CAO Group sweeps Asia Pacific Arts Festival 2019 Dance & Music Divisons
De La Salle University’s Culture and Arts Office (CAO) groups, namely the La Salle Dance Company-Street (LSDC-Street), De La Salle Innersoul, and the DLSU Chorale, finished gold in their respective categories in the Asia Pacific Arts Festival (APAF) 2019 held last January 20 at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
This year’s festival highlights included an international friendship exchange, school exchange, a performing arts competition, cultural exchange, team building, music and dance workshops, and a city tour.
APAF seeks to promote harmony, peace, and global friendship through diversified cultural exchange and performing arts competitions. The festival has been held for the past six years, and numerous Asian nations—namely China, Hong Kong, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, Brunei, Japan, among others—participate in the said festival.
Distinctions such as gold, silver, and bronze trophies, and certificates of participation were given to participants whose performances were measured through grades from selected judges. Three winners were chosen per category, who were awarded overall champion, first runner up, and second runner up, respectively. These top three winners were also invited to the APAF Finale Concert.
Living the Animo
LSDC-Street won four golds in different divisions; one in the solos, two in the small groups, and one in the large group dance divisions. Zion Wuxinyi, LSDC-Street member, also represented the company in the solo dance category and won second runner up.
Meanwhile, Monica Omondang, Arjon Castro, Bea Carlos, and Gwyneth Lim from De La Salle Innersoul bagged two golds: one in the trio music category and one in the solo music category.
DLSU Chorale also managed to be hailed as champions for the vocal category, and the group also secured gold for the small group category.
Behind the victories
Joining international competitions is not new to LSDC-Street, according to company manager Erika Anastacio (IV, BS-BIO). Anastacio revealed in an online interview with The LaSallian that the number of times they compete is dependent on the number of festivals or competitions the dance community holds in a year. “Usually, we make it a point to join at least one international competition every year,” she discussed.
For Beatrice De Castro (I, AB-CAM), a trainee for DLSU Chorale, preparing for the competition took up days from December of last year until January of 2019, and involved learning both their song pieces and the involved choreography. Preparations of the street dance company did not differ much; Anastacio narrated, “We prepared for the competition by training for it physically and also creatively involving ourselves in artistic directions during the making of our dances.”
Although experiences with external competitions varied among the competing artist groups, it was disclosed that joining APAF was a first time for all three groups. The chorale trainee disclosed that the said arts festival has been around for six years, but this year was the first time that an invitation was forwarded to them.
Considering that his group usually does not compete internationally, De La Salle Innersoul member Arjon Castro (IV, BS MGT) emphasized, “We placed in a lot of time to form and perfect the performance that we sang during the arts festival.” He continued, “We wanted to showcase the beauty of Filipino music, which is why our director formed a setlist containing OPM and Ethnic songs.”
In terms of funding to participate in the said event, De Castro confirmed that these were possible due to “joint efforts [from] the school and the participants” to shoulder costs for accommodation, airfare, and registration fees for the chorale group. In the case of LSDC-Street, the company manager stated that they made use of solicitations and earnings from four fundraising concerts days before their flight.
Anastacio, De Castro, and Castro expressed their delight in their wins, with the DLSU Chorale trainee considering it as a “good start to 2019—a stepping stone to achieving greater accomplishments, and hopefully winning bigger awards, both locally and internationally.”