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Members of the popular Filipino-Australian dance group VIP Sydney Dancerz will be putting their dancing shoes on to perform for the Walk for Respect event on Sunday, May 25.
The group will be part of the program of entertainment to be staged during the family barbecue party at the conclusion of the Walk at Parry Park in Lakemba.
The Walk which has been initiated and to be led on the day by the Member for Watson Tony Burke MP will commence at the corner of Gillies and Haldon Streets in Lakemba, and make its way through to Parry Park.
The program will showcase the vibrant cultural influences from the diverse multicultural communities which will be participating in the event.
VSD Chief Choreographer Victor Valdez said: “We are delighted to be part of history when Australians say ‘NO to bigotry and racism’. We want to show through our dances how various cultural contributions enrich our society’s culture.”
Objection to proposed racial hate law amendments
Mr Burke organised the Walk as a public expression of the communities’ objection to the proposed amendments to Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act.
At a meeting on Friday, May 16 at Parry Park and attended by more than 100 people from community organisations and local government, Mr Burke spoke about the adverse effect of the proposed amendments, if they are carried through.
He said: “I am here today not a member of the Labor Party, not really even as Member of Parliament but as someone in the same situation as you, who live in the most multicultural part of Australia and think that this is wonderful.
“I would like to make sure that everything that happens from our government and from our laws is something that enriches multicultural Australia and enriches our respect for each other.
“There are changes to the law being proposed by the government in Canberra that will change from where we have been in a couple of decades.
“For a couple of decades, that the concept of racist hate speech will be rejected by all sides of politics has been a principle that both Labor and Liberal alike will hold dear.
“At the moment, the government is proposing to change that will make it legal again to humiliate people on the basis of race, to humiliate on the basis of ethnicity.
“There is a lot of arguments and details that go with it but at the core of it, is that comments which are not part of the national conversation, which are racist, which humiliate and demean people would be allowed to become part of the national conversation again.
“I can’t see any way that anyone can argue that we become a better country by having more racism in the national conversation.
“And it is not just me saying that. We have members of the Liberal Party here in Sydney who are publicly and defiantly saying the same thing and encouraging the activity of what this Walk is about…. The Walk is to publicly demonstrate what harmony looks like.
“It is a walk for respect; a walk for harmony; a walk against racism; a walk against bigotry; a walk against the changes that are currently proposed.”
Dancing for relationship and love
The VIP Sydney Dancerz evolved from when in 2009 choreographer Victor Valdez had in his dance class now his wife, Mellie. Through dancing, they became very close friends, fell in love and got married the following year.
They performed as a duo in various community events. In 2011, they were joined by Ricky and Melanie Mendoza, another husband and wife tandem who love to dance.
These two couples performed in concerts and community events.
In 2012, they were joined by two more members, Catz Pangilinan and Mikee Cirnigliaro.
The group was then named by popular entertainer-production manager, Albie Prias as the VIP Sydney Dancerz (VSD).
After a few months the group grew and were joined by more members. Current members include Marilou Saldevia Bautista, Vivian Brewington, Bernie and Emmy Milan, Lyn Fernandez and Rommuel Roman, Annie Marquez and Keith Condosiadis, Jenny Lavender (Indonesian-Australian), and Baby Morales Kemkemian.
The group’s aim is to boost everyone’s self-confidence despite their age, size and nationality and to be able to share their talent and services to various multicultural organisations in Australia.
VSD assists couples to improve relationship and enhance love for each other. They believe that the more they dance together, the stronger their relationship becomes.
VSD often performs in community events such as the Freedom Ball held by the Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations and charity/fundraising for typhoon, earthquake and bushfire victims.
They also have performed in concerts of visiting overseas such as Jose Mari Chan, Nonoy Zuniga, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Kate Ceberano, Kuh Ledesma and Willie Nepomuceno as well as for local artists including Albie Prias abd Flagcom’s Mardi Gras.
*** Contributed photos of VSD dance group in previous events.