// about alvin
“In the process, Tolentino established himself as a daring virtuoso dancer, with his originality, exuberance, technical brilliance and powerful grace.”
- Mel Tobias, The Philippine Chronicle of Vancouver.
Alvin Erasga Tolentino is an active Asian/Canadian dance artist who continues to reveal, provoke, fascinate and bring a fresh voice to the national and international dance scene. His successful career has garnered him notability and a distinct reputation as an original and unpredictable contemporary performing artist.
Tolentino’s dance creations are driven from the need to intricately illustrate the human experience of light and dark and the infinitely complex relationship between nature and humanity. His choreography challenges the exploration of hybridity to reveal the private and public territory, identity, gender and the issues within the traditional and contemporary cross-cultural dialogue.
Born in Manila, Philippines, he moved to Canada in 1983. He has received professional arts and dance training with The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, York University, SUNY Purchase, Limon Institute. He continues to grow with ongoing artistic collaboration, relation and liaison with prominent dance artists and art educators across the nation and abroad.
A sought after dance interpreter, Tolentino has continued to receive critical praise as a dancer for his outstanding interpretations of his own works along with some of Canada’s finest choreographers and dance companies including; EDAM, Karen Jamieson Dance, Kinesis Dance, Kokoro Dance, LoLa Dance and Mascall Dance to name a few.
In 2000, Tolentino founded Co.ERASGA, a dance company dedicated to the research, creation and presentation of contemporary dance with an emphasis on exploration and collaboration with diverse artists nationally and abroad. To date, he has created a body of full-length work that includes SOLA (1998), BATO/Stone and MINORI (2001), VOLT (‘02) and FIELD (‘03), SHE SAID and ORIENTIK/PORTRAIT (‘05), BODYGlass with Peter Chin (‘06/‘07) PARADIS (‘08) with Emmanuel Mailly, ADAMEVE-Man/Woman (‘09), Shadow Machine (2010) and EXpose (2011) with Uruguayan- Martin Inthamousu, Colonial (2012/13) with Filipino theatre director Dennis Gupa, Shifting Geography (2014) with Germany’s Rafaele Giovanola, Unwrapping Culture (2015) with Thailand’s Pichet Klunchun, Collected Traces and Still Here (2016) and most recently Passages of Rhythms (2019).
With extensive international tours and artistic collaborations, Tolentino has featured dance works across the world with showcases in venues in Canada, the Philippines, Japan, Belgium, USA, France, Dominican Republic, Croatia, Switzerland, Singapore, Venezuela, UK, Thailand, China, Uruguay, and Germany. Dance platforms have included: Dance in Vancouver, Vancouver International Dance Festival, Dancing on Edge Festival, The Canada Dance Festival, Neo-Filipino, Wifi Body Festival Manila, Edinburgh Festival, Avignon Festival, The 3rd and 4th Festival danse en Vol Brussels, International Maracaibo Dance Festival, Singapore Arts Mart and Zagreb Dance Festival.
His filmed work includes Birth, Amongst, PARADIS, In the Skin of Becoming Swan and SOLA. They have been featured in national and international video/film festivals and have received prestigious nominations, including the 2000 BC Leo Awards, 2001 Canadian Gemini, and 2002 Grand Prix International Video dance competition for UNESCO in Paris.
In 2010, Alvin Erasga Tolentino was awarded the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Dance in recognition of his contributions to the field and to Vancouver’s cultural communities and the 2018 ExploreAsian-Pan Asian Award for contribution in the arts and multiculturalism.
Co.ERASGA is Registered as Company Erasga Dance Society. Charitable registration number: 894061514 RR0001
As an arts organization with roots of Filipino heritages, migrant stories and racialized settlers, we acknowledge our privilege to be living and creating art here on Turtle Island. We acknowledge the land upon which most of Co. ERASGA's work takes place: the traditional and unceded lands of the Coast Salish people including the Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw), Tsleil-Waututh (səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ) and Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) Nations, the original stewards and caretakers of these lands.
As artists, we humbly recognize the continued work that needs to be done on the road to reconciliation. We commit to our own education, sharing of resources and artistries for continued respect, solidarity, awareness towards decolonial relation and work with the Indigenous people of Canada.
© Co.ERASGA 2021