Why Daloy Dance Company is hosting this event

Walang Hiya roughly translates as “shameless”. It’s a moral reproach used to control the behaviour of other people, particularly women. We chose this title for the first contact and body politics event we hosted, back in 2017, because we wanted to challenge this kind of control. We still do. Yes, we are shameless. Or at least we would like to be. We like this title because one of our aims with the Walang Hiya project is to reveal, work with, and heal some of the shame we hold in our bodies.

Patriarchy and class society, racism and colonial rule, and so on, have left different kinds of emotional wounds, instilled different kinds of shame, in different kinds of bodies. We see collective physical practice and consciousness-raising as a path towards healing and liberation.

We want to lift up and preserve what we find good about how people live on these islands. We appreciate this culture’s capacity for collaboration, for creating a sense of “togetherness” and belonging. This is one of our strengths. We like the touchy-feelyness. We appreciate the healing and connecting potential of traditional forms of movement and bodywork.

But we are not only about celebrating Filipino culture, traditional or otherwise. Culture is a political issue. It’s not some fixed thing passed down from our ancestors. It’s a live issue. Who gets to define what is authentically Filipino, and who gets to decide what is traditional? We want a say in defining our culture through challenges and changes.

We welcome the challenge the idea of individual self-determination poses to the sometimes stifling collectivism of the way people live on these islands. We question this culture’s hierarchies and constraints on personal freedom.

We celebrate the radical potential of the demand that an individual’s life and body should be their own to decide over. The demand that everyone – including all poor people, all members of minority groups, all women, all minors… – should have power over everything to do with their body. That they should have the right to determine their personal boundaries.

This also means that people should not be put in a position where they have to defend their boundaries all the time. That’s a right, too. In other words, we believe that more privileged people have a responsibility to contribute to creating spaces where people with less social power can feel safe, heard and seen.

This is some of the background to why we wanted to host a second event called Walang Hiya, again focusing on contact improvisation and body politics, this time with more teachers, most of them from across Asia. We are looking forward to this experiment!