KulArts “She Who Can See”: A Revolutionary & Healing Dance/Theatre/Film Production by Sam of Eternal Queens

May 22, 2015 in Film Screening, Other Work by Alleluia Panis, Performances, She Who Can See

Huge thank you to everyone who attended Alleluia Panis’ newest work She, Who Can See.
We love to hear your comments, experiences and reviews about the show.
If you wrote an article / blog about the performance please share via our Kularts’ Facebook page.
Check out this beautiful She, Who Can See write-up by Sam of Eternal Queens.

Yesterday was one of those fly dreams.
Where swift currents carry you exactly to where you need to be.
No need to swim upstream when you have the gift to SEE.

Courtesy of Sam --- With my Friend and Performer: Sammay Dizon

Courtesy of Sam | Eternal Queens —
With my Friend and Performer: Sammay Dizon

Journeying through Frisco to the heart of the SOMA, 6th street, cutting through Saturday drivers, whose break heavy feet clog up the city streets. The parking gods were with us, we pulled up, blessed up, right in time to slide into the small theatre atBindlestiff Studio. It was my first time going to this theatre that opened in 1989 and stands as one of the only, permanent performing arts venues that is rooted in showing Filipino American and Pilipino artists. The doors swung open welcoming us out of the cold windy streets into the warmhearted lobby.

We slid through the open doors, I walked up, received our tickets at the will call for“She Who Can See”. I spotted Alleluia Panis, the founder of Kularts and the choreographer of the piece standing up front, surveying who came in. She reminded me of a gatekeeper of sorts, making sure that those who entered the space would be safe in what I could already tell would be a magical undertaking. Every ceremony has an elder that creates a sacred space, keeping in that which is good and out what does not need to be there. This multimedia dance, film, and musical production was no different. Like all forms of healing art, this was just as much a prayer as it was a performance.

We descended the steps into the belly of Bindlestiff, and my eyes fell upon the audience, chirping and chattering in anticipation, packing the intimate studio space to the brim. No two seats left, said the big bodied bouncer who was guiding people to rest in their small wooden chairs. I said “Okay” and he kindly sensed my reluctance (which I thought I hid). He said, “We can ask this whole row to move over a seat for you? Do you want to ask?”

I smiled. Now, I’m all for asking for what you need, but often I’m not the one to be the first to throw a rock into a glassy still pond, to start all the ripples. I like to dip my toes in gently and smooth into the flow most of the time, like water.

He said “I’ll ask with you, let’s go”. As we ascend the steps to the top row, he says “Oh wait, it looks like there’s two seats, right there for you.”

“Perfect.” I said. In my heart I feel another blessing as I am guided to the apex of the theatre, centered in the aisle so nobody is between me and the dancers, and I’m levitated a few feet above the floor so I can survey the whole scene. I prepare to receive the transmission.

Before the lights dim, it feels like a family event, bay strong community present. Lights go down and Alleluia appears on the stage, introduces her visionary work, and again like a shaman herself playfully asks us to be aware of the surroundings, in the event that the spirits come into the building. We laugh, I pray, and so it goes.

I’ll be honest, before coming to the theatre, I thought that I was coming to see a FILM. Like, eat popcorn and zone into a 2d screen that would no doubt tell a compelling story, but still be on that 2 dimensional level. THIS. is the evolved version of a film, that tells the story of a young Pinay woman who can see beyond this world, and has a very intense and life shaking “homecoming” as she finally faces the spirits and energies that visit her.

Live dance performances, dope original music, and deeply moving theatrical storytelling with cinematic background, “She who can see” invites you to fully embody the experience of this young woman as she stands on the border between this world and the next. Her visions collide with her ability to exist in the day to day world, encroach into her intimate relationships, and ultimately change her mind-body and spiritual composition.

Four spirits danced in an out of her life, in a hauntingly graceful, yet playful and optimistic fashion, embodying the movements of water, earth, and fire. In the background, cinematic art is projected onto 4 screens, creating a fragmented effect that mirrors the hybridity of this woman’s awakening process.

I watched as this woman danced/swam upstream against the current of her spiritual inheritance, until she literally shook herself into chaotic exhaustion. As her grip on this dimension broke, I witnessed a healing take place. In one of my favorite scenes, spirits came into screen and stage, to perform an otherworldly intervention, (a)tuning up her vibration, and thus all of ours together.

I was floored. No drought for me, rivers flowed down my face, straight up! This piece was so powerful and timely. To watch a young woman dance through indigenization, acceptance, healing and thus…empowerment, is a gift. I am in awe of Alleluia, the musicians, photographers, and dancers. All of whom I had the pleasure of meeting and thanking at the end of the production.

I live for this type of work. It gives me so much life to see these kinds of productions. And we know that it is much more than just art, it is ceremony, history, healing, consciousness, and awakening. What we all dearly need and crave in this lifetime. Everyone who left last night could see a bit more, and that impact is a revolutionary act.

For more on this Film & the talented artists involved like Alleluia Panis, Sammay Dizon, Florante Aguilar and Wilfred Galila check out the Ma’Artes festival artists page. Or better yet, enjoy the arts and pin@y culture in real life during the Month of May 2015, at the San Francisco festival. Check it out at: http://www.maartesfestival.com

Power up and power on brothas and sistas…


Eternal Queens

Link: https://eternalqueens.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/kularts-she-who-can-see-a-revolutionary-healing-dancetheatrefilm-production/

SHOW & TELL with Alleluia Panis by Oliver Saria – courtesy of Bindlestiff Studio

May 15, 2015 in 2015 Pinoy Arts Fest, Other Work by Alleluia Panis, Uncategorized

APSince co-founding Kulintang Arts, Inc. (popularly known as Kularts) in 1985, Alleluia Panis has been a driving force in Pilipino-American performing arts. She brings her unique, vibrant choreography to the Bindlestiff stage with the premiere of her latest work: She, Who Can See – a multi-media performance piece featuring music by Florante Aguilar, video installments by Wilfred Galila, and costumes by June Arellano. (Three performances: May 15-16, Friday-Saturday, 8pm and May 17, Sunday, 3pm. A featured presentation of the Ma’ARTES Pinoy Arts Festival 2015.)

Drawing upon traditional Philippine dance and contemporary forms, Alleluia’s style blends cultural influences to embody, not just a dancer’s movements, but the movement of a people across oceans and time. In She, Who Can See, the dichotomy of traditional versus contemporary plays itself out as the lead character, Salima, struggles with her shamanistic inheritance. For her, the spirit world and modern world intersect – past and present collide – causing great tension, but also sublime insights.

On the eve of the show’s premiere, Alleluia’s vision and vitality shine through in this enlivening Q&A, where she talks about her inspiration for the piece, her creative process, and her artistic longevity.


What was the inspiration behind She, Who Can See?

I’m actually doing a series of Filipino-American stories and I was really interested in talking about issues or experiences that people don’t usually want to talk about, about the Pilipino diasporic experience. The first one was in 2009, so this is the second piece of this project. It’s about Pilipino Americans that can see beyond this world, more like spirits and entities, energies, the practice, the shamanistic practice that indigenous cultures have.

I wanted to explore what we remember, what do our bodies, our selves, our DNA remember from our indigenous past or present, and how do we navigate that. It’s a metaphor for balancing your indigenous self with the contemporary world.

Can you describe your creative process?

I do get my collaborators together fairly early on and then we have some really intense creative sessions of just hashing out the structure of the piece. And then it’s kind of like a give and take. And usually I think, for the most part, the music has to be finished first. The other element is the video. I think video has been an important tool for my work, because I can videotape it and I can take a look at it later and see it in detail. I’m not the kind of choreographer that necessarily remembers every step, but I really approach it from a character point-of-view. I have choreography that I bring to rehearsal, once a piece is ready for actual dancers, and then each dancer actually embodies a movement and I’m most interested in how the dancer speaks through the character and embodies the movement the way an actor would. There are also some chances for the dancers throughout the process to show me something, like, “Now that you know the character, show me something your character may do.”

Your work has always blended traditional and contemporary influences. How do you strike a balance between the two? What are your guiding principles to honor both?

For me, I base it on my life and how I live, as an American of Pilipino descent, and having that culture, that experience, that knowledge, and knowing that’s how I represent myself in real life. I can’t take away my Filipino-ness and I can’t take away my American-ness. It becomes this hybrid-kind-of thing, but it’s a wonderful way to live for me. And so that’s how I approach my creation.

And also respect for the form. I am quite aware of both forms. I trained in both Western dance from ballet to modern dance, jazz. And then I’ve trained in Philippine dance from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, maybe even more so in the indigenous traditions of the Southern Philippines. But I don’t claim to do those dances.

Is that out of respect for the tradition?

Absolutely! I wouldn’t even dare.

I’m more interested in how do we then – as our personalities as Pilipino-Americans – how do we speak that in the artform that we choose? To me content is not enough. But it’s informing the form itself, the language that we use in creating these artworks. I’m very much interested in that. I’m fascinated with that!

What advice would you give to a young artist who may be inspired by your work?

My advice would be, just do it. For a lot of people that are into the arts, I think a lot of times we are sold by what we see in the media of who’s made it, who has made money off of the work that they do. Most artists that I know, they straddle creating artwork and working a straight gig. And that’s okay. Just do it. It’s about getting our stories out, getting our narratives out, whatever that might take. And if it takes for someone to have a regular job to support that, so be it. Because it’ll just make that person happier. You have to support your habit, right?

And studying form and discipline are really important in that it shows the respect that’s required to tell a story, to tell our story. Study the form so you can break the form! Is that a Bruce Lee quote? Be like water. You can’t break the form if you don’t know the form.

You been such a creative force in the Asian American Arts community. How have you managed to stay in the game for so long when so many others have burned out?

I’ve been through the ringer myself. So with every iteration of that, I’ve learned from it. For me, I say if the door is just slightly open, if there’s a small part of it that’s open, and if I can slip through, I’m the one that needs to slip through. I’m not gonna bemoan, “Oh, the door isn’t wide enough.” It’s open, it’s not locked. Can I get through it? So that’s my metaphor for that. It has to be me. It’s plain and simple.

The only that I can say that rings true is that I don’t have a choice. Believe me, I’ve tried to leave the arts. But it just made me really unhappy. And also this particular kind of work that I’m doing. I mean, it’s not just the work that I create, but also the opportunity to mentor other people or to create other opportunities for other people to create their work, really is amazing to me and brings me a lot of joy.

Call for Kwentóhan: Share your Bay Area Pilipino American Stories

April 26, 2015 in 2015 Pinoy Arts Fest, Kwentohan

Call for Kwentohan - Flyer

There’s still room to participate in Kularts Kwentóhan project.

Join lead artist, cartoonist, Trinidad Escobar and share your story for the chance to be a part of a comic book.

WHEN: On Saturday, May 30, 2015 from 12 – 4  PM at Gene Friend Rec & Park (during the SOMA Pilipinas Arts fair).

Be sure to reserve your spot early, it’s first-come, first-served basis. Two of the eight slots have been filled as of 4/24!

Instructions to reserve your Kwentóhan spot:
1) Email: program@kularts.org
2) Subject line: Kwentohan Project Reservation
3) Let us know in the body of the email what time you’d like to reserve.

Select one of the available times for May 30th: 12 PM, 12:30 PM, 1:30 PM, 2 PM, 3 PM or 3:30 PM.
(Slots already reserved: 1 PM & 2:30 PM)

Please note: If you reserve from Friday evening – Monday you should hear back by Tuesday with a confirmation. Thank you!


Watch the “She, Who Can See” Trailer!

April 25, 2015 in 2015 Pinoy Arts Fest, Ma'ARTES Festival, Other Work by Alleluia Panis, Performances, Uncategorized


Adventure into the world of She, Who Can See, the story of Salima, 4th generation Filipina-American who struggles with her shamanic inheritance, especially when ancestral spirits start to appear just about everywhere!

View the trailer & meet the characters here: “She, Who Can See” Page

SWCS Trailer Thumbnail


Reserve your tickets early and support Alleluia and her band of entities with the Ma’ARTES Crowdfunding Campaign!
All donations are tax-deductible, you can either put your entire contribution toward the campaign or receive fantastic Ma’ARTES rewards!
 For more info on She, Who Can See, reward tiers & to donate go to: 
Other ways to donate:
*Through the Kularts Website:  

*Send a check to: Kularts | 474 Faxon Avenue | SF, CA 94112


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