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Filipino/a/x American History Month | Celebrating our Filipino/a/x American Instructors!

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

Happy Filipino/a/x American History Month from Rae Studios!

Rae Studios is Filipina owned and proud! In honor of Filipino/a/x American History Month, we're highlighting our amazing Filipino/a/x American-identifying instructors. Read more about these instructors below.

We are closing out this celebratory month by highlighting our very own Owner/Founder, Jessica Rae, who is honoring her mother and all Filipina women in a national traditional Filipiniana dress! This dress is called baro’t saya or baro at saya, which means “blouse and skirt”. This dress symbolizes pride, strength and the willingness of a Filipina to fight for her own freedom and right. This dress is the national dress of the Philippines and combines an elegant hybrid from both the pre colonial native Filipino and colonial Spanish clothing styles.

Now, let’s embrace some basic Tagalog words that you can practice on your own!

“Kumusta ka?” - How are you?

“Salamat” - Thank you

“Mabuhay!” - Long Live

“Oo, hindi” Yes, No

“Magkano ka” - How much?

“Po” - using to elders or adding politeness

“Bebot” = Chick/Babe

Jessica Rae (She/Her) @jraesf
Express Abs, Power Barre, Pop Jam, DRENCHED!

As a Filipina American business owner, my culture is always on my mind. Most filipino/a/x people can relate. We come together with nothing but smiles and good energy when it comes to food, community, music, and dancing. Since dance is at the forefront of both my businesses, Rae Studios and Rae Agency, I'm thankful to be submerged in my passion daily. As a young child, my mom pushed me to take as many sports, dance classes, pageants, and music lessons as possible. At a very young age, I knew that my relationship with dance, music, and community was my happy place. This feeling only grew as I developed my passion into a full-time career. I like to think that my culture and love for people show daily in my classes. Greeting people from the front line to the back line, yelling out awkward dance noises to cheer on dancers to occasionally telling a short story about their Filipino background while making students hold a squat.

And be warned, there's always a great Filipino/a/x story up my sleeve 😉

I am proud to be a Filipina Business Owner representing my fellow Bay Area dancers!

Jessica currently teaches Express Abs, Power Barre, Pop Jam, and DRENCHED! Click here to register for her classes.
Darian Gemora (He/They) @dariananthony_
Industry Hip-Hop

Now that I’m 24 and have fully comprehended what it means to be Filipino and darker-skinned in America, I have so much more pride in my community. Filipinos are the second largest Asian group in the nation and have contributed so much to American culture. We are underrepresented in Hollywood and not appointed to seats of power. When was the last time you’ve seen a Filipino elected official? I’m excited for the future of the Filipino people and for our culture to be highlighted more often.

Coming from a Filipino family that listened to a lot of RnB and HipHop music it was only natural for my heart to lean towards hip-hop dance. Although being queer led me to explore jazz funk, whacking, and contemporary, the most natural style for me to dance in is hip-hop.

Darian currently teaches Industry Hip-Hop on Mondays 6:30pm. Click here to register for his class. 
Thara Ashley (She/Her) @tharaashley

For me, this month isn't just a celebration of Filipino heritage, but a celebration of life. It’s a time to feel gratitude for all the beauty that comes with being Filipino-American - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the downright ‘ano ba yan’.

Growing up part-time in the Philippines and in the United States I’ve gained a unique perspective on how I view myself and the culture I’ve been born into. And I am nothing but grateful for it.

There's just such an undeniable joy that comes from Filipino culture and I like to believe that I exhibit this joy in the way I dance and how I live my life.

Thara currently teaches DRENCHED! on Tuesdays 5:30pm. Click here to register for her class. 
Mar Aquino (She/Her) @ohmarq
Heels, Hip-Hop

This month is a time to be intentional about connecting with my heritage and identity. I love all the community events in SF - any reason to gather with family and invite friends into Pil culture! Dancing and singing are traditions, and core ways Filipinxs express Pil joy, so I'd like to think that's why I've always had an instinctual need to wiggle and dance. I'm feeling grateful, uplifted, and visible.

Much love, Salamat!

Book a private lesson with Mar. Click here to learn more. 
Support Rae Studios this Filipino/a/x American History Month!
Check out our full roster of classes. Click here to sign up. 
Resource List

Interested to learn more about the dance forms we offer at Rae Studios? Visit our living resource document which we are continuously updating with more resources on different dance forms!

Did you enjoy this blog post and want to share it with your friends and family?

Make sure to tag the Rae Studios @raestudiossf and the instructors, and use the hashtag #MoreThanMovement.


Learn More About More Than Movement

If you have any questions or comments regarding our More Than Movement program or have any resources you’d like to share, please email our More Than Movement Committee leads, Lexi and Kristie at

Please continue to follow this page, our Rae Studios newsletter, and on social media for upcoming events, workshops, speaker series, panels, performances, materials for dance educators, and more. We look forward to growing as artists and community leaders that will show the world that what we do is #morethanmovement.


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