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Philippines Folk Dances

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The term “folk dance” is sometimes applied to dances of historical importance in European culture and history; typically originated before 20th century. For other cultures the terms “ethnic dance” or “traditional dance” are sometimes used, although the latter terms may encompass ceremonial dances.

There are a number of modern dances, such as hip hop dance, that evolve spontaneously, but the term “folk dance” is generally not applied to them, and the terms “street dance” or “vernacular dance” are used instead. The term “folk dance” is reserved for dances which are to a significant degree bound by tradition and originated in the times when the distinction existed between the dances of “common folk” and the dances of the “high society”. A number of modern ballroom dances originated from folk ones.

The terms “ethnic” and “traditional” are used when it is required to emphasize the cultural roots of the dance. In this sense, nearly all folk dances are ethnic ones. If some dances, such as polka, cross ethnic boundaries and even cross the boundary between “folk” and “ballroom dance”, ethnic differences are often considerable enough to mention, e.g., Czech polka vs. German polka.

Not all ethnic dances are folk dances; for example, ritual dances or dances of ritual origin are not considered to be folk dances. Ritual dances are usually called “Religious dances” because of their purpose. INTRODUCTION TO PHILIPPINE FOLK DANCES

Folk dances are traditional dances of a country, which evolved naturally and spontaneously in connection with everyday activities, and experiences of the people. These are traditional dances handed down from generation to generation that describe the traditions, beliefs, occupations, ways of life and characteristics of people living in a certain country. Part of the Philippine Education program is to give meaning to rhythmic movements. These can be seen in Philippine folk dances which reflect not only movements but also the expression of the Filipinos’ sense of life. For the Filipinos, dance is a form of worship; an expression or images found in all aspects of their life: the wind, the rain, the passing of seasons, birth, death, and dreams. Aside from enhancing rhythmic movements of students, there are benefits that can be derived and developed from the study of Philippine Folk Dances:

1. Patriotism and nationalism
2. healthy from of relaxation and recreation
3. well-awakened art appreciation of folk dances
4. well- improved posture, graceful and rhythmic coordination of body movements.
5. preservation of native dances of the dances of the different regions for the next generation.
6. growth and enhancement of Philippine culture.
7. Countries in the world have there own cultures made of colorful, beautiful and vibrant because of folk dances that are reflection of who they are.

In the east , the Chinese have their symbolic Dragon Dance, the Japanese have the ancestral dance Bon Odori. In the west the Americans have their Square Dance. On the otherhand , the Philippine will not be left behind. “The Pearl of the Orient” boast of variety of Filipino Folk Dances. 8. The Philippines consist of 7107 islands, and is broken down in three groups of islands. The Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Each of three groups contain different languages, history, religion and traditions. Which each region having different influence in there arts, crafts and ancestor cal dances. BRIEF HISTORY OF PHILIPPINE FOLK DANCES..

Dance has always been a reflection of the pulse and rhythms of man as a social being. It is used to express every moment which has meaning to his life. The Filipinos are no exceptions. A survey of Philippine dances show the country has a repertoire of dances brought by the varied influences of a number of foreign cultures. When the Philippines was discovered by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, it had been inhabited by three different racial groups, the Indonesians, Malays and the Pygmies. The offspring of the Pygmies were the Negritos. The Negritos preferred dances to describe their daily activities like the dance Sinulog. It was a dual dance where two men use bolos. For centuries, dancing and singing have been the principal pastime of the people.

The early Filipinos considered dancing as a religious activity. They performed dances in thanksgiving for a fruitful harvest, a victorious battle, a prosperous voyage or recovery from sickness. During the Spanish time, dancing was part of the social activities of the Filipino. Kumintang a pantomimed song and dance, was the oldest recorded activity among the Christianized Filipino people. The Spaniards introduced different dances such as fandangos, lanceros, rigodon, carinosa, and curacha. Western cultures and dances of other European countries during the 16th century were also introduced, absorbed and blended into the Philippine native culture and they become part of the country’s traditional folk dances. Nowadays, folk dancing is increasing in popularity. There are numerous fascinating Philippine dances which are taught not only in school but also in various dance group for both amateurs and professionals.

The university of the Philippine Dance Troupe paved the way for the birth Philippine dances. This group of dancers and singers toured and performed in the towns and nearby provinces of Manila to dance and sing. The Bayanihan, Filipinescas, Filipiniana, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Dance Troupe and many others toured outside the country, dancing their way to win the love, administration and appreciation of different people through the world.

It is impossible to know when exactly dancing became a part of life in the Philippines. Many traditional dances were design to thank the Gods for natural and agricultural events, such as rain and harvest. The dances were performed during festivals and remembrances of past military victories, and still performed at celebrations of births and weddings in modern time.

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