DANCES OF THE RURAL COUNTRYSIDE

Life in the provinces reflects the simplicity of the lives of the people who live close tot he earth.  The landscape is of small towns and villages dotted with coconut groves, clumps of bamboo trees and the green or gold of rice fields.

 

Many dances are imitations of the movements of nature such as birds, animals, trees and the sea, are characterizations of various occupations or are created for various religious celebrations.  The bamboo is used in many types of dances.

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DANCES OF SPANISH INFLUENCE

The Spanish colonization of the Philippines brought many Western influences including religion, social customs, dress, dance and music.  European dances like the waltz, mazurka, the Spanish jota, paso doble, fangango and others were transformed to suit the climate and the temperament of the people.  The elaborate and formal costumes of the 16th century Europe were introduced and modified for the formal balls and other occasions in the homes of the wealthy and for the elegant government functions.

 

These costumes were later adapted as costumes called Maria Clara for the women, and Barong Tagalog for the men. A Spanish derived small string orchestra called Rondalla came into being with music played on the banduria, laud, guitara and banjo.

DANCE OF THE SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES

The influence of Hindu, Arabic, and Indo-Malayan cultures are reflected in the music, dance and costumes of the people who live in the southern Philippines - the island of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelango.  Included in this group are Filipinos who embraced the Islamic religion early in the 14th century.  Called Moros by the Spaniards, after the Moslem Moors, these people have resisted all attempts at Christianization.

 

The dances, particularly of the Maguindanao, the Maranao, and the Tausug, are largely ceremonial and are often accompanied by percussion instruments such as gongs, known as the Kulintang, and drums.  Kulintang music has been practiced since the 3rd century A.D., before the coming of Islam and Christianity.  It is celebratory music that brings people together, performed during weddings, festivities, for healing rituals, and to drive away evil spirits.  The music is never played in funerals or Islamic observances.

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DANCES OF THE MOUNTAIN PROVINCES OF LUZON:

The Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, and Kalinga-Apayao people, now known as BIBAK tribes, live in the misty mountain provinces of Northern Luzon.  Because of their long isolation in landlocked mountain villages, these indigenous tribes have been able to preserve much of their tribal identity, rich culture and traditions.

 

Dances of the BIBAK tribes are expressions of their beliefs which are often nature-oriented.  Their dances are mostly community celebrations of the important aspects of life such as birth, wedding, death, and rich harvest.  They dance to appease and to pay tribute to their ancestors.  They also dance for their gods to cure their ailments, to insure the success of war activities, to ward off bad luck, and to pray that natural calamities may not do harm to their source of living and their everyday life.

 

Dance is also a form of socialization for these tribes like the Kalinga.  They often congregate in order for them to unload their feelings.  Some of their dances depict agriculture, from planting to harvesting, since it is their main source of livelihood.  Their dances are performed accompanied with musical instruments such as, flat brass gongs - Gangsa, drums, hard wood sticks, various bamboo instruments and flutes.