Hiyas Philippine Folk Dance Company
DANCE ORIGIN: Filipino
Along an island shore, Filipino dancers wrap lighted oil lamps in their fishnets, and dance in gratitude and celebration. They swing the lamps up to the stars in great arcs, dancing like Earth-bound constellations, lights reflecting in the sea—
It's hard to say exactly when Philippine dance became formalized. In the Philipine Archipelago, hundreds of tiny islands dot the Philippine and South China Seas—and thousands of villages traditionally depended upon the bounty of the sea. When fishing boats returned full, villagers celebrated with impromptu dance and song. Chinese, Spanish, and Indonesian invaders brought their own cultural influences, and impromptu dances became stylized, developing a distinctive musical and dance tradition.
The Hiyas Philippine Dance Company was created in 2003 by dance enthusiasts who enjoy the beauty of Filipino folk dance. Hiyas means jewel, to reflect the treasured legacy of Filipino music and dance. The company's intent is to offer authentic traditional presentations. The company is proudly part of the Filipino Youth Coalition, a non-profit organization geared toward cultural awareness among Filipino youth in the South Bay.
TITLE: Tabi Ng Dagat
Tabi Ng Dagat is a suite of traditional rural dances, with music or steps influenced by the Spanish. Choreographer and Artistic Director, Justin Mambaje presents the most authentic forms of these dances—with steps learned from manuscripts of Philippine national artist and folk dance research pioneer Francesca Reyes-Aquino. The dancers wear typical rural attire, staying cool and protected under the tropical sun.
Inalimanggo is a name for the mud crab in Pan-ay, Capiz. The dancers intertwine arms and legs, mimicking frenzied crabs. For the Pangasinense, oasioas means swinging. This skillful dance features the balancing and swinging of oil lamps. It roots are in a celebration of the fishing harvest, danced by the people of Lingayen. Sinubihan, which means back and forth, originated in a ballgame played with a fish basket. Players formalized the steps and sequence, and rondalla musicians transformed it into a dance. Tinikling is the Philippine's favorite dance, and a favorite in Leyte, Visayan Islands. The dance mimics the tikling bird as it dodges bamboo traps, lifting long legs to run between grass stems and branches.
The music is traditional, and the rondalla is the Filipino version of the mariachi band, as its three instruments—the bandurria, octavina, and guittara—are all Spanish-influenced.
TITLE OF PIECE: BARRIO FIESTA SUITE
Hiya's Barrio Fiesta Suite recreates a barrio scene of lively, daring and entertaining dances with onlookers cheering on. Although the dances presented in this suite come from different parts of the country, they share some common features. Pandanggo Sa Ilaw, meaning "dance with lights" comes from the west central island, Mindoro, first visited by the Spaniards in 1570. It is a Filipino adaptation of the Spanish Fandango where female dancers skillfully balance oil lamps on their heads and the back of their hands.
The suite continues with the Karatong, coming from the southwest island of Cuyo in the Palawan province. Often done at the annual parade of San Agustine, this dance celebrates the blossoming mango trees. Processing from church patio to town plaza, groups of ladies sway their bunga manga, representing mango flowers, while men strike their karatong, a bamboo percussion instrument.
Honored as the Philippine's national dance, Tinikling is a favorite in the east central island of Leyte. The dance imitates the movement of the long-legged tikling bird as it walks between grass stems, runs over tree branches, or dodges bamboo traps set by rice farmers. Skill is demonstrated in the dancing between fast-moving bamboo poles.