Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Igorot Dances, Music, And Rituals To Be Featured In Production By California-Based Dance Company

The Cordillera region is a cradle that serves as a home to indigenous groups collectively referred to as Igorots. The thing that differentiates the Igorot people from most other indigenous groups in the Philippines is that a large part of their cultural traditions which include songs, dances, and rituals are still widely practiced or observed.

However, there's the undeniable fact that as older generations give way to newer ones, we start to lose our unique identity. A candle burning itself to oblivion, if you will. The number of Igorot youths knowledgeable of our cultural songs and dances dwindles every year. It's an unfortunate thing but it's a trend that would be impossible to stop.

But amidst this breaking down of our culture, flickers of hope for momentary swells and revivals rear their heads every now and then. And in a lot of times, the flickers come from the most unexpected places. Take for instance an upcoming stage production cooked by a folk dance group based in California. Titled Alamat (Legends), the show will feature songs, dances, and rituals from several indigenous groups in the Philippines including those of the Kalinga and Ga'dang people. Also covered in the production are music and dances by the Tboli, Bagobo-Tagabawa, and Maranao indigenous groups.

The group behind Alamat (Legends) is the Parangal Dance Group which is composed of Filipino-American artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. In its mission statement, the group says that it aims to "give tribute to Philippine heritage by preserving and promoting ethnic attire, music, and dance through research, workshops, and performances." The group said that for the Kalinga and Ga'dang segments of the production, they sought input from Jenny Bawer Young, Amparo Mabanag, and Margareth Balansi.

Showtime for Alamat (Legends) will be on October 3, 2015 at the Skyline College Theatre in San Bruno, California. The first staging will happen at 2 pm with a replay at 7 pm. For more information about the dance group and their projects, visit their website here. Below are two videos that will give you an idea on how the production presented the Kalinga and Ga'dang bits. The first one is a teaser trailer for the production. The second is footage from the group's recent performance in the television program Asian Pacific America.

Image credit: This Is It Photography via the Parangal Dance Company Facebook page.