The Samahan Philippine Dance Company was organized in July 1974 under the direction of Lolita Diņoso Carter, Ph.D. Dr. Carter, a dance instructor at Grossmont College, El Cajon, CA. at that time, volunteered her services to organize a performing ensemble as a contribution to the growing Philippine Community of San Diego. Her knowledge of Philippine Dance and Music came from her experiences growing up in the Philippines and being involved in all facets of Filipino life in a small town. Formal education in Philippine Folk Dance at the University of the Philippines and classes with Francisca Reyes Aquino, eminent authority on Philippine Folk Dance, provided Carter with a solid background in Philippine Folk Dance. The Samahan Philippine Dance Company started out as part of the Youth Program of the Council of Filipino-American Organizations of San Diego County. The purpose of the program was to provide Filipino youth opportunity to gain knowledge and appreciation of their cultural heritage. The name Samahan (meaning working together) was selected by the participants who were mostly students from area junior and senior high schools and San Diego State University. The educational and recreational program soon became an amateur performing group besieged with requests for performances from various organizations, institutions and individuals. In 1998 the name was changed to Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts & Education Center. There are four performing groups: Philippine Dance Ensemble, Kulintang Music and Dance Ensemble, Philippine Rondalla String Orchestra, and Polynesian Dance Troupe. The Samahan Philippine Dance Company takes great pride in its contribution to the preservation, development and presentation of the traditional performing arts of the Philippines and its respected position as a member of performing arts of San Diego.