Reyes Appointed as Guam’s 1st Official National Folk Dance Director

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Guam – The Guam Council of Arts and Humanities Agency of Guam (CAHA) proudly announces the official appointment of Vince Reyes, Director of the Inetnon Gefpa’go Cultural Arts Program as the Official National Folk Dance Director of Guam.  

This appointment follows a legislative resolution that recognizes his international and community accomplishments over the past 14 years.

Monica Guzman CAHA Chairperson states that “In light of Mr. Reyes accomplishments over the past 14 Years, the Council feels that he is the most fitting for the appointment.  Based on Reyes’ record of accomplishments and achievements locally and abroad; excellence in the performance arts; and his commitment to the revitalization, appreciation, and perpetuation of the Chamorro culture, the CAHA Board awarded this title to him.   Through Reyes’ efforts, he has brought international recognition to Guam and opened doors in the traditional dance arena through performance arts; allowing more opportunities for groups from Guam to bring grassroots talent to a world-class stage at these international festivals and competitions. Furthermore, as a result of his hard work and commitment, Reyes has gained the respect of his peers and colleagues throughout the world”. 

As National Folkdance Director, Reyes is tasked to put together a national team to represent Guam in a 5-week Tour in Europe and possibly New York.  Reyes states that “The festivals this summer are unlike any tour we’ve participated in the past.  The Festival de Martigues in France for example is one of the most recognized and acclaimed festivals in Europe and anticipates to draw in 500 dancers and musicians from five continents; and Guam will be one of twenty selected folk groups and national ballets.”  “Invitation to these festivals are very difficult to obtain so it is very important that we showcase the best talents our island has to offer.”

Reyes is the first from Guam to be elected as the Chairperson for Oceania as part of the Federation of International Dance Festivals (FIDAF).  Emil Dimitrov, Vice Secretary General of FIDAF states “ What impresses me most about Mr. Vince Reyes and Inetnon Gefpa’go is their hard work and willingness to discover, research, and present on the stage the traditions and culture of Guam, (continually) improving the qualities of their dance programs”.  Folk Dance is the official international term used to describe dances considered as part of the tradition or custom of a particular people and culture.

Celebrating its fourteenth year in 2014, Inetnon Gef På’go, with Reyes at its helm, has received international recognition and critical acclaim for performances at numerous competitions, festivals and symposia to include Dinana Minagof Cultural Dance Competition (Overall Winner, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2009); Korea World Travel Fair (Best Folklore Performance, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011); Festival of the Pacific Arts (Palau, 2004; American Samoa, 2008); Flame Tree Festival, CNMI, Saipan (2006); “Culture Moves!” symposium, sponsored by University of Hawaii and Te Papa Museum, Wellington, New Zealand (2006); European International Folklore Festival, International Organization of Folk Artists (2008, 2010, 2012); Guam Humanities Council Black Grace Tour (2009); University of Guam Annual Chamorro Language Competition (Chant Division: 1st place – 2009, 2nd place – 2012); Philippines World Travel Fair (Most Popular Performance Award, 2010, 2011, 2012); Chamorro Cultural Festival, San Diego, Calif. (2012, 2013); and Fiesta Folkloriada International Folkdance Festival, Manila, Philippines (2013).

Just this past December, his group recently performed alongside 7-Time World Folkdance Champions, Bayanihan, the National Folkdance Company of the Philippines at World Famous Cultural Center of the Philippines.  In a letter to Vice Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz, Director Suzie Bentez, Bayanihan Director states “Mr. Reyes as well as his dance group serve as fine ambassadors of goodwill for Guam.  Their dedication and passion in the development of folk tales of your country as they distill it for theater make an impressive showcase of your nation’s cultural richness”  

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Reyes recently had the distinguished honor to be selected as a Jury Member for the 2012 and 2013 Cheonan World Folk Dance Competition in Cheonan City, Korea; the 14th International Büyükçekmece Culture and Art Festival in Istanbul, Turkey; and the Indonesian World Folk Dance Festival, Jakarta, Indonesia.  Other accolades and appointments he received include the Hafa Adai Spirit – Individual Golden Latte Award from GVB, Master of Chamorro Dance Nominee (2013); Culture Moves Conference Presenter, Wellington, New Zealand (2005); World Youth Congress – International Organization of Folk Art Presenter (2008); Guam Humanities Council Traditional Teacher of the Year (2004); Pacific Island Scholar Recipient, Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania (2004); and Sanctuary Employee of the Year (1996).

When asked about his recent appointment, Reyes states, “I am humbled and honored and grateful to be able to serve our island community in such a capacity”

In addition to being the Director of the Inetnon Gefpa’go Cultural Arts Program, Reyes is a University of Guam Instructor, and Teacher at Southern High School. As an educator, Reyes accomplishments are impeccable.  In 2013 the Cultural Dance Curriculum, which he authored and implemented at IMS for over ten (10) years, was approved by the Guam Education Policy Board as the official curriculum for all middle schools on the island; the following year he was then assigned to Southern High School by the Superintendent of Education to formulate an interdisciplinary high school Cultural Fine Arts Program that blends cultural tourism, hospitality, marketing, and the arts. In the spring of 2014 Reyes readily took the opportunity to share his knowledge and passion by becoming a part of the pioneering team of the Chamorro Studies Program at the University of Guam, offering Chamorro Dance as an upper division Fine Arts elective. He currently services over 300 dancers, musicians,