“It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance. It is the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance. It is the one who won't be taken who cannot seem to give. And the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.”
Dance is poetry when its measure is not too heavy for the imaginary wind that carries its every movement. This is what I always see in an excellently executed art that runs close to music or flows with it as a cultural component.
One of the biggest delights in the school year 2007-2008 for this University Town is the visibility of the newly-revived Silliman Dance Troupe, now known as the Silliman University Kahayag Dance Troupe. From its first revival concert to the triumphs in two international festivals in China, Kahayag has not failed to give the expected poetry in movement. Its distinctive rhythmic choreography is a creation of Ronnie B. Mirabuena, Silliman University’s Director of Dance.
Ronnie’s ability to create beautiful rhythm in his choreography was noted in Manila during the Douglas Nierras Choreography Clinic on March 24 to April 7 which was attended by dance teachers from all over the country. His Panata, a piece on the deep spirituality of the Filipinos during Holy Week, won for him the Best Choreographer honor. Douglas Nierras, who was a recent visitor to Dumaguete with his group, The Powerdance, for a concert at the Luce, was specially proud of Ronnie’s achievement.
Ronnie who considers dance teaching as his ministry, is not actually a new force in the country’s dance world. With Folk Dance as his specialization, he practically spend all his teenage years exploring dance traditions as a student at the Philippine High School for the Arts in Mt. Makiling, Los Baños, Laguna. In 1994, he was a dance performer in A Cultural Visit to Brunei, a production sponsored by the Filipino Community in Brunei. He was exposed not only to performance for he was lights designer in school productions like the ballet “Saot, Bayle, Sayaw” in 1999. On the same year, he represented the Philippines in the Citta di Erba Eurofolk Festival in Italy. As a college student, he served as president of the Philippine Normal University Folk Dance Troupe in 1997 to 1998. With his very active participation in the student cultural life of his school, he managed to be a consistent awardee for academic excellence. Graduation from the country’s leading universities in Teacher Education with degrees in Social Science Education and Physical Education led to more opportunities: he was a workshop trainor/facilitator of the CCP Sining sa Eskwela held at Iloilo National High School in 2002, a Philippine delegate to the ASEAN Art Youth Camp in Myanmar on the same year and a lot more.
His long journey with dance finally found a major destination: the Silliman University Kahayag Dance Troupe. It is the Christian dimension of the University’s mission that led Ronnie here to Dumaguete. His well defined faith is always reflected in every visible rhythm – actually a dance praise to the Great-Giver-of-all-talents.