Myra Beltran

Myra Beltran Dance Forum Studio -Theater (The Right Address), West Avenue, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

Description

Myra’s pioneering work is considered as being instrumental in the formation of an independent contemporary dance community in the Philippines. She first trained in classical ballet under Vella Damian. Prior to her work as an independent artist, Myra worked with professional companies in Germany (Ballet of Oldenburg), in Yugoslavia (Ballet of the Theatre of Prishtina), with Ballet Philippines of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and for Enrico Labayen’s The Lab., Projekt-Phil., originating the major roles in his repertoire. In 1994, she started her work as an independent choreographer, and brought together artists collectively working as the group Dance Forum.

“On a lonely path where no Filipino dancer has treaded,” as one writer put it in 1995, Myra opened her studio as an alternative performing space in 1997, and created the blueprint for the formation and flourishing of independent contemporary dance in the Philippines.

Creating a body of work that stretched the possibilities of dance in the Philippines in both aesthetics, and in the manner of creating and producing dances, Myra holds a unique place in the Philippine dance community because she has accomplished this, almost single-handedly. Her solo repertoire is the most extensive in the Philippines – a career path that has paved the way for other dance artists in the Philippines.

In subsequent years, Myra initiated two important contemporary dance initiatives – the “Contemporary Dance Map” (2005) and the Wifi Body Festival (2006) which later hosted a choreographers’ competition for the solo-duet form (2007). Under Myra’s helm, these two initiatives produced many artists’ works and launched the career of many choreographers who are contemporary dance’s most articulate and active practitioners in the Philippines. Wifi Body Festival has brought visibility to Philippine contemporary dance practice both locally and internationally.

Ms Beltran has done commissioned work for Arts Development Association of Taiwan (2005), University of Iowa’s Theatre Department (2004), CASA San Miguel Center for the Arts (1996 and almost yearly thereafter), Instituto Cervantes Manila (2007). She has choreographed for local mainstream dance and theatre groups, such as Ballet Philipppines, Philippine Ballet Theatre, Dulanng UP (University of the Philippines) and Tanghalang Ateneo (Ateneo de Manila University). She has been published by the University of the Philippines Press, has also written articles about contemporary dance in the Philippines in local publications, for the 2012 Yearbook of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC). She has also spoken about her art and her initiatives in conferences in the Philippines, Korea, Japan, Belgium. She was an Asian Cultural Council Grantee for the years 2011-12 where she completed a three-month residency in New York City.

Myra holds a master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of the Philippines. She currently co-curates the CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) Choreographers Series which nurtures and showcases choreographers working in the medium of contemporary dance.

For her work, Myra received the 2001 Alab ng Haraya (Flame of Inspiration) for Individual Recognition in the performing arts from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Tanging Parangal (Highest Honor) from the City of Manila in 2007. Her Dance Forum received the ALIW Award in 2001 for Best Dance Group.

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