Not just beautiful destinations, but Eastern Visayas has also a group of people that shows to the world the rich culture of our place through the form of dancing.
In its 50 years of considerable existence, the Leyte Kalipayan Dance Company continues to show off a world-class interpretation of Eastern Visayas’ rich history and traditions through performing arts.
The dance troupe does not only hone each member in dancing, but it helps instill discipline, builds dreams, learn lessons in life, and a company which gives its members the opportunity to travel around the world to share to other people varied cultures and traditions.
At present, it is one of the best folkloric dance troupes in the Philippines. Undeniably, it happens to be the Leyte’s pride.
KALIPAYAN THROUGH THE YEARS
It started out as the Leyte Filipiniana DanceTroupe in 1960 by Teresita Veloso Pil. After four years, it received international recognitions for having its tour abroad. They have earned exceptional reviews and appearing in the legendary Ed Sullivan Show.
The troupe performed at the 1970 World TradeExposition in Osaka, Japan. In 1971, they spent a month performing at the Philippine-Guam Trade Fair as official cultural delegates of the Philippines in Guam.
In 1975, the troupe was reorganized and became an independent entity. From 1975 to 1985, the troupe gave performances for foreign dignitaries that ranged from the U.N, Secretary General to famed ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn.
In 1977, the troupe was renamed Leyte Kalipayan Dance Company when the Leyte Kalipayan Cultural Foundation, Inc. was formed. It won the Silver Medal at the Dijon International Folklore Festival Competitions in Dijon, France among 32 other international dance groups.
It is also the first dance troupe that visited Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that won the hearts of more than 12,000 OFWs working there. They have also performed in Kuwait for an international dance festival and ended their Middle East tour in Bahrain.
In 1982, they performed at the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee who gave them standing ovations. Also for the opening of the EPCOT Center in Disneyworld, Florida, joining the “18 World’s Best Dance Troupes” invited for the event. They have also participated in the prestigious International Children’s Festival in Viriginia, and then gave shows in New York City.
They performed in 33 states during their U.S. Tour. They also participated at the 10th Festival Internacional de Cervantino for two weeks in different Mexican cities.
The company was designated as the official Philippine delegates to the 1990 Asian Folklore Festival in Malaysia. They performed in folklore festivals in Spain, 1993; The Netherlands, Belgium, and England, 1995. A two-month European Tour followed in 1998 with visits to Germany, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
The company continues to educate and entertain audiences locally and internationally on Philippine dance and music.
Paul Neil Glova
Leyte Normal University
Facts from 8 magazine