Dance to Think Through

Article excerpt

Byline: Contributed by BASILIO ESTEBAN S. VILLALUZ / As told to the SCU BULLETIN STAFF

If you're one dance maniac, then this academic program is for you.

Initially offered at the University of the Philippines Diliman College of Music in 1980, the Diploma in Creative Musical Performing Arts and Popular Music, has survived as the most scholarly and complete dance degree in the Philippines.

Although there were older dance programs locally, this is the only one that has endured and has provided the full scope of dance/artistic education in the field.


To admit, the program, which takes four years (for the Creative Musical Performing Arts) to five (for the Popular Music) to finish, requires a dance technique, choreographic study and music placement examination and audition, which they have to pass. At least two to three years of previous dance training is expected of the enrollees.

It is the only college that offers the Asian dance (e.g., Philippine folk and modern dance) as a course, although they have to study all kinds of dances.

In the program, we do not only train in dance but also in music (including some performance), theater, and theories in dance about history, criticism, anthropology, pedagogy, anatomy and movement notation. For the extra year as Bachelor, dance music, dance semiotics/aesthetics and a short thesis, are added.

Students are also exposed to various dance styles, like Indian, Indonesian, Flamenco, the avant garde and grounding in Filipino dancers. Dance masters have taught some of these to the apprentices.

Moreover, they are also privileged to join the UP Dance Company, which has toured nationally and joined festivals in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Beijing, Macau, and Malaysia. It has also fulfilled commissions from the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

Awards have been received by both group and its choreographers, like twice from the UP Chancellor for Flordeliza Fernandez's works.

Although, the practicum part extends beyond school hours; thus, making it demanding.

Each member must stage a production in order to graduate. This may be new works (often to music by composition majors), or a deconstruction of the classics. These have been done to make Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Giselle, and Petrouchka nationally relevant.


Because of their thorough study in both academic and practical work (in dance, music, theater and general education), UP Dance graduates are able to exercise individual and group leadership. …