The culture and arts sector is hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic where lots of activities at the national and international arena literally came to a halt. Everyone, practically was in panic and in fear.
The Halili-Cruz School of Dance (HCSD) and HC Conservatory on the other hand, quickly initiated alternatives if only to provide continuity of their dance programs. As early as February, they started their free online classes. Migrating from the studio classes into the Distance Dance Education was immediately prepared, a move that was a leap into the unknown.
They started with more than 40 dance classes of different levels in Classical Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Hiphop and Pilates.
These classes culminated into another first by the HCSD in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, that of mounting an online dance recital presented via Facebook Live and Youtube and witnessed by more than a thousand audience.
After the very successful and inspiring online recital “Summer Dance Divertissement 2020” presenting more than 300 students, the HCSD revisited their dance program to be able to continue from where the summer distance dance education left off. To migrate the studio-based dance education system into the virtual platform, the HCSD defined the CYCLE for their program in the intent of providing system to their Distance Dance Education and accommodate the various modalities and learning capacities of the students. The innovations being introduced by the HCSD provides ideas to others in the same field to sustain their activities as well.
To date, the HCSD have students not only from the Philippines but also from United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Fiji Island, Hongkong, Malaysia, Saudi and Denmark.
“Lyrical with the HCSD Seniors” was another initiative, the HCSD offered to bring together different dance groups and dancers from all over the country and abroad, in a call “to unite through dance”.
Little did the HCSD realize that all those initiatives provided inspiration and encouragement to the rest around the country to follow suit. And now, we see the migration of dance classes, performances, dance discourses in a lot of internet platforms, including making systematic dance programs. All these now become part of life moving forward.
These efforts of Halili Cruz School of Dance were recognized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts through a “Certificate of Commendation” for their trailblazing initiatives that inspired the culture and arts community. Also, a recognition by the Association of Women Surgeons of the Philippines and the Philippine College of Surgeons for the HCSD’s contribution to the physical and mental health program and activities through dance.
Behind the success of the Halili Cruz School of Dance are its associate directors Anna Kathrina Halili-Cruz Bueno and Grace Perez and Artistic Director Shirley Halili Cruz, who, because of their resiliency, have made the school an example for others. Their generosity to share new ideas and concepts to survive these unimaginable challenges make them real creative leaders in this time of the COVID-19 global pandemic.