Mia Cabalfin is a Manila-based dance artist and choreographer. She began her formal dance life quite late—starting in college at the Ateneo de Manila University with the Company of Ateneo Dancers (CADS), where she became president in 2003. During her senior year, she was awarded the Dean’s Award for the Arts in Dance. After university, Mia continued her training as a hiphop dancer, and trained to be part of the first Hiphop International team to represent the Philippines. Later on, she decided to take formal dance lessons at Steps Dance Studio under the tutelage of James and Liesl Laforteza and Julie Alagde. However, a work opportunity came up from ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network, a major television network in the Philippines – and she stopped dance to pursue a thirteen year-career in broadcast media where she honed her skills as TV presenter, writer, and producer. It was also during this time where she found the contemporary dance company Airdance, and auditioned for a scholarship. She was then able to enter the company as a scholar, then eventually became company member and choreographer. Her time with Airdance was from 2006-2017; where she taught, performed, and choreographed.

In 2008, she was selected for the Danceweb Scholarship Programme in Vienna, Austria as part of the Impulstanz Festival – her notable teachers were DD Dorvillier and Trajal Harrell, Susanne Linke, David Zambrano, Marjory Smarth, and Frey Faust. In 2012, she formed a choreographic duo with co-Airdance member Rhosam Prudenciado Jr., and completed an Artist-in-Residence Program in Kyoto Arts Center, Japan – featuring their first full length site-specific piece entitled “Housewarming”, which was also a collaboration with Kyoto-based musicians Marihiko Hara and Polar M. Succeeding years would find Mia continuing to collaborate with Rhosam in this duo – performing their pieces in several venues and festivals both locally and internationally. In 2019, the duo was selected for the Youkobo Arts Space Artist-in-Residence (Tokyo) program, followed by their acceptance in Tokyo Arts and Space Research Residency program in 2020. During these residencies, they developed their piece “Pahayag (Expression)” which focuses on the correlation of population statistics to the culture of expressiveness. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mia had to extend her stay – thus she created her solo online performance experiment entitled “109日 (109 days)”, which was performed and livestreamed from Tokyo. This was an online collaboration with Manila-based tech company OTT, as well as Japanese artists Aiichiro Miyagawa, Tadanobu Asano, Marihiko Hara, Polar M, Haruka Bird, DJ Hiroking and Hong-Kong based musician J-hoon.

Aside from her work as an independent contemporary dance artist, Mia is also founder/director of Hiphop Hooray, a dance workshop for kids and teens. She is also training director and instructor at Saddle Row, and core instructor for Physique 57 Manila. Her main focus now is building multimedia solo repertoire, and she has a renewed passion for learning house dance.

Click through to find Mia’s work in our screening programme