Who We Are?
Hiraya Performing Artists Brisbane is a cultural dance group borne from the Filipino-Australian Brisbane Society’s (FABS) dream to showcase the richness and diversity of Filipino culture to the Australian public. It is a group dedicated to learning, preserving, and promoting folk dances from the Philippines to inspire current and future generations of Filipino-Australians to take interest and pride in their identity and cultural heritage.
Cultural Dance Workshop for Mental Health and Well Being
On and off for over a year now, we have been conducting Filipino cultural dance workshops which started at Roma St Parklands pre-covid times. Because of covid we had to stop. And only in March 2021 did we resume workshops which became regular and through the help of our local Filipino choreographers, have booked it in proper dance studios where it is more conducive to dancing.
The participants come from all walks of life. Some are mothers, teenagers, primary school kids, professionals, tradies and university students. Some have been living here for many years and some have just arrived less than 2 years ago.
Apart from learning the cultural dances and teaching techniques on how to execute the movements properly, especially those who love to express their creativity in dance, the participants through their regular attendance have made new friends with each other and started doing activities together beyond the weekly workshops. They felt in these workshops a sense of community, belonging and social affiliation.
Learning the cultural dances and its origins have given them their Filipino pride. There have been instances where they were asked to perform these dances in front of multicultural events and national days and it gives them so much honour to perform their traditional dances as the audience showed their applause and appreciation. Their positive contribution to elevate their cultural heritage in the community has certainly sparked pride and dignity as Filipinos.
I can see it has given the participants something to look forward to weekly as they get excited to learn new steps, new dances, and new formations. The exhilaration and joy we see from their faces makes us want to keep pursuing this and hopefully to increase the number of participants involved.
From this, we know that learning and engaging in these cultural workshops have made them happier, fitter, stronger which all helps not only in their physical health but also emotional and mental health and well-being. In the past few months where the pandemic saw a rise of mental concerns such as feelings and state of depression and isolation, these workshops have positively impacted on these participants with a sense of social connectivity, self-worth and self-confidence.