Silayan was born in the 70's out of the vision of its founder, Sonia Capadocia. Motivated by a continuous search for cultural identity in a foreign land, Sonia, an award-winning school teacher and noted dance instructor, gathered a handful of young students and taught them some Filipino folk dances. Fascinated by the exotic rhythms and intricate dance steps, the youngsters wanted to learn more. What began as a fun-filled activity achieved professional recognition when the group was invited to perform throughout the Philippine-American community and in many events throughout the city. At this time, the ensemble was called "Sulu," a Filipino word for light. From donations collected at performances, new costumes and musical instruments were ordered from the Philippines. Sonia managed the ensemble and changed the name to "Silayan."|
A major breakthrough occurred in 1973 when Silayan performed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center. Silayan then appeared on local TV shows and traveled to perform throughout California, from Monterey to Desert Hot Springs. The company worked extensively with established Filipino performing artists and ensembles, among them the famous Rey-Card Duet, Diomedes Maturan, Carmen Soriano, the Madrigal Singers and Anacani of the Lawrence Welk Show. Silayan has traveled to Europe to represent the Philippines throughout France and the Basque cities of Spain, completing its third tour in 1990.
Comprised of multi-ethnic artists, Silayan’s artistic mission is to present and produce high-caliber dance works from a Philippine-American perspective reflecting the country's resplendent heritage and celebrating the vibrant spirit of its culture and diverse peoples. Primarily a folk dance company, Silayan’s extensive and evolving repertoire ranges from traditional dances to original full-length contemporary dance works inspired by Filipino legends and folklore. Through dance, Silayan not only mirrors and captures the country’s colorful traditions but also portrays the diverse influences of every nation that landed on Philippine shores.
In 1990, Dulce, Sonia’s daughter, became the company’s new Artistic Director. Since then, Silayan has performed in venues such as the Japan America Theatre in association with the Japanese-American Cultural and Community Center’s "Celebrate California" Series; Cal State Los Angeles Playhouse Theatre; the John Anson Ford Theatre; respectively opening and closing the World Dance Series of the prestigious Dance Kaleidoscope Festival; the New Vision Complex Theatre at Leimert Park in celebration of the Los Angeles Festival’s "Crossing LA" Series; the California Plaza; the Tom Bradley Theatre of the Los Angeles Theatre Center; and recently completed its season concert at the Fountain Theatre.
A nominee for the Lester Horton Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Staging Traditional Dance, this twenty-member ensemble had been invited by songstress Kuh Ledesma to open her repertoire of songs for Philippine Independence Day in 1996. Currently, the company is a consistent recipient of multiple organizational grants from the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, the California Arts Council, and the Los Angeles Music and Performing Arts Commission for Artistic Excellence. Silayan continues to strive to be an important voice in representing the Philippine-American community in the Los Angeles area through its programming of full-length productions, workshops, and public performances throughout the city and beyond.
Silayan Dance Company
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