|Leonor Orosa Goquingco|
|(1917 - 2005 )|
Filipinescas: Philippine Life, Legend and Love in Dance was first staged in 1961, and met with critical success. This landmark dance epic, the first to be conceptualized and choreographed by a Filipino to music written by Filipinos, was the work of a dancer and choreographer who had rapidly begun to attract the attention of the dance world. In 2004, Filipinescas was re-staged at the Cultural Center of the Philippines to honor that choreographer, Leonor Orosa Goquingco, who has since been named National Artist.
Orosa Goquingco was the first Filipino to choreograph ballet to the music of well-known foreign composers, the first to utilize Filipino traditions, themes, stories, and music in her dance programs, and the first to stylize Philippine ethnic dances and weave them into elaborate, theatrical dance productions. Her work was performed here and abroad, and was warmly received by both audiences and dance critics alike.
The enthusiasm and the exuberance that greeted the performances of Filipinescas in 1961 and 1962 can be gleaned from the many glowing reviews found in a yellowed Filipinescas program, a piece of memorabilia at ALIWW that is fast becoming a collector’s item. The program chronicles, in pictures and reviews, the heady series of performances of Filipinescas in different cities of the world—where, on some nights, the dance troupe would receive as many as 22 curtain calls, and on other nights, so many that all count was lost. The program is perhaps one of the only remaining records of these performances, which were described as “nothing short of superb,” and a “spectacle of artistic beauty.”
Mrs. Goquingco was honored on 5 July 2000 at a program hosted by the Ateneo Library of Womens Writings (ALIWW). The occasion marked the turn-over to ALIWW by Mrs. Goquingco of her print memorabilia.
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