I met Eric Solano in 2005 after I moved to San Francisco and danced briefly with Barangay Dance Company. I joined him with others when he formed Parangal Dance Company shortly thereafter. It was during those early years that my friendships were formed with many of the members who to this day, continue to dance and shape the company. And while I eventually went on to focus on other things in my life, I stayed close to the group and continued to support its growth.
Parangal has always been grounded in community. The company is a family of committed artists and dancers who bare their art and passion each time they perform. As the years have passed, Parangal has deepened its connection and relationship with the indigenous peoples of the Philippines mainly facilitated by cultural immersion trips. The respect with which Eric and company approach and honor these relationships make Parangal unique.
Community building has always been important to me. Having immigrated from Nueva Vizcaya in Central Luzon to Post, Texas, a small town of ~13K situated in the oil-rigged plains of the Panhandle, I know firsthand what it is to move to an unfamiliar place. It was an experience that informed many of my volunteer and professional activities for years to come, whether as an instructor increasing collective consciousness by teaching undergrads the Filipino American history of California, a state I eventually moved to; or as Alumni Director of QuestBridge, a nonprofit that connects students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds to full scholarships at the nation’s top universities; or as board member of API Family Pride, an organization that provides resources to families with LGBTQ+ members.
With the social unrests of the past year occurring in the midst of a pandemic lockdown, I thought of different ways to redirect rage into action. The struggles of each community is valid and unique. And on reflection, share root causes that stem from capitalist, colonialist, and imperialist forces, the same ones that led my family to emigrate, the same ones that seek to erase the indigenous peoples of the Philippines.
This is why I chose to come back to Parangal at this specific point in time, to volunteer and through direct action, support its mission to give tribute and uplift our community. We do what we can.
Parangal, Executive Team Member
Growing up shy and introverted, Jordan turned to the performing arts to build up his confidence. It sorta worked. He holds degrees in Human Bio and Psychology from Stanford University and works in FinTech. On the weekends, you can find him exploring the Bay Area for the best vegan eats. Company and suggestions welcome.