Under the direction of Randy Romero, the team that makes up Kababayang Pilipino’s Artistic Team is responsible for the audition process, training, choreography, design, music and execution of its mainstage performances – the overall vision for the folk dance company. The team includes Dance Assistants who are experienced and seasoned dancers with the company. They help to teach dances, mentor new dancers and act as technical resources.
A lover of the performing arts, Randy has been dancing and singing since the age of 3. Introduced to the folk arts at an early age, he has been involved with various folk dance groups in Saskatchewan and in the Greater Vancouver area, and in 1993, he was instrumental in the founding and establishment of Kababayang Pilipino of British Columbia, which is now the premiere Filipino folk dance companies in Canada. Since the beginning, he has served as its Artistic Director/Choreographer, and has directed all of its main stage productions to date. His artistic vision is defined by his thirst for new interpretations and by his desire to continue to raise awareness of the beauty and diversity of traditional Filipino folk dance movement.
Musical Director, Musician
Over the years, Jay Esplana has become one of Vancouver’s most sought after musicians. Well versed in various musical genres, Jay’s versatility as an instrumentalist and now as musical director has found him performing with Kababayang Pilipino over the last 7 years. Other local and touring groups include Speakerbox, The Airtights, Groove & Tonic, LeftCoast, Jay Leonard Juatco Trio, Dante Hadden, No Island and Electric Ballroom.
Music has always been an integral part to Jay’s upbringing. To this, Jay by age 6 had already appeared performed on television shows such as The Jenny Jones Show, Variety Show of Hearts Telethon, as well as an anthem singer and halftime performer for the BC Lions.
In 2014, Jay completed his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies at Capilano University. Alongside Jay’s musical ability and creativity, he brings an energy and unique personality to teaching and the stage as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist alike. Jay continues to develop a promising career as a session musician as a keyboard player, bassist and drummer as well as an educator.
Assistant Musical Director, Musician
Rodney has been performing his native folk dances from an early age, and is one of its founding members. His talents range from principal dancer to ethnic instrumentalist/percussion to rondalla maestro. Largely self-taught, his passion for learning and goal of perfecting his craft has been instrumental to the group and its growth. Rodney is a graduate of BCIT and VFS, and works for a local plastics firm.
Dance Director/ Choreographer
Robert hails from Manila Philippines. He danced professionally with Philippine Ballet Theatre and Ballet Philippines where he performed soloist roles from the classical repertory and in works of international choreographers such as Robert Barnett, Tom Pazik, Paul de Masson, Jan Linkens, Agnes Locsin, George Balanchine, just to name a few. He is also a ballet restager, the highlight of which when he had the opportunity to travel to China to restage the ballet “La Gitana” for the National Ballet of China and the ballet “Camille” for the Beijing Dance Academy. Upon retiring from the dance scene, Robert moved to Brunei Darussalam to become the resident ballet teacher/Director of the Panaga Dance Centre for 17 years until his migration to Canada in 2010. Robert is a certified Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) teacher and a Stott Pilates instructor.
Iris joined Kababayang Pilipino halfway through its 3rd season in November 1996. From the moment she watched her first practice she has been filled with awe for the Filipino culture with its inspirational dance and music. The KP experience has embedded itself into Iris’s life, into her heart, where it is not easily left aside. Even when Iris went away for school she practiced with her videos and traveled back to share KP’s much anticipated 10 year anniversary. Dance has always been a passionate part in Iris’s life, with previous history in Ballet, Jazz, Gymnastics and musical background in piano, but it is with Kababayang Pilipino, and its loyal family, that she has found her true love.
Dance Director (YOUTH)
Michelle’s love for dance began at age 5. She took ballet classes until she was 14 years old. Her passion for dance reignited when she met Kababayang Pilipino in 1996. Over the years, Michelle has performed in all of KP’s major productions and has travelled all over Canada and the USA and most recently, various cities in Italy. Michelle is a mother to four daughters whom all share the same passion for dance and will be taking part in Ipasa. Teaching KP Kids since 1999, Michelle feels privileged to be able to pass on her knowledge and passion for Filipino Folk dance to young dancers. She hopes to be a positive role model for young dancers, to inspire them to work hard, and to unleash their passion for the performing arts.
Dance Director (YOUTH)
Melanie is a senior dancer with Kababayang Pilipino and has been an active member since 1998. After being crowned Miss Philippine Independence in the mid 90’s, her passion to keep involved with our Filipino community grew stronger, with interests shifting from singing to dancing.
She spearheaded the 1st ever Hip Hop Dance Squad in high school, as part of her Cheerleading season, and continued with Hip Hop for a number of years. Longing for something more meaningful to her, she ventured out to Kababayang Pilipino (with a little help from a friend – now husband)…and the rest, as they say, is history.
Melanie, being a kid-at-heart, immediately jumped at the opportunity to teach our KP Kids three years ago. She was confident that our Filipino culture, dances, and history will live on through our younger generation. She enjoys seeing the progress week to week, and is equally excited and motivated when she can see the children learning and having fun at the same time! Her passion to teach is continually fulfilled with each smiling face!
She is honored and privileged to share the stage once again, with her daughter, Lauryn, fellow dancers, and amazing children!!