01 May, 2004

Review: Ethnic Dance Festival Week 1

Ballet Magazine 05/01/2004 -- It was an honor for LIKHA to perform at the 26th annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Over the years we have met many amazing groups and performers. They inspire us to continue our culture and art form. Ballet Magazine reviewed our new Bagobo dance piece. Renee Renouf writes:

Likha Pilipino Folk Ensemble's choice of Mindanao's Bagobo rituals was a refreshing change from the frequent Muslim royal wedding displays, and, I suspect, closer to the tradition. Certainly the costumes bore close resemblance to the abaca-based resist-dyed fabric with design themes drawn from the abundant natural surroundings, including stylized versions of crocodiles . I quibble with the women's blouses, but the sarongs and particularly the men's costumes looked as if they came straight out of exhibits of native costumes. These garments were not one's everyday paddy togs, but one can forgive that liberty when providing visual education for strangers.
The choreography reflected the cycle of rice planting, tending, harvesting and threshing, complete with rice winnowing baskets, and a festival with the men holding a banjo-like instrument which has been identified as a two-stringed lute called ludlong. The floor pattern was largely circular or occasionally a figure eight, with a refreshing lack of swinging and display of weaponry; these folks are cultivators, and the foot patterns a simple 4-4 rhythm. Also present were melodious fire-cast gongs, a noted part of pre-colonial Filipino tradition still alive in Mindanao, if vanished elsewhere in the archipelago.