A portmanteau of the Filipino words “himala” (miracle) and “laya” (freedom), Himalaya is a stylized dance that depicts the flowing unity between spirit/earth and culture/nature by drawing from two ongoing artistic and spiritual practices: research into movement-based meditation, and contemporary interpretations of Philippine folkloric traditions. In the first instance, the piece develops ideas generated by daloy, a breath- and movement- oriented meditation conceived by choreographer Ea Torrado as a Philippine counterpart to the concepts of qi, flow, and prana. Second, Himalaya is a choreographic engagement with pioneering Filipino world music band Makiling Music Ensemble, whose work celebrates the abundance and resilience of the Philippines’ vast archipelagic natural world.
Articulated through Daloy’s distinctive movement language, Himalaya comprises fluid configurations of duos, trios, and larger collectives to interpret Philippine folkloric themes of bayanihan (solidarity), pakikipagkapwa (togetherness), and pagtanggap (acceptance, hospitality) in various ritualistic, communal, and festive modes of community. By linking breath and movement, self and other, the piece reflects and embodies the search for interconnectivity. Himalaya premiered at the FRINGE Manila Festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Blackbox Theatre in February 2015.