MARIA CLARA SUITE
In the Cordilleras of the Northern Luzon, there still live pagan folk known as Igorots, who have preserved their unique identity, customs and lore. Dance and rituals for them is an expression of community life -- to cure ailments, ensure success in war, to seek bountiful harvest and favorable weather, and most of all as part of their thanksgiving festival.
CHIEFTAIN – This is a dance of different tribe heads to celebrate a victory; to exchange tribe concerns or just to renew ties.
IDAW – This is a dance about an omen, whose movements are observed to get predictions about an impending battle.
BANGA - "Banga" literally mean pots. The Banga or pots dance is a contemporary performance of the Kalinga of the Mountain Province in the Philippines. This dance illustrates the languid grace of a tribe otherwise known as fierce warriors. Heavy earthen pots, as many as seven or eight at a time, are balanced on the heads of maidens as they trudge to the beat of the "gangsa" or wind chimes displaying their stamina and strength as they go about their daily task of fetching water and balancing the banga.
SALIDSID - The Salidsid is the Kalinga courtship dance, performed by a male and female (and thus is sometimes called the "cayoo" dance). The dance starts when each of the dancers are given a piece of cloth called "ayob" or "allap." Usually, the most important people in the village are the second to dance after the host has signified that the occasion is formally open. The background and meaning of this dance is evident. The male simulates a rooster trying to attract the attention of a hen while the female imitates the movements of a hen being circled by a rooster.
BUMAYAH – This is a rousing festival dance by the Ifugaos, legendary builders of the rice terraces. The movements in this dance imitate those of a rooster scratching the ground to symbolize a thanksgiving prayer to the God Kabunian for a bountiful harvest.
BANAWOL - Banawe was named after banawol, a chicken-eating hawk in the region, which inspired the festival dance of the Benguet tribe (also called Ibaloi) which uses the hawk movements and bright plumage.
RAGRAGSAKAN - The word means merrymaking. When the Kalinga celebrate an occasion, village women walk in a long line through the terraces skipping through breaks in the dikes. They carry on their heads labba or bakul baskets. A more picturesque sight is when the baskets are unfurled to ward off the cold mountain air.
SALIP - This dance depicts a warrior claiming his bride by presenting her with a matrimonial blanket. He imitates the movement of a rooster aspiring to attract a mate and seize love.
MARIA CLARA SUITE
This suite began with an intrepid Portuguese mariner sailing for the Spanish crown. Some 400 years later, the pervasive echo of this tradition rings true through dances accompanied by Castilian music.
JOVENCITA – This is a festival dance popular during the Spanish time performed by a young woman to honor an important guest. Jovencita means "young lady."
PITIK MINGAW – This is a courtship dance of a young woman and young man who fall in love at first sight. "Pitik" is a Visayan word that means "Miss."
PASODOBLE – The title means double step. The dance is based on the movement of a bullfighter in the bullring. The Señorita wields her fan to illustrate her flirting with the gallants.
JOTA INTRAMUREÑA – A Spanish-influenced dance, like many other jotas that have the Castillian stamp and bamboo castanets, this particular dance specifically features the many ways of using Manton by the Women.
DANZA - A folk dance of Cuban origin which became popular in the late 19th century, it is also known as habanera or danza habanera. The habanera is a social dance in duple time and performed in a ballroom or on a stage. The Argentine writer Carlos Vega (1898 - 1966) traces its origins to the English contra dance or square dance, which was then assimilated into Spain as contraganza or danza. Around 1825, it was bought to Cuba in this form where it was combined with Afro-Cuban rhythms. Around 1850, it was transformed into the habanera.
HABANERA BOTOLEÑA – This is a wedding party dance which originated in the town of Botolan in Zambales province. Typical sequences include the procession of the bride and groom's parents, lineup of the bridesmaids and groomsmen upstage, and solo featuring the wedding couple.
PANDERETAS - This dance, named after the jingle-less tambourines carried by the females originates from Tanza, Iloilo. A version of this dance shows females carrying Spanish fans instead of tambourines as the males play their castanets while dancing.
LA JOTA CAVITEÑA – This is a Filipino dance based on the Spanish dance the "jota". The jota is a dance known throughout Spain, most likely originating in Aragon. It varies by region, having a form in Valencia, Aragon, Castile, Navarra, Cantabria, Asturias, Galicia and Murcia. Being a visual representation, the jota is danced and sang with the accompaniment of castanets, and the interpreters tend to wear regional costumes. In Valencia, the jota was once danced during interment ceremonies.
PASEO DE ILOILO – The dance is named after its province of origin and is also known as “Andaluz” (ahn-dah-LOOHS). This is one of the most sophisticated courtship and flirtation dances of the Spanish era. The gentlemen compete among each other to win the heart of the dalaga, or young lady, by exemplifying chivalry, grace, and confidence. This version is choreographed as a solo couple dance.
Life in Mindanao is vivid with color in its striking costumes. The dances have Hindu-Malayan influences that give emphasis to the upper torso and the use of hands to express nuances of feeling.
INDARAPATRA - It is an epic tale from Mindanao and is a theatrical representation of how Raja Indarapatra killed a mythical bird called Pah, one of the four monsters that wrought havoc in its region.
MANGALAY TAMBOUR – This is a popular festival dance in Sulu. Maidens dance with their janggay nails and the men with their tambours executing exhibitions and various skills.
SINGKIL - (Maranao, Mindanao) Coming from the Lake Lanao region, the Singkil is a popular dance performed during celebrations and other festive entertainment. Performed as a female only dance, the Singkil serves as either a conscious or unconscious advertisement to would-be suitors for her future marriage. The ladies graciously step in and out of clashing bamboo poles arranged in a parallel, rectangular, or criss-cross fashion while manipulating either apir (fans), mosala (scarves), or even just their bare hands. Singkil means to entangle the feet with disturbing objects such as vines or anything in one’s path. It takes its name from the epic tale that the Maranaw people trace the origin of their culture to. Singkil originated from the Maranaw of Lake Lanao (Ranaw). It is derived from a story from the Darangen epic of the Maranaw.
KAPPAGONOR – This is an instrumental interlude highlighting the ancient art of playing the Maranaw kulintang, gongs and dabakan drum in welcoming the guest.
PASANDALAN – This is a Maranao dance that exhibits skillful maneuvers of banners of celebration.
KINI - KINI – This is a royal and graceful way of walking as a woman’s long sensuous scarves are wielded with expertise through flicks of fingers and wrist movements.
LINGGISAN – This is a Muslim dance performed by a woman characterized by grace and fluid movements. Inspired by birds, this dance is complimented with delicate symmetry of slender limbs and fingers, colorful clothing and accessories and "janggay."
KAPPA MALONG MALONG - Also called Sambi sa Malong, this Maranao dance shows the many ways of wearing a malong, a simple tabular yet highly functional piece of cloth. The traditional women's version shows this cloth of countless colorful designs; used mostly as a skirt, woven in many different ways, depending on the purpose of the wearer. Other ways the women wear malong is as a shawl, mantle, or a headpiece.
PANSAK - The Yakan, a seafaring tribe uses fish movements in their dances. It is a pre-nuptial dance of the Yakan tribe of Basilan performed by the bride and the groom prior to the wedding ceremony in the langal of church. Both their faces are dotted with white paint to hide their identity from evil spirits.
VINTA - A vinta is a boat used by the Muslims. The dance imitates the movements of the vinta in rough waters as dancers balance perilously on top of bamboo poles.
Pockets of cultural minorities live in the style of their forebearers in the hills and mountains throughout the Philippine Archipelago. The hillside and interior of Mindanao are inhabited by non-Christian Filipino tribes whose culture and animistic beliefs predate both Islam and Christianity. Dance for them is a basic part of life, still performed essentially "for the gods." As in most ancient cultures, unlike the Muslim tribes in their midst, their dances are nonetheless closely intertwined with ceremonials, rituals, sacrifice, and life.
ARAL KAFI – (Pandamggo) - This Talaingod dance, performed to the beat of four drums by a female, portrays a virgin-mother bathing and cradling her newborn baby, named Liboangan. She supposedly had a dream, or pandamggo, that she was to bear such a child. This concept of a virgin-birth may have been derived from the Catholic faith. The dance progresses through different stages of the child's growth, from birth to maidenhood. As a young woman, she must deal with competing suitors, one of whom is favored by the mother. A heated encounter between the suitors ultimately results in their death.
KADAL TAHAW of T'boli – This is a bird dance performed by the T'boli during planting and harvesting which simulates the flights and hops of the tahaw bird.
BLIT B'LAAN – This is a courtship dance of the Bilaan of Davao del Sur imitating forest birds during the mating season.
MAKATOD – This is a Mandayan dance focused on a young prince borne high by coutiers to a place of honor. The dance represents flying hawks and performed by males in bagani costumes.
DUGSO - The Bukidnon from northeastern Mindanao perform this dance to entertain the deities, to make them feel more comfortable during the fiesta that has been organized for them to help make them more open to the requests of the celebrants. It was originally thought that this dance was performed only during harvest time or upon the birth of a male heir. Women would wear colorful feathered headdresses, plaid costumes and anklets. They would step rhythmically around a bamboo arch decorated with newly-gathered palay (rice stalks) and corn, and their movements are emphasized by the tinkling sounds from the anklets.
BAGOBO RICE CYLCE – This (also known as Sugod Uno) is a tribal dance performed by the Bagobo people of Davao del Sur. To the Bagobo, the dance is called Miyamas neng Ommoy. Ommoy is a Bagobo term for the rice grains without husks. The dance portrays the step-by-step cycle of rice culture -- from planting, harvesting to thanksgiving rituals for a bountiful rice harvest.
PAGDIWATA – The dance draws its origins from the Tagbanua Tribe of Palawan, which depicts the rituals performed after planting rice.
Perhaps the best known and closest to the Filipino heart are the dances from the rural Christian lowlands, a country blessed with so much beauty. To the Filipinos, these dances illustrate the fiesta spirit and demonstrate a love of life. They express a joy in work, a love for music, and pleasure in the simplicities of life. The typical attire in the Rural Suite includes the colorful balintawak and patadyong skirts for the women, and camisa de chino and colored trousers for the men.
LOVERS’ DANCE – These are dances whose basic choreography involves coordinated dancing of two partners.
PASIGUIN – This is a frolicking dance representing fishes escaping from torn fishnets, locally called sabot Capiz.
BINASUAN - This colorful and lively dance from Bayambang in the Pangasinan province shows off the balancing skills of the dancers. The glasses that the dancers gracefully, yet carefully, maneuver are half-filled with rice wine. Binasuan, meaning "with the use of a drinking glass," is often performed in weddings, birthdays, and fiestas.
MAGLALATIK - This mock-war dance, originating from the Spanish regime, depicts a fight between the Moros and the Christians over the prized latik, or coconut meat residue. This dance, originally performed in Biñan, Laguna, is also performed as a tribute to the patron saint of farmers, San Isidro de Labrador. Maglalatik is a four-part performance: the palipasan and the baligtaran showing the intense combat, and the paseo and the escaramusa, the reconciliation. The Moros of this dance usually wear red trousers, while the Christians don blue trousers. All of the men use harnesses of coconut shells positioned on their backs, chests, hips, and thighs.
SAYAW SA BANGKO - This dance is native to the barrio of Pangapisan, Lingayen, Pangasinan, and demands skill from its performers who must dance on top of a bench roughly six inches wide.
TINIKLING - Honored as the Philippine national dance, Tinikling is a favorite in the Visayan Islands, especially on the island of Leyte. The dance imitates the movement of the tikling birds as they walk between grass stems, run over tree branches, or dodge bamboo traps set by rice farmers. Dancers imitate the tikling bird's legendary grace and speed by skillfully maneuvering between large bamboo poles.
PANDANGGO SA ILAW - This popular dance of grace and balance is from Lubang Island, Mindoro. The term pandanggo which comes from the Spanish word fandango, which is dance characterized by the lively steps and dance of light simulating fireflies of duck in the countryside. This particular pandanggo involves the presence of three tinggoy or oil lamps, balanced on the head and the back of each hand.
OASIWAS - After a good catch, fishermen of Lingayen would celebrate by drinking wine and by dancing, swinging and circling a lighted lamp. Hence, the name oasiwas which in the Pangasinan dialect means, "swinging." This unique and colorful dance calls for skill in balancing an oil lamp on the head while circling in each hand a lighted lamp wrapped in a porous cloth.
KALAPATI – This is a dance from Cabugao, Ilocos Sur province which symbolizes peace and is represented by imitating the movements of a graceful dove. It portrays the simplicity of Ilocanos, their naturalness and shyness.
SUBLI – This ancient dance was originally performed in the generation of the Holy Cross of alitagtag referred to in the vernacular as Mahal na Poong Santa Cruz. The word subli is derived from the cliking of bamboo castanets, while the women dance with hats.