New FDC artistic director adopts new approach to tap creative potential

FEU Advocate
March 21, 2024 11:49

By Lynette Joy A. Pasajol

In a significant development for the cultural landscape through a strength-based perspective, Far Eastern University (FEU) Center for the Arts (FCA) recently announced the appointment of Deborah Afuang as the new Artistic Director of the FEU Dance Company (FDC) last March 2.

Afuang's journey into the world of dance began at the age of 10, leading to scholarships at the Philippine High School for the Arts and the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman as a Dance Major under the College of Music.

Her diverse background included stints with renowned dance companies such as Ballet Philippines, Makiling Ballet, UP Dance Company, and currently, Daloy Dance Company as a senior member.

In an interview with FEU Advocate, Afuang shared her vision and plans for FDC, emphasizing a holistic approach to nurturing young talents and promoting excellence in the arts.

“FDC is an ambassador of excellence for culture and the arts specifically for dance, not just in one genre. Inangkla ko ‘yung plan ko sa pamamalakad with that idea na FDC is known to be a versatile group. Gusto ko holistic ‘yung maging image ng FDC (I anchored my plan in managing with that idea that FDC is known to be a versatile group. I want the image of FDC to be holistic),” she said.

With a strengths-based approach, Afuang plans to leverage the talents and interests of FDC members, empowering them to explore their full potential.

“We still uphold a certain standard when it comes to dancing. It’s just that ‘yung lente ko is hindi ka lang dancer, magaling ka rin sa ibang bagay (It’s just that for me, you’re not only a dancer, you're also good at other things),” the new FDC Artistic Director remarked.

Moreover, Afuang expressed her excitement about the enthusiasm exhibited by FDC members, noting their passion for dance as a driving force behind her decision to apply for the position.

“One of the first impressions na binigay sa ’kin noong hindi ko pa nami-meet ang FDC is that the students are hungry for learning… Ako naman, someone who has experience and who wants to share what I know, na-excite ako na may compatibility, may hunger, tapos meron akong kayang ibigay (One of the first impressions that was given to me even before I met the FDC is that the students are hungry for learning... As for me, someone who has experience and who wants to share what I know, I was excited to see that there is compatibility, there is hunger, and I have something to offer),” she stated.

Looking ahead, Afuang envisions fruitful collaborations and partnerships for FDC, both within and outside the University. 

She highlighted efforts to engage with other cultural groups within FEU and to invite guest teachers for workshops fostering a network of support and learning opportunities for FDC members.

“We’re making our presence more known in FCA compared to the past years... More on planting seeds pa lang ako ngayon pero ang dream ko is maging student-initiated ‘yung mga collaborations so that students are empowered to take more leadership roles (I am currently more on planting seeds, but my dream is for collaborations to be student-initiated so that students are empowered to take more leadership roles),” Afuang explained.

FDC’s Artistic Director also elaborated on the specific goals and milestones in mind, with a spotlight on the upcoming annual concert production slated to take place at the FEU Auditorium on April 20.

“In a way it’s a healthy kind of pressure for the students to be able to come up with a great production together. ‘Yung proseso ng pagbuo ng production is a big transition (The process of building the production is a big transition),” she added.

Following the major concert, FDC sets its sights on the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) for FEU Street Dance Alliance, noting that most members of the alliance are also part of the dance company.

“Make dancing more sustainable for the dancers, at the same time lagi lang nag-i-improve ‘yung artistic excellence (Make dancing more sustainable for the dancers, while at the same time continually improving artistic excellence),” Afuang stated. “We are only as good as our last performance, but we should not be complacent. We should be getting better and better.”

FDC is also hosting a series of dance workshops as a fundraising activity for the major concert catering to diverse skill levels from beginner to advanced from March 18 to 23.

(Photo courtesy of FEU Dance Company Facebook page)