Bayanihan, the National Dance Company of the Philippines takes its name from an ancient Filipino tradition called Bayanihan, which means working together for a common good. In 1956 Dr. Helena Z Benitez founded the Bayanihan Folk Dance Group of the Philippine Women’s University. The following year, 1957, it was formally organized as the Bayanihan Folk Arts Center with the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company as its performing arm. Both the center and the dance company were tasked to research on and preserve indigenous Philippine art forms in music, dance, costumes and folklore; to restructure and enhance these research findings to evolve repertoires suited to the demands of contemporary theater; and to promote international goodwill through performances at home and abroad.
Since its formal organization the company has mounted fourteen (14) major tours (of six months to a year in duration) to Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Americas and over a hundred short tours to foreign countries. In half a century Bayanihan has performed in six continents, sixty-six countries and 700 cities world wide.
A multi-awarded company, both nationally and internationally, Bayanihan has awakened a new pride among Filipinos in their cultural heritage; added a new dimension to the country’s dance tradition; and has built a rich reserve of international goodwill.
In appreciation and recognition of their pioneering efforts and international success, the people of the Philippines through the 10th Congress enacted R.A. 8626 declaring the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company as The Philippines National Folk Dance Company. Since then Bayanihan has won 6 Grand prizes in World Dance competitions.