Cultural Potpourri | Biag is back!

It was a few weeks ago when I found a small pack of chocolates on our dining table waiting for me. Our household assistant said it came from Bian.

But when I read the message written on the box, I was so surprised to find out it was actually a “pasalubong” from Biag. Yes, Biag Gaongen is back. Who is Biag Gaongen?

Biag is the Igorot Ballet Dancer I’ve written about several times in the past 10 years. Former principal dancer of Ballet Philippines (1999-2009), dance artist of Taiwan’s Cloud Gate Dance Theater (2009-2010), Austria’s Tanz Oper Graz (2011-2013), Biag is the “bunso” of Agnes Locsin’s Manila-bred “babies.” And he seems to be the favorite of the dance maestra.

A recurring knee injury forced Biag to hang his professional dance shoes; and so, he decided to pursue a masteral degree in the academic world of dance. The past three years saw Biag laboring through books and research papers as he studied to acquire an MFA (Masters in Fine Arts) in Dance at the Ohio State University (OSU or Ohio State) in the USA.

It has to be mentioned though that even as Biag left the professional dance scene, he kept dancing in productions of the Carmen Dakudao-Locsin Foundation here in Davao. He was seen performing and choreographing in Agnes Locsin’s Alay Sa Puno Series (UGAT:Unang Galaw, SANGA: Ika-Apat na Galaw, BULAK: Ika-Limang na Galaw, and BUNGA: Huling Galaw). He was also Locsin Dance Workshop’s (LDW) associate artistic director as well as dance teacher to LDW’s advance students before he left for OSU.

His three-year study at Ohio State should have been a straight stay at the US, but Biag came home last year to participate in ICONS, the 70th Anniversary Celebration of the Locsin Dance Workshop. I believe he couldn’t say no to his Nanang, aka Agnes Locsin, so he came home to help out in the production of his “home” studio.

Biag graduated from Ohio State University last May after he successfully performed and submitted his thesis entitled Locomotion: Gained in Translation (a dance film exploration and fusion of movements by dancers of varied dance training) last March; and was back in Davao last June. He’s back teaching the intermediate and advanced ballet classes at LDW.

So what’s next, Biag? “After my much needed rest, one month lang ang bigay ni Nanang, I’m doing a show here at the Locsin Dance Workshop. Post-masteral thesis ko daw for Nanang, sabi nya. For now, that’s my main focus. Mas matindi pa sa thesis ko! But I’m so glad to be back home… in the Philippines and in Davao. Uwing-uwi na ako since last year pa.”

We too are glad you’re back, Biag. Looking forward to this show you’re putting together. Tell us more, soon. Perhaps, we can have our lunch or dinner date this time which we have been planning for years.

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