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25/03/2009: Filipino Named Outstanding Emerging Artist in DC Mayor’s Arts Awards; Thanks Embassy for Support

25 MARCH 2009 WASHINGTON DC – Philippine artistry and excellence in the performing arts took centerstage here, with the conferment on Filipino ballet dancer and choreographer Jason Ignacio of the Outstanding Emerging Artist award during the 24th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards.

Ignacio, a professional dancer with the critically-acclaimed CityDance Ensemble, bested four other nominees in the Outstanding Emerging Artist category of the Mayor’s Arts Awards, considered the most prestigious honor given by the District of Columbia to individual artists, organizations and patrons of the arts.

Asked what raced through his mind before the announcement was made at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts recently, Ignacio said, “When I saw who I was up against, I thought I would not stand a chance but my director and CityDance Ensemble team were pretty confident that I would win the award.”

Ignacio added, “I had to do a somersault to balance the adrenaline rushing in my system when I heard my name called. I said...."People yell but I jump out of joy!"

Ignacio pointed out that the award was a personal honor that he wanted to offer to his native Philippines.

“It is a very humbling experience to be recognized in the performing arts community. All I can think of is how proud I am to be Filipino,” Ignacio said in a statement.

Ignacio likewise thanked the Philippine Embassy for its sustained support for Filipino artists in the Washington, D.C. area.

“Having the generous support from the Philippine Embassy made me feel accepted and gave me a doorway to give back to my country,” explained Ignacio in a statement.

In a statement, Philippine Ambassador Willy C. Gaa congratulated Ignacio for winning the DC Mayor’s Arts Award saying, “The recognition given by the District of Columbia to Jason Ignacio is a testament to his talent and to the artistry of our people.”

“Born and raised in the Philippines, Jason has proven to be an innovative talent here in the United States.  He is in a position to achieve even more with his passion for dance and his advocacy for the environment,” added Ambassador Gaa.

Since his move to the United States in November 2007, Ignacio has earned critical acclaim.

In February 2009, Ignacio was also awarded the John F. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Local Dance Commissioning Project for his work entitled “Mountain,” which centers on the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines.

The Millennium Stage Local Dance Commissioning Project, a program that supports the local dance community by nurturing the creation and presentation of new dance work to a wide audience, gives the Commission Award each year to two local choreographers or companies.

Ignacio’s “Mountain,” set to a musical score created by sound data of volcanic seismic readings interpolated into recognizable musical elements, will be presented on the Millennium Stage of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in September 2009.

In a statement, CityDance Artistic Director Paul Emerson said, “CityDance’s commitment to Green practices, and to using art as a tool to foster awareness and spark dialogue, is a critical part of who we are and what we do.”

“The fact that Jason, an artist from Manila, can find inspiration through this, and can create and idea of such resonance that it warrants a Kennedy Center Commission, is inspiring for all of us,” added Emerson.

Ignacio is a CityDance company member since November 2007.  Originally from the Philippines, he began his dance training at the age of 12.  He trained at Ballet Philippines, Philippine Ballet Theater, Steps Dance Studio and was a member of the Earth Savers Dreams Ensemble for five years.  In 2001, Ignacio continued his dance training in New York City with a scholarship at Ballet Hispanico where he also served on the faculty as a teacher.

He was a fellowship student at The Ailey School and toured nationally with the Martha Graham Ensemble. He has performed with the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, Diversity of Dance, Cortez and Co., Connecticut Ballet, Zig Zag Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, Verb Ballets, and was an apprentice for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. He has also performed in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats as Mistoffolees at Carousel Dinner Theater, Maine State Music Theater, and West Virginia Public Theater.

CityDance Ensemble, Inc. is the parent organization to CityDance Ensemble, an award-winning contemporary repertory dance company.  City Dance Ensemble was also named finalist in the DC Mayor’s Arts Awards for Excellence in Artistic Discipline and Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education.

CityDance also won in the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in an Artistic Discipline. END.

Filipino Artist Named DC’s Outstanding Emerging Artist


25 MARCH 2009 WASHINGTON DC – Filipino Artist Jason Ignacio thanks the audience at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts here after being named Outstanding Emerging Artist in the 24th Annual DC Mayor’s Arts Awards recently.  Ignacio, a professional dancer with the critically-acclaimed CityDance Ensemble, bested four other nominees in the Outstanding Emerging Artist category of the Mayor’s Arts Awards, considered the most prestigious honor given by the District of Columbia to individual artists, organizations and patrons of the arts.  Ignacio said the award was a personal honor he wanted to offer to his native Philippines.  “It is a very humbling experience to be recognized in the performing arts community. All I can think of is how proud I am to be Filipino,” Ignacio said in a statement.  Ignacio likewise thanked the Philippine Embassy for its sustained support for Filipino artists in the Washington, D.C. area.  “Having the generous support from the Philippine Embassy made me feel accepted and gave me a doorway to give back to my country,” explained Ignacio in a statement.  Philippine Ambassador Willy C. Gaa congratulated Ignacio saying, “Born, raised and trained in the Philippines, Jason has proven to be an innovative talent here in the United States.  He is in a position to achieve even more with his passion for dance and his advocacy for the environment,” added Ambassador Gaa. Ignacio’s photo was taken by Ryan Holloway. END.