Filipino Dance Troupe To Host Recital and Dinner Dance    

Pittsburgh, October 9, 2012 – Philippine American Performing Arts of Greater Pittsburgh (PAPAGP), a local non-profit that formed in 2012, will present its first annual gala and recital on Saturday, October 27. PAPAGP’s 30 young performers, aged 4 to 18, will perform 16 traditional dances.

The gala and recital—titled “SAYAW AT TUGTUGIN” (which literally means Dancing and Making Music in the Filipino language)—will be held at the Bigelow Conference Center in Oakland. The recital will begin at 5:00, with a buffet dinner and after-dinner dancing to follow. The dinner will feature both American and Filipino foods. Admission is $10 for the recital only, $25 for both the recital and the dinner dance.

The troupe, which was founded in June, has performed at Opera Theater Summerfest’s Fringe Festival, Cranberry Relay for Life, and the Festival of Nations in Weirton. PAPAGP dancers will be featured performers at the Cathedral of Learning’s annual Holiday Open House on December 2.

“Dance is important in Filipino culture because it is a way of people’s expressing themselves and their way of life,” said PAPAGP treasurer Marita Sebastian. “Filipinos are very sociable people. Dance is a form of celebration and entertainment. The Philippine dances usually illustrate the gaiety, grace and strength of the Filipinos. It is also a demonstration of their appreciation of nature and the beauty of their surroundings.”

Philippine folk dance takes many forms, incorporating the traditions of various regions from a country made up of more than 7,000 islands. Highlights of the PAPAGP repertoire include tinikling, which involves two people tapping bamboo poles while dancers perform perfectly-timed choreography over and in between the poles; bulaklakan, in which dancers carry arches of flowers and recreate the movements of flowers in bloom; banga, performed while balancing a stack of clay pots on one’s head; and binasuan, in which performers dance and tumble while balancing glasses filled with juice.

All dances were designed by Judith “Deedee” Portugal, who serves as PAPAGP’s president, artistic director, and choreographer.

The PAPAGP dance troupe is comprised of first-, second-, and third-generation Filipino-Americans. “One of the main objectives of PAPAGP is to introduce Filipino folk dancing to the younger generation, develop their skills and train them to perform in public,” Sebastian said. “Their pride in their heritage will grow as their audience appreciates the beauty of Filipino folk dances. Our children will develop self-confidence when they learn of their rich Filipino heritage.”

Philippine American Performing Arts of Greater Pittsburgh is a community organization that was created to preserve, promote and propagate the Filipino culture through dance, music, and other performing arts. More information can be found at and