ACHF Cultural Heritage
Participants’ mastery of the assigned dances and the underlying history behind those dances, the introduction of our heritage to the children and to the Minnesota audience, and our expression of identities and talents through music and dance. Increased number of audience and participants (850 and 90 respectively from previous PAMANA) by 20% if not more and to deliver a better and more entertaining production that will leave a strong impression to the attendees. We plan to solicit participant and audience’s feedback through a survey soon after the performance to ascertain how, if at all, it has impacted their lives and to determine how we reach our targeted audience in terms of numbers and the level of entertainment and educational values they get from the production. After the performance, the group will conduct a feedback session to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the project, and what we can improve for the next PAMANA.
The Cultural Society of Filipino Americans proudly presented PAMANA X on September 10, 2016 at the Ames Center. Through this successful artistic endeavor, Cultural Society of Filipino Americans succeeded in fulfilling its main mission of promoting and sharing the Filipino culture, arts and heritage. Ethnic dances and music of the different regions of the Philippines were showcased through movements, sounds, rhythms, stage settings and costumes. There were a total of 59 dancers, ages ranging from 5 to 78 years and over 40 production stage crew and reception team member volunteers. With this project, Cultural Society of Filipino Americans was able to accomplish the following: 1. Artistically, this project provided the opportunity to express artistic talents, confidence and pride in our racial identities. Individuals, some of whom have never performed in front of a large crowd, showcased and featured their musical abilities through movements and steps of different beats and rhythms. The choreographers and dance masters recognized that each performer had different musical and dance backgrounds and training (if any), hence, modifications were made without sacrificing the meaning of the dance. For some, more attention had to be given in order to provide proper execution of the steps and expression. The opportunity to perform and to express one’s self especially one’s ethnicity through dance on a big stage and the audience’s positive reaction through their applauses was an unforgettable experience for the performers. 2. As students of ethnic dancing and music, movements and sounds had to be learned and understood to properly convey the message of the dance. Although half of the dancers were experienced and veteran members of the Cultural Society of Filipino Americans Dance Troupe, all performers had to understand and learn the background of the dances in order to successfully relay to the audience the significance and essence of what was being performed; which we were able to achieved. 3. As members of the organization with the main mission of promoting the Filipino culture, PAMANA X was able to share with and impart to the Filipino community and to fellow Minnesotans (to both the viewers and performers) the wealth and vastness of our colorful heritage. Through the dances, music and costumes, one could recognize and understand the way of life and belief of Philippine people, the sceneries and the natural resources of a nation and the influences of its colonizers and surrounding nations. 4. As parents and teachers, colorful dances and traditions that are part of our identity as a people were passed on to the youth who watched the show and also to those who participated in the production. Like previous PAMANA, it was encouraging to hear young performers telling the organizers that they can't wait to perform again and want to invite more children to be involved in the next production of PAMANA. Cultural Society of Filipino Americans knows that understanding and appreciation of one’s ethnic roots is vital in contributing better self-esteem and producing more well-rounded and productive members of this society. A big majority of the audience were members of the Filipino community in Minnesota. They shared with us that watching PAMANA X, brought about a sense of pride and elation for being a member of the Filipino community here in the Midwest. Some parents and grandparents brought their children and grandchildren to introduce them to the Philippine arts and culture in an entertaining setting. Migrant Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who longed for the music and the dances of their motherland, Minnesotans with established Filipino connections, and scholars of Philippine and Asian history and culture came that evening to support the event and to be entertained. Minnesotans, even those of Filipino lineage, learned through PAMANA X that the Philippines have a diverse and vast culture influenced by both the Western and Eastern worlds. Cultural Society of Filipino Americans reached out to Filipinos and Minnesotans who are performing artists, who wanted an opportunity to perform and to express themselves through dance, and who wanted to share artistic and organizational skills. Flyers, social media and personal communications were used to announce PAMANA X and to recruit dancers and volunteers. There were no auditions held, only dedication and commitment to show up for rehearsals was required. There were several non-Filipinos that participated in the production, which encouraged diversity. To launch the production, we invited community and non-community members to watch the previous PAMANA production and volunteer opportunities and artistic and production description for PAMANA X were presented. Sign-up sheets were passed around for those interested to be part of the production. The practices and the performance itself were held at the Philippine Center of Minnesota (CSFA office's location) and Ames Center respectively; both are in central and accessible locations within the metro area that ensured travel convenience and safety for participants. Cultural Society of Filipino Americans sold 778 tickets but 685 attendees were recorded. We were hoping to have about 1,000 attendees but since we only have 5 months to recruit, rehearse, prepare, advertise, and sell tickets, we failed to reach the numbers we forecasted. We agreed that we should have started early and allowed at least a year to plan, prepare, and execute the production in order to reach our goal and to have a better outcome of the production. Learning this, we will definitely take this into account for our next PAMANA production. Cultural Society of Filipino Americans reached out to the community to find out who wanted to watch the show but could not financially afford it; 30 tickets were given to students and elderly individuals. Elderly, disabled and wheelchair users were able to use Ames Center’s ramps and elevators and had designated seats. During the show, souvenir programs were available to guide the members of the audience to the individual dances and backgrounds, the represented regions, historical eras, and foreign influences. The program notes also offered information about the Philippines. PAMANA X gave individuals who otherwise do not participate in art activities, an opportunity to learn and express art in the form of dance. PAMANA X was able to address the longing of the American-Filipino community for a Filipino production that they have not seen for 4 years. Based on an audience survey, about 95% positively changed their attitude about the Philippines because of the production.
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