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Published: Thursday, 10/19/2006

Group to perform traditional music, dance from Philippines

The Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company is marking its 50th year with a U.S. tour. The Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company is marking its 50th year with a U.S. tour.

Vivid traditional Philippine dance, music, and costumes will energize the Valentine Theatre stage tomorrow at 8 p.m. when the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company performs.

Celebrating 50 years of dance study and performance, the company is marking the milestone with a major U.S. tour.

It was founded in 1956 by Helena Z. Benitez of the Philippine Women's University.

"It has to remain constant and true to its mission of showcasing the best of Philippine culture and artistry," the leader promised at the time.

Bayanihan (bi-an-EE-han) means an ancient Filipino tradition of working together for the common good.

"We began as performers of traditional dance and music," notes company officer Joe Cabazor, "and developed over the years into interpreters, innovators, and trend setters."

The company first gained worldwide notice at the 1958 Brussels International Exposition, where emcee Ed Sullivan discovered it and later presented a performance on his popular TV variety show. Since then, the Bayanihan has been the first non-American dance company to perform on New York City stages as well as at Disney World and Epcot Center in Florida.

The Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company performs at 8 p.m. tomorrow in the Valentine Theatre, 400 North Superior St. Tickets are $27, $35, and $45, and are available from the box office. Information: 419-242-2787.

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