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To Madge Reyes, Dance is About Finding a Stage Beyond The Walls

By Sai Versailles
September 29, 2021

Madge Reyes is an independent dance and multimedia artist, as well as the founder of the dance film festival FIFTH WALL FEST, established in October 2020. 

Reyes has over 26 years of dance experience under her arsenal, beginning at the tender age of three when she joined junior competitions all over the world. 

Her teens marked the road to a prolific career - whether it was turning down a professional contract at aged 13, earning the prestigious Luva Adameit Special Award at aged 16, or finally joining Ballet Philippines, the first dance company in residence at the Cultural Centre of the Philippines, aged 18. 

Reyes’ career made a swift ascent at twenty-one years old when she was promoted to a soloist - just one below the highest rank for ballet dancers: The principal dancer. However, in 2014, an ankle injury put a hard stop on Reyes’ on-stage career, forcing her to seek “a stage beyond the walls.”

This phrase captures the essence of her brainchild FIFTH WALL FEST – what she called in her short film There Was A Stage, produced by CREATE Philippines, “a celebration of dance from all angles.” Traversing Reyes’ dance career using personal archival material, the film shows glimpses of Reyes in motion as her dance language evolved over time. The film shows excerpts from her undergraduate thesis project “Improve ” as well as phone snippets from her fellowship in New York with the Asian Cultural Council in 2019. 

In fact, Reyes returned from New York to Manila in February 2020 when the country was just grappling with the pandemic. Thus, FIFTH WALL FEST aspires to be “a confluence of ideas,” as Reyes put it. 

“Experiences, methods, mediums, spaces in a new world – a new stage – for others.”

Directed by Madge Reyes

Produced by Jonty Cruz & Erwin Romulo

Edited by Gabriela Serrano 

Music by Aries

FIFTH WALL FEST will take place between October 8-17 2021. Visit their website for more information.

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