The UP Filipiniana Dance Group is one of the most acclaimed cultural performing groups in the country, showcasing the Philippine’s rich cultural heritage both in local and international venues. Composed of students from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, the country’s premiere state university, the group performs a wide array of Philippine dances from the Cordillera region in the north to Muslim Mindanao in the south— and, in recent years, from works of contemporary choreographers.
As cultural ambassadors of the Philippines, Filipiniana remains true to its vision of embodying Philippine traditional and modern-day cultures through dance. The group has performed, among others, at the Midosuji Parade in Japan; Surin International Folklore Festival in Thailand; and SayawPinoy, Pasinaya and WiFi Contemporary Dance Festival in Manila. Last August 2015, the UP Filipiniana represented the country at Pyesta Kolon Datal, an international dance festival in Koronadal, Philippines organized by the Conseil International des Organisations de Festival de Folkloretd’artsTraditionnels (CIOFF).
In 1935, Mrs. Francisca Reyes-Aquino, the first National Artist for Dance, founded the group, which was originally named the “UP Folk Song and Dance Club.” Through her extensive research, Aquino notated and disseminated close to 200 folk dances from the country’s different regions. These dances are now part of the country’s physical education curriculum and are present in the repertoires of Philippine folk dance groups within and outside the Philippines. The artistic directorship of Mrs. Corazon Iñigo led to the group’s almost 3 decades of phenomenal tours abroad, especially to Europe. Under Mrs. Iñigo not only did Filipiniana secure its place on the world’s stage, it also garnered prestigious awards at folkloric festivals and won international dance competitions.
After Mrs. Iñigo’s tenure, Dr. Leilani Gonzalo assumed Filipiniana’s directorship that led to the training of emerging choreographers and folk dance artists. However, Filipiniana’s current thrust toward jazz and modern dance began when Mr. Van Cornelius Manalo was appointed as Filipiniana’s next director. The group is now under the directorship of Mr. Peter Alcedo, Jr., who has received training from and been mentored by Mrs. Iñigo, Dr. Gonzalo, and Mr. Manalo. With him, the group continues Filipiniana’s tradition of artistic excellence and creative versatility set forth by the directors before him.
Filipiniana steadies its mission of furthering and deepening the practice of Philippine folk dance and its accompanying dance forms through research, teaching, re-staging, and participating in cultural events locally and internationally. While the group remains committed to training the next generation of scholars, artists, and leaders in Philippine dance, Filipiniana remains a proud bearer of the country’s amazingly diverse dance heritage and artistic choreographic products.