Artistic Director

Jay Loyola

For almost two decades, Jay Loyola has created dance pieces performed by cultural groups in the Philippines, Asia and Europe. His dance method have garnered respect form his peers as he emerged as the Bay Area’s ingenious  dance practitioner with choreographies motivated through immersions in Philippine indigenous tribes. He has significantly contributed to Bay Area’s multicultural landscape by performances at major venues such as Palace of Fine Arts, and Cowell Theater as well as festival events like San Francisco Ethnic Festival, Pistahan Festival, and Filipino-American Arts Exposition that have been attended in by more than 150,000 audiences who yearn to experience a genuine Philippine dance experience.

Wawa Jay as his students call him, spent the peak of his youth exploring the creative and colorful world of dance through a series of immersions to tribal communities, dance competitions and international dance festivals providing him with the opportunity and experience to become a seasoned dancer, choreographer, and mentor of Philippine dances.

His exposure to various dance conferences, competitions, and festivals in Russia, France, Poland, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, England, Japan, Austria, Korea, Singapore, Monaco, and China groomed his versatility that is reflected in the unique and creative dance interpretations he produced. Loyola trained under Hazel Sabas, Kristin Jackson, Miki Sato, Hans Christian Wagner, Tim Feldman, Agnes Locsin, Dr. Stephanie Burridge, and the Philippine National Artist for Dance: Lucrecia Reyes- Urtula. Loyola served as Junior Assistant Dance Director of the Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company. He was awarded Young Alumni Achiever in Arts and Humanities by Holy Trinity College. He also worked with New York’s Elisa Monte and David Brown Dance in 1998 Philippine International Dance Festival and World Folklore Festival under the auspices of Conseil International des Organisations de Festivals de Folklore et d’Arts Traditionnels in Manila.

Loyola has been invited to conduct dance workshops to various Filipino dance companies in the Philippines as well as resource person for Philippine dances for international festival and conferences like Singapore Arts Festival; Kaliningrad International Dance Festival in Russia, Konnichiwa Festival in Tokyo and Macau Arts Festival in China. Loyola choreographed a total of more than thirty original dance pieces. Some of them are based on his research on Palawan indigenous communities like Diwata kat Dibuwat (a Tagbanua healing ritual), Sinaraksakan (a Palao’an wedding ceremony), Sa (Batak’s migration triumphal), and Tagabanua (a full length dance narrative set in the rich backdrop of a Tagbanua community in Palawan) which premiered at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the United States and Europe. Loyola together with Rudi Soriano had the honor to present two World Premiere pieces particularly for San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. His collaborative piece Kadayawan was nominated in the Isadora Duncan Awards for Dance in 2008.

Loyola is the Founder Emeritus of Palawan Dance Theater (PDT) – the premier dance company of Palawan in the Philippines; one of the recognized dance companies in the Southern Tagalog Region, known for their world class dance dexterity and discipline. PDT has performed before audiences in North America, Singapore, Thailand, Italy, Germany, and Spain.

Loyola has also done extensive research and documentation on the rituals and traditions of the tribal people of Palawan and has become an adopted Tagbanua in the highlands of Palawan in the Philippines. These documentations have challenged his creative acumen in transforming what used to be unknown through dance. Loyola’s passion for dance kept him vigorous and enthusiastic in sharing these art forms to young Filipinos in all the countries he has visited. He continues to work untiringly towards the refinement of dance into its highest disciplined form as well as preservation of Philippine traditional dance forms by conducting classes to Filipino-American youth.

Serving American Center of Philippine Arts is a great opportunity for Jay Loyola to develop performing artists and continue its mission to increase positive reception of Philippine cultural traditions using neo-ethnic dance form. Loyola’s participation in Oakland Asian Cultural Center residency program will take his works to the next level of development reaching a more diverse audience. In furtherance, while the immediate impact will be felt by the artists themselves, the cultural significance of this is the trans-generational transfer of Philippine traditions and tremendously has a widening effect on the Asian community as his admiration to take pride with Asian’s common heritage to reassert universal ties as a people. Jay Loyola recognizes the importance of actively engaging youth thus creating new generations of culturally invested community members and for young people of Philippine heritage within a multicultural population who desire a deeper connection to their roots. Loyola has a purpose to meet this cultural longing. Today’s youth move through educational system, with high school, college and beyond, they will inherently bring along a strong sense of heritage that can be shared with others.

Wawa Jay – Philippine dance practitioner, cultural worker and Artistic Director of American Center of Philippine Arts.

Congratulatory Message to Jay Loyola and ACPA  from Philippine President Benigno Aquino III click here .


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