Friday, November 13, 2009
Among the Igorots, dance continues to be an expression of community life that animates the various rituals and ceremonies. It serves for self-edification of the performers and entertainment for the spectators. Dances originated to appease ancestors and gods to cure ailments, to insure successful war-mating activities, or to ward off bad luck or natural calamities. Igorots dance to congregate and socialize, for general welfare and recreation, and perhaps, as an outlet for repressed feeling. They also dance to insure bountiful harvests, favorable weather, and to mark milestones in the cycle of life.
Here are some Igorot dances:
Apayao (ah-pah-YAHW) Courtship Dance
This dance comes from the northernmost section of the Mountain provinces. Here, the couple raise and wave their arms and hands like the wings of a bird in flight, and the ceremonial blanket worn by the woman is lightly wrapped around her. The man's movements resemble those of a fighting cock in the preening, strutting, and flying-off-the-ground gestures.
Igorot maidens go to the river and prepare for a marriage ceremony. They display not only their grace and agility, but also their stamina and strength as they go about their daily task of fetching water and balancing the banga, claypots full of water, on their heads.
The Ibaloy who inhabit the southernmost mountain regions in Northern Luzon perform victory dances to extol the bravery of the warriors of yesterday. In this version from the barrio of Kabayan, hand movements are downward, suggesting the people's affinity with the earth. The basic step consists of a stamp by the left foot and a light, forward movement by the right. Instrumentalists lead the line, followed by male dancers, while the female dancers bring in the rear.
Bontoc War Dance or Pattong(PAH-tohng)
Also called the Bontoc War Dance, Pattong is part of the headhunting and war ceremonials inciting feelings of strength and courage as the warriors prepare to stalk their enemy. In Central Bontoc, the dance is also performed in February, March, and April, to implore the god Lumawig to send rain, similar in purpose to that of the rain-calling ceremony of Native American tribes. Much of the movements are improvised; two camps of warriors are usually featured pursuing each other, culminating in a melee where a fighter from one tribe kills one of his opponents.
Thanksgiving festivals are one of many occasions for tribal celebrations. The movements in this dance of the Ifugao tribe, imitating those of a rooster scratching the ground, symbolize a thanksgiving prayer to the god Kabunian for a bountiful harvest of rice. Both men and women express their joy in this thanksgiving.
A festival dance from Lagawe, it is performed by the Ifugao men and women during a major feast. Accompanying the dance are three gangsa or gongs: the tobtob, a brass gong about ten inches in diameter and played by beating with open palms, and the various hibat or gongs played by beating the inner surface with a stick of softwood.
Lepanto (leh-PAHN-toh) Festival Dance
This dance is performed by the Kankana-ey of northern Benguet and the people of Western Bontoc. It is usually danced at wedding celebrations (when it signifies the well-wishing of the bride and groom) and also after a harvesting season, when thanksgiving is rendered to the Benguet god Kabunyan for the bountiful harvest of the year.
Continue to: IGOROT DANCES - Part II