Dance Education involves the teaching of tradition,
technique, style and the methodologies of teaching dance itself.
Tradition is taught in and out of school, in academic disciplines
and in social practices or customs. The school teaches formally with
syllabi and systems while the society teaches in communal activities, from
rites to games, from work to celebrations. Both serve to perpetuate
tradition, by both hows (from steps to dressing up) and whys (for causes of
men and of gods). Schools can codify folk dancing, while society can
continue to change this in real-life circumstance. Tradition may not be
static but evolve according to the environment and beliefs of a people.
Technique is generally taught in school, which in Asia may be
built around a village teacher or guru. Skill is honed to conform to
established ways of moving and motivating. In ballet and now-traditional
modern dance forms, e.g., of Martha Graham or Jose Limon, this skill is
strictly codified and monitored. Progression is patterned in time so that
virtuosity or expressiveness may be achieved at the optimum. Both ballet
and folk dance may proceed from centuries-old practice and performance,
although folk dance may have the leeway of allowing a greater number of
persons to participate, depending on its classical mold, expected agility or
Style is very much a refinement of technique and interpretation.
It is both a consciousness of tradition's perfection and nuances, and a
personal style that can positively enhance or promote that very tradition.
It is both past and present, favorably seen in a performance. Style is
both taught and intuited, both a study and a gift.
Out of the village where rituals like the ati-atihan in
Aklan, the sinulog in Cebu, the pagdiwata in Palawan and
buklog in Zamboanga, and other festivities like weddings,
child-blessings, death commemorations and many Christian and non-Christian
feasts, folk dance has also been increasingly formalized in schools,
seminars and workshops. When Francisca Reyes Aquino did her research in
Philippine folk dances, she also introduced these into the physical
education courses and safe-guarded them through dance clinics and the
establishment of the Philippine Folk Dance Society. Practices were codified
into steps, figures, directions and musical arrangements. To the present
day, it is the physical education departments that are the main guardians of
these folk dances, documentations of which have been expanded by further
researches, theses, books, musical recordings and video-films. To a limited
extent, these P.E. departments have also introduced ballet and modern dance
courses, but these are mainly confined to metropolitan centers.
Studio type of schools mainly teach ballet and, in some, like the
Cultural Center of the Philippines Dance School, modern dance. Russian and
English teachers initiated these schools, the most significant of which was Luva
Adameit's Cosmopolitan Ballet and Dancing School from where subsequent
serious teachers came from, among them Remedios de Oteyza, Leonor Orosa
Goquingco, Rosalia Merino Santos, etc. Other notable ones were Anita Kane,
Ricardo and Roberta Cassell who again developed career teachers like
Felicitas Layag Radaic, Fe Sala Villarica, Eddie Elejar and Benjamin
Villanueva Reyes. Ideally ballet training lasts from eight to ten years
from ages eight or ten to finish at sixteen or eighteen. Various
international schools of thought may prevail; lately there has been
developed a Philippine ballet syllabus. In professional dancing, learning
continues through much of a dancer's career.
Although studied at a later age, the same happens in modern dance
which began with individual artist's motivation and mode of motion, like
that of Mary Wigman, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Merce Cunningham, etc.
Today, modern dance may be taught in a more mixed mode, including some
ballet technique. Jazz and other forms of vernacular dance be incorporated,
or taught on their own. Early Philippine pioneers were Kaethe Hauser, Trudl
Dubsky Zipper, Manolo Rosado, Rosalia Merino Santos and Alice Reyes.
In the academe student are taught in several techniques and
styles, forms and traditions. They also study theoretical aspects of dance,
like its history, aesthetics and signification, criticism, sociology and
anthropology of dance, anatomy and kinesiology, movement notation, music,
theatrical designs (costumes, sets, lighting and make-up) and dance
production. They are developed in both theoretical and practical expertise
In the Philippines, Philippine Women's University started a now
defunct dance degree program, . The University of the Philippines ran two
dance programs at the College of Human Kinetics and at the College of Music,
the second one still prevailing in both diploma and bachelor degrees. De la
Salle University's Benilde School has also worked out a degree program with
the CCP Dance School and Ballet Philippines. Abroad, there are masteral and
doctoral programs, some of which Filipinos have taken.