WEB EXCLUSIVE: Filipino dances highlight culture

The Philippine Cultural Society highlighted the history of Filipino culture and music in a show titled “Tandaan” in the Media and Public Affairs building Saturday. The show was the organization’s first cultural show.

“Tandaan translates into `remember,'” PCS President and senior Maia Ermita said.

The Rose Dance relates the story of a Filipino girl named Rose, played by senior Anna Guerra. Rose receives a tape full of traditional Filipino music that her friend Tito Boy, played by freshman James Bayot, hopes she will dance to.

When Rose refuses to learn the dances, Boy plays the tape while Rose sleeps, causing her to dream about dancing. Characters lead Rose to a world full of Filipino dancing and culture.

The dancers, including first-year graduate student Patrick Ledesma, wore black pants, white collared shirts and red bandanas around their neck, while the women wore plaid dresses or white long-sleeved shirts and flowered skirts.

The dances incorporated themes ranging from war to marriage. One crowd pleaser was “Tinikling,” a national Filipino dance named after the speed of the Tinikling birds. Dancers imitated these birds by jumping over large bamboo sticks, a skill that requires fast feet.

Another crowd favorite, was “Binasuan,” which means “with use of a drinking glass” and is often performed at weddings, birthdays and fiestas, according to the show’s program. In addition to colorful costumes, the dancers balanced three half-full glasses of rice wine.

“Maglalatik,” a mock war dance, depicts a fight scene between two groups, the Moors and the Christians, over coconut meat residue called “latik.” In this dance, the men danced shirtless and played castanets.

In “Bangko,” performers dance with partners on a bench about six inches wide.

Near the show’s end, Rose wakes and realizes the dances are part of her tradition, culture and personality.

The show’s finale consists of excerpts of modern songs with traditional dances, including Missy Elliot’s “Get Your Freak On,” “Oochie Wally” and Eve’s “Who’s That Girl.”

“That is why we had the theme of Tandaan,” PCS Vice President and performer junior Therese Lizardo said. “It helps to remember the past, and hopefully we can all appreciate each other’s culture.”

Members of the audience said they felt enlightened after the show.

“I learned a lot about the Filipino culture and how big it is in Washington, D.C.,” audience member Erin McNamara said. “It is interesting to get a sense of culture. I think we take other cultures for granted.”

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