spontaneous human combustion

improvised dance compositions
various sites and contexts

dance arouses where there is heat…

Full moon, a piano floats in the middle of of a lake in Niembro, a small village in Asturias. A church stands in the background, faint lights of the lamp posts illuminate the scene. A Chopin piece is playing. Heartbeat and a white cloth in hand…




La Voliere aux Pianos
Sergio Santurio, piano
Photo: Agustin Pilarte
La Xata La Rifa Rural Festival

About Spontaneous Human Combustions:
SHC is a series of ‘unrehearsed’ dance compositions that get cooked in-situ and relies on the high art of improvisation. This is inspired by indigenous practices in dancing where rehearsal is a trial as much as it is the thing itself. In traditional tribal gatherings that feature community dancing, a body gets inspired to move itself based on what is happening around it. It is an organic act of symbiotic contamination. So in a merry-making situation for example, people organically form circles and build upon rhythms that they create. The energy or heat heightens and inspires / ignites the body (and other bodies) to move. It is the attraction between movements from within and without that form the dance. A dancer can start and end anywhere anytime, and can go over the same process again and again. This is the reason why tribal feasts often last for days. Time is defined by the body. Time is the body. The body is a universe composed of multiple dances. And dance is the crystallized yet moving form that gets exhausted or combusted.

Pepe learned various traditional dances out of working as an ethnographer of rituals, dance and music practiced by minority cultures in the Philippines. Over time, he digests these movement codes and learn many others along the way in pursuit to relearn ways of moving that is all his own.

Kaloob Philippine Music and Dance Ministry


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