by Katrin Anne A. Arcala.
SEVERAL CHANGES MET the Silliman University Kahayag Dance Company this semester.
First, the university, through a decision deliberated by its Executive Committee, changed the group’s name from Kahayag Dance Company to Silliman University Dance Troupe. Second, a new artistic director has been appointed as its overseer.
The stated changes caused confusion among students.
SU President Ben S. Malayang III clarified: “We did not replace the Kahayag Dance Company with the Silliman University Dance Troupe. We did away with the word “kahayag” because it was misused to no longer represent Silliman.”
The change of name was a result from an event which occurred during last year’s semestral break.
The trip to Cambodia
Twelve members of the Kahayag Dance Company went to Cambodia for the ASEAN Plus three Joint Cultural Performances Unity in Diversity last November 2-3 upon the invitation to be the Philippines’ representative.
In a letter signed by Vice-President for Academic Affairs Betsy Joy Tan, the university did not allow the trip because of “belatedness of the invitation.”
Despite this, the group pushed through with their performance bringing the name Kahayag Philippines Performing Group and making sure that the university will not be burdened by any of their actions.
In an apology letter addressed to the university president, the group defended themselves saying: “Our guiding principle is to make sure that the university will not be placed in a bad light. That’s why we executed joint affidavits of undertaking and waiver between our parents and us, and changed the group’s name so as not to burden the university of any liability.”
The University Disciplinary Board said that they saw a violation of processes for foreign travels. According to UDB’s letter on their findings, the 12 members and their director were liable of the following under the University Manual: (1) Failure to act in good faith and in performance of their duties. (2) Disregard of/or wilful violation of established policies, rules and regulations of the university. And (3) any other act committed by students or student groups within or outside the campus, which in the judgment of the duly constituted bodies of the university adversely affect the reputation of the university or the status of its students.
The situation persisted for about five months. In the said span of time, those who went to the trip were barred from performing under KDC.
The final decision dated March 22, the University Disciplinary Board (UDB), headed by Atty. Sheila Catacutan-Besario, lifted all the restrictions on the concerned individuals. The credentials of the student-respondents were released, particularly those who were graduating students.
They were all only tasked to attend an “Educational Experience Activity” under the Guidance and Testing Division and the Student Organizations and Activities Division as a condition precedent to the issuances of their respective clearances.
The Dean of the College of Performing and Visual Arts, Elizabeth Susan Vista-Suarez, as one of the responsible individuals for the Silliman University Dance Troupe, did not yet give official details on the SU Dance Troupe’s new director and members.
“We only replaced the term, not necessarily the dancers… The dancers hopefully will be the same if they want to. We did not think that there was a removal of opportunities to dance in Silliman,” Malayang said.
After being told to re-audition, majority of the previous Kahayag dancers chose not to proceed.
KDC Alumnus Nitz Cuizon said in his social media post: “I still wish that the new group would still be as passionate as we were before. And that they would strive with their own sweat and tears, as much as KAHAYAG did, to spark the love for Filipino culture and arts to the entire world.”
The SUKDC was first named as the Silliman Dance Troupe way back in 1961.
Upon its revival in 2004, it was changed to Silliman University Kahayag Dance Troupe.
On its 50th founding anniversary last 2011, the troupe was officially called a company.