Southern Philippines. The story behind the KAHAYAG Community Dance and Theater Company, later reorganized and renamed as the Noel Garrovillo Dance Center, is a narrative of how, notwithstanding the obstacles faced by dance in the regions, sheer conviction and commitment could keep the art form alive. It is also a story of how a dance director and his company had to resolve their contradictions as Christian artist settlers in Mindanao. This paper discusses how contemporary dance as  a flexible and dynamic dance form  has allowed  them to  create pieces that they could consider their “own.” From their initial works that borrowed movements from the T’bolis  and B’laans, to their current choreographies based on their realities as settlers in Koronadal,  Garrovillo’s company   has continuously worked to make dance part of  the local  government’s agenda on cultural and the arts. As cultural brokers, they are faced with both choreographic and intellectual imperatives. Garrovillo believes that there is a need to strengthen the country’s creative industry so that choreographers will have opportunities to create works which are crucial to the life of the nation.


contemporary dance, modern dance, creative industry, ethnolinguistic groups, nation, identity

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ISSN: 2012-0788