To read implies the ability to interpret, process, and make meaning out of what is seen (or experienced). But to know that we see what we see, we need to know that we have the inherent human capacity to understand (think, digest, make sense of) abstract action and translate it to objective words, thoughts, and ideas. To be able to articulate what we see in dance, we need to know how we can read dance.1 What is afforded by reading dance is the articulation of what is danced in relation to its implicit but embodied aesthetic, social and compositional elements, and the viewer’s own perceptive and aesthetic preferences. By reading, what is danced becomes the intersection of various viewpoints of apprehension and world-views of the viewer’s context, the choreographer’s context, the dancer/s’ context, and ultimately of the contemporary dance context in Manila. The WifiBody.ph Choreographers Competition is a biannual contest that deals mainly with solo-duet pieces for new choreographers. It functions as the first tier of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Choreographers Series curated by Myra Beltran and Denisa Reyes. It was founded in 2006 as the New Choreographers Competition under the larger WiFi Body Festival of the Contemporary Dance Network (that was consolidated in Beltran’s Dance Forum studio in Quezon City) in collaboration with CCP. When the festival ended its run, it was re-launched in 2016 under the CCP Choreographers Series. As a platform specifically for new choreographers, it launched the careers of many distinguished contemporary dance choreographers in the Philippines, and was the first to question and use the term contemporary dance in Manila. For the 2018 edition, eleven ten-minute works were selected from among 24 submitted pieces. I look at these works to investigate the ways in which we can read dances particular to the contemporary dance practice in the Philippines, and to inquire into what these interpretations could mean in a larger context.



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