Renowned French choreographer Emmanuelle Huynh said any change in the government’s national policy must run alongside the development of contemporary arts.
Huynh, who was a recent visitor to the Philippines, led a contemporary dance workshop with 15 young beneficiaries from French-Philippine non-governmental organizations, like Association Compassion Asian Youth, ATD Quart Monde, CAMELEON Philippines, Enfants du Mekong and Virlanie Foundation.
According to Huynh, dance is an effective way to reach out to children and young adults who have experienced difficulties in their lives. She added that the awareness for contemporary dance comes with a political initiative and a wider perspective of social conditions.
“Dance is a situation where people have to share time and space. We are forced to talk and to be and to touch with them. In dance, you have to agree or if you disagree, you have to talk about these disagreements. Dance is able to put people in situation of communicating. Saying I and saying we, which is the basis of being a human being, which is not possible everywhere,” Huynh said.
Huynh added that with contemporary art, it has to be a political decision that things have to change. She also said that it is also a question of freedom.
“It will take lots of time but it is possible to change some things because there are embassies and there are volunteer associations, but the best thing would be if the Filipino politicians would also change their thinking in many things, like education, arts and equality. You know it is so unbalanced here,” she said.
Huynh explained that the platforms of the current Duterte administration, like that of lowering the age bracket for imprisonment from 15 to 9, is not well-received in France.
Huynh, who was a former director at the Contemporary Dance Center of Angers in France and the director of the dance company, Mua, said it make her job easier seeing how much the young participants enjoy dancing.
She brought up the video of the Cebu dancing inmates and noted that French people are amazed by the talented nature of Filipinos.
According to Huynh, the challenge for her is to point out to the children what they are doing right and whether they are finally grasping what dance is.
“I am trying to give them some experience of contemporary dance which means, at the same time, having a consciousness of their own body and of their own autonomy in movement,” she said.
She added, “They do not know what contemporary dance is so even when they do things well in terms of contemporary dance, they are not conscious of what we look for so my job is to make them conscious of what is dance they do things more like poses but dance is in between the poses.”
Huynh’s next project will be to choreograph for the Ballet Philippines a performance scheduled for next year.
Image credits: Photos courtesy of the French Embassy