Silayan remains the first culturally specific arts organization launched in Southern California. The word “silayan” (pronounced see-lie-yan) is Filipino for “reflection” as in a ray of light. When light is reflected, it diffuses into many different directions creating patterns of shadows and color
Silayan Dance Company is an acclaimed award-winning Los Angeles ensemble founded in the 70’s in the heart of what is now “Historic Filipinotown”. Spearheaded by the late Philippine Folk Dance authority Asuncion “Sonia” Capadocia, a civic leader, NEA Choreography fellow, and a schoolteacher by profession, she invited young inner city Filipino-American students to her “Temple Street” home to vicariously teach them their culture through Dance. A perfoming arts group blossomed. By the late 70’s, a 50 member group premiered their first full-length concert appearance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion of the Los Angeles Music Center supported by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
In 1990, under the artistic direction of her daughter Dulce, the company transformed from its grass roots- based folk arts identity into a vibrant multi-ethnic group of trained performing arts professionals. Often embellished by impressive arresting film images, photography, set design, spoken word, powerful storytelling, and informed by Philippine field work and research in remote regions of the islands, Silayan’s dynamic multicultural productions speak of the Philippine-American experience.
Garnering many organizational grant awards from the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, California Arts Council, California Community Foundation, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, AT & T Association Rewards Program, as well as accolades from critics and audiences worldwide, Silayan has produced and presented its celebrated works in notable theaters, performance spaces, schools, universities, community centers, festivals, and in unconventional venues throughout the city of Los Angeles, the state of California, the East Coast, and in the European Festivals of France & the Basque regions of Spain. Hailed in Ann Haskins’ L.A. Weekly Dance Pick of the Week column as “Filipino Dance for a new generation and for uninitiated audiences”, Silayan’s deftly crafted dance dramas, paired with sound scores by multiple Emmy award-winning Sound Designer Darleen Stoker, investigate how traditional art forms are preserved, influenced and transformed by today’s culture and society.
A multiple Lester Horton award nominee and winner in several categories for artistic excellence in Concert Dance, Silayan has been honored by the Los Angeles Dance Resource Center as one of the city’s “Milestone Dance Companies” for over 25 years of professional participation in performance, leadership and service to the Los Angeles community.