Floodplain Dreamtime

About Enrico Labayen

“Powerful, stunning dance for the new world” — Stark Insider

Enrico Labayen Enrico Labayen has earned broad recognition for artistic excellence and has represented the United States at international dance and performing arts festivals.

Central to Enrico Labayen’s work is his desire to communicate with the audience. Whether defining a narrative through movement, or eliciting a specific emotional response, the dramatic integrity of his work encourages the audience participate in a collective artistic experience, a premise which undergirds all Asian theatre forms. At LD/SF, a concert scenario vision is one where the audience, regardless of cultural, gender and political background, connects deeply with our artistic and cultural ideals. We embrace our culture, while simultaneously challenging stereotypes and pushing boundaries, believing that art and dance can be a vehicle for understanding and identification between all human beings.

Enrico Labayen, (Choreographer/Artistic Director) began his dance career at age 13 in the Philippines before moving to the US, where he studied on full scholarship at the American Ballet Theater School, Ailey’s American Dance Center, Joffrey American Ballet Center and Harkness Ballet. He also studied with Alvin Ailey, Norman Walker, Maggie Black, David Howard, Patricia Wilde, Leon Danielian, Andre Eglevsky, Joanna Haigood and Alonzo King.

He performed a wide range of works from Lucas Hoving, Jose Limon, Rudy Perez, David Parsons and Joanna Haigood, to Petipa and George Balanchine. Labayen has worked with many ballet and modern dance companies, including American Ballet Theater II, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Larry Richardson Dance Company, Rod Rodgers Dance Company, Saeko Ichinohe Dance Company, Garden State Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Eglevsky Ballet and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet.

A skilled ballet master, Labayen’s teaching experience includes Sacramento Ballet (USA), Bern Ballet (Switzerland), Mainz Stadt Theatre (Germany), Singapore Dance Theatre, Ballet Philippines, Philippine Ballet Theatre, Hofstra University (USA), San Francisco Institute of Choreography (USA), SF High School of Performing Arts (USA) LINES Ballet School (SF), Westlake School of Performing Arts (Daly City) and San Francisco Dance Center (USA) and ODC in San Francisco. Most recently, he has been invited as guest ballet master for Norwegian National Company for Contemporary Dance and Icelandic Ballet in Bergen , Norway and Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance in Austria .

Mr. Labayen has received awards, fellowships & citations from the Beaux Arts Society of New York as “Dancer of the Year”; The Dutch Ministry of Cultural Exchange Fellowship Award, the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music Residency Fellowship, the “Choreographer of the Year” award by the Manila Chronicle (Philippines); The Isadora Duncan Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Choreography” (1996, USA); the Filipinas Achievement Award (USA)—“His achievement in creating an extensive body of work that has enriched the lives of those who witnessed it, gathering critical and popular acclaim for artistic and cultural endeavors and symbolizing both the accomplishments of Filipino individuals and arts organizations and the challenge of increasing opportunities for minorities in the future.” ; The City of Manila’s Pillar of Art and Culture for Dance;  an ABS-CBN  International; Cultural Caregiving Travel Grant to Australia; Guest lecturer at University of New South Wales, Sydney; Residency at Djerassi Artists Residency (US), Rimbun Dahan Artist Residency (Malaysia).  He has been named one of the Filipino American Faces of the Century—“...one of the Filipino Americans whose lives celebrate all that the Filipino American is capable of and have truly shaped our history in the United States and given the Filipino Americans and its community the inspiration to realize their dreams”.

Having organized Labayen Dance/SF in 1994, he received an Arts International grant in 2000 enabling the company’s multi-city tour of Germany, including Bonn, Stuttgart and Bielefeld.  It also was the first American company invited to participate in Potsdam for the International Tanz with Objects Festival following the fall of the Berlin Wall and in Amman, Jordan for the International Theatre Festival. Labayen is a recipient of the SF Arts Commission, Grants for the Arts, California Arts Council, The Zellerbach Foundation.

Press interviews/articles about Enrico Labayen

2010 | The Bay Area Reporter | Cultural rituals & core experiences | by Irene Hsiao

Daily Tribune | Defining, Defying Dance (part 1) | by Detas P. Bermudez (pdf)

Daily Tribune | Defining, Defying Dance (part 2) | by Detas P. Bermudez (pdf)

1999 | Asian Week | The Postmodern Tribe: Labayen Dance meditates on technology and humanity | by Ruth Chen (pdf)

1999 | Arab Daily | Labayen Meets Riverdance | by Ian Mackenzie (pdf)

1992 | The Straits Times | Let’s Get Physical | by Alexius Pereira (pdf)

1996 | Enrico Labayen & The LAB., Projekt Group-USA: Full of beauty and contrast—Pure Dance | by Marilyn Lenzen (pdf)

Panorama | Truth Through Dance | by Rommie Asi Ramos (pdf)

1992 | Taipan |The Right to Dance | by Alexis Abejo (pdf)