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San Sebastian College – Recoletos Manila, through its Center for Culture and the Arts (CCA), recognizes the cultural movement among young people. It is in this light that the CCA is organizing the first installment of the Philippine Hip Hop Dance Theater Festival this coming 27th and 28th days of February. The office acknowledges that there emanates among the young a sense of revolution that it is auspicious to hold the festival around the time when the country celebrates the historic EDSA Revolution. There is hope that said first installment would lead to a bigger event in June around the time when the country commemorates the 1898 Revolution.

In the morning of the 27th , senior members of the San Sebastian Recollect Dance Troupe, Vinnie Mendez and Jose Venkar Gabayeron, will be holding dance classes. In the afternoon, there will be a forum entitled, RE-view: A Look at Philippine Aesthetics. forum 3.5The speakers during the forum are James Eric Wong, John Erikson Javier, and Joey Vargas. Mr. Wong will discuss his Observations as a Third Generation Student while Mr. Javier will talk about Passion vs. Profession.  Both are known young dance practitioners and choreographers in the country. Mr. Vargas, who used to teach theater and communication at the University of the Philippines and is the Founding Artistic Director of the SSC-R Manila Center for Culture and the Arts will present Hip Hop Dance Concerts as Theater. Such a forum is meant to look at hip-hop and its many derivations or deviations as an art form worthy of academic discourse. The discussions also follow hope to identify and establish hip-hop aesthetics in the country.

Immediately following the forum, there will be an inter-high school dance competition in which eight dance crews are participating: VM Rock Nation from Victorino Mapa High School, Dream Team from Mataas na Paaralang Neptali A. Gonzales, Hiyas ng Sining from Manila Cathedral SchoolSalinlahi Dance Troupe from Ramon Magsaysay High School, ASOMBROSO from Saint Anthony Academy of Quezon, Ritmo from Timoteo Paez Integrated High School, Prodigy Extreme Dancers from Guardian Angel School, Inc., and Break D’Trap from Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino High School. 

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On the 28th, Saturday, the San Sebastian Recollect Dance Troupe (SSRDT) will be staging a concert that fuses hip hop theories with theater principles entitled, [R(e]motion): Recollections, Emotions in Motion. 

With the guidance of the Artistic Director, Joey Vargas, the student choreographers delve on subjects that touch on issues such as poverty, gender bias, love, the abuse of love, family, war. Through the process of creation, the choreographers and the dancers are exposed to various theater theories and principles fused with other concepts. They are also initiated so they may grasp stage semiotics. The result of said process are about 8-9 dance pieces that will be showcased as a [R(e]motion) or Recollections, Emotions in Motion.

SSRDT will be joined by Asian Pride, Flickhoundz, Next Ep., Unschooled, and the Kabayan KrumpMovement as guests performers. The concert is expected to start at 6 o’clock in the evening at the Tanghalang Diego Cera of SSC-R Manila.

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The events during said weekend comprise only the first installment of the Festival as the CCA also begins preparation for bigger projects meant to help promote and develop the hip hop movement in the country as an art from and as a strong force for cultural revolution, meant to produce among the young a very high sense of aesthetics and social responsibility.

This series of events targeted towards acknowledging contemporary forms of art are part of the institution’s celebration of its 75th year of foundation. SSC-R Manila, for three years now, in celebration of its Diamond Jubilee, has been working along the collective theme: Greatness awaits one who recollects! Such projects as these connected with the Philippine Hip Hop Dance Theater Festival confirm and reaffirm SSC-R Manila’s commitment to establish itself as a Center for Culture and the Arts and its commitment to grow with the community it serves.