Each year, the Edmonton Arts Council and the Edmonton Community award the Edmonton Artists’ Trust Fund to exceptional local artists. Established in 1997, the award “recognizes an artist’s work and contribution to the community and provides financial stability to renew, develop, create or experiment.
The recipients for both the 2017 Edmonton Artists Trust Fund and Cultural Diversity in the Arts Project Grant were announced last February during the Edmonton Arts Council’s Winter Socials. Filipino dancer, teacher, director, arts administrator and writer Ida Beltran-Lucila, was one of 10 recipients, and the only Filipino to date, to receive the Edmonton Artists Trust Fund, from a pool of 100 nominations.
Ida was a principal dancer of Ballet Philippines, the resident dance company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. She has trained with acclaimed teachers in Manila, and from the United States and Europe. As a dancer, she performed with the Beijing Ballet in Beijing and toured in Asia and Europe. She was a dance teacher of a high caliber, having trained dancers who have carved professional careers for themselves both in the Philippines and abroad. Ida pioneered a dance therapy program in Manila and was a recognized authority on dance therapy. As arts administrator, she was the Associate Artistic Director for Chameleon Dance Company, Teatro Silencio (a dance company of deaf dancers), Philippine Ballet Theatre, and Ballet Philippines. She is the founder and President of the Association of Ballet Academies, Philippines and Vice-Chair of the Dance Committee of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. She has also headed Philippine delegations to international festivals in China, Canada and Germany. Before moving to Canada, she held the position of Executive Director of Ballet Philippines. This is the breadth of experience and knowledge that she brought from the Philippines to Edmonton.
Ida’s first impact and involvement in the Edmonton community was when their dance company in Manila, Chameleon Dance Company was invited to perform in Edmonton for the Northlands Klondike Days and other local shows in 2002. Upon her family’s move to Edmonton in 2005, she was immediately involved in teaching dance, i.e. classical ballet, modern ballet and folk dance, to the local Filipino cultural organizations and Edmonton School of Ballet, and later on with the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers as Guest Ballet Teacher for five years, and the Victoria School of the Performing Arts. She has also provided free dance classes in the effort to promote dance as a recreational, therapeutic and educational tool. In addition, she served as Artistic Director of the Edmonton Festival Ballet and choreographed for the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s Symphony Under the Sky.
Together with husband Jojo Lucila, they formed the Chameleon Dance Edmonton, which became a strong dance force with a repertoire of modern transformations of Philippine traditional dances and themes. In the three years under their artistic direction, the dance company had a successful debut concert, was featured in the Feats Festival of Dance, collaborated in a full-length production with Citie Ballet, did guest performances in several local concerts, and participated in the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in Scotland.
Ida believes that art is a unifying factor for Filipinos. She has spearheaded collaborative projects like the Philippine Arts Festival, the Edmonton Filipino Fiesta and Kalinangan for Alberta Culture Days. Included in Ida’s body of work is her advocacy for Philippine art and artists as demonstrated by her continued writing for local publications on the subject, and being the constant voice for it. She sat onan Advisory Board for Akash Broadcasting’s bid for a radio station in Edmonton, pushing for Filipino programming on the airwaves.
In 2016, she founded the Philippine Arts Council Alberta where she also serves as the Executive Director. The council was formed to establish a network of Filipino artists, strengthen relationships between artists in Edmonton and globally, to work collaboratively and more strategically in financial planning and sourcing, with the goal of sustaining the Filipino arts scene here and abroad, and in creating and enlarging an audience for the Philippine arts scene.
In partnership with local producers, she recently launched The Learning Table, a workshop and roundtable discussion series, involving performing arts students/young artists with established visiting performers from the Philippines. This series provides an opportunity for these aspiring artists to learn from experienced and established ones, pave the way for a more enriching career in their chosen art, and allow them to connect with artists from their home country and their works, thereby expanding their cultural awareness.
Ida’s work in Edmonton stems from a desire to share her art and for other people to experience the same fulfillment as she had in the many stages of her artistic career. However, this has not hindered her professionalism, her dedication, and perseverance inher craft. Her projects have stretched the range and capacity of the involved artists – providing artistic challenges, taking on untrodden paths, and going beyond perceived artistic boundaries. Ida has provided a vision on how arts is a vital force in the development of a person and a community. She is a recognized authority in dance and Philippine arts and culture and was awarded the Hiyas (Gem) Award by the Karilagan Dance Society. With her passionate interest in dance and culture, Ida continuously looks for opportunities to use art as a tool to improve and uplift individuals and the community. The award of the Edmonton Artists Trust Fund is a fitting feather to Ida’s cap in this quest.