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2007 – Asia and the Pacific – Realms of Fire

PerformanceAsia and the Pacific
 Realms of Fire
Date and TimeAug 3, 2007 – 08:00 PM
Aug 4, 2005 – 03:00 PM
Aug 5, 2007 – 10:00 AM and 03:00 PM
VenueCultural Center of the Philippines
TheaterTanghalang Nicanor Abelardo
TypeSeason Production
  

.
Cultural Center of the Philippines
RAMON N OBUSAN FOLKLORIC GROUP
Ramon A. Obusan t, National Artist for Dance

Asia and Pacific : 

Realms of Fire

with the special participation of SINDAW PHILIPPINES PERFORMING ARTS GUILD, CEU FOLK DANCE TROUPE and BATANG ROFG

August 3, 2007 • 8pm / August 4, 2007 • 3pm / August 5, 2007 • 10am & 3pm
Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (CCP Main Theater)

Asia and the Pacific: Realms of Fire

Inspired by its successful participation in the 12th ASEAN Summit held in Cebu in January 2007, RAMON OBUSAN FOLKLORIC GROUP presents for its first season production at the Cultural Center of the Philippines – ASIA and the PACIFIC: REALMS OF FIRE.

International Convention Center is for the foreign ministers, their spouses, delegates, ambassadors and other dignitaries and was hosted by H.E Alberto G. Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Previously, the ROFG provided a glimpse of Philippine culture through a music and dance performance at the Reception for the ASEAN Ministers’ Spouses in July 29 at the Maynila Ballroom, Manila Hotel.

Asia and the Pacific: Realms of Fire unravels a gathering of the ASEAN nations Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam as well several of its dialogue partners: China, Japan, Korea, India, New Zealand, and the U.S.A. Countries imbued in diversities but joined in one common goal – peace. The production not only highlights rare rituals, lavish costumes and embellishments, but also indulges the audience in celebrating the dance and music traditions of each nation. The experience will help instill a sense of well-being and further justify that the unity of Asians as a people makes the region one of the most peaceful areas in the world.

Asia and the Pacific: Realms of Fire showcases the folk dances rituals, festivals and music of our Asian and Pacific neighbors. It features the stylized movements of a wedding ceremony in Brunei Darussalam; the trance-like dances of Cambodia; the magic and mysticism of Indonesia’s rituals; the colorful costumes and pulsating joget steps of Malaysia; the simple yet mesmerizing movements of a traditional Laotian dance; an exhausting but impressive number from Myanmar; the variety in Singapore’s multi-racial dances; the exotic royal court dances of Thailand and a folkish but elegant village-girl’s dance from Vietnam. Not to be missed are the contributions of Japan, Korea, China and India. The Philippines will be represented by a cross-section of dances in an attempt to show its multi-cultural diversity.

The performance will be capped with powerful and compelling dances from our brethren from across the Pacific an ancient hula from Hawaii and a magnificent haka from New Zealand.

The past thirty years has seen the ROFG spearheading major Asian festivals and tourism events. In 1983 the group was the toast of the Festival of Asian Art when Anthony Weber of the China Morning Post wrote – “Fabulous Folklore!…the stuff an Art Festival should be made of”. The group consequently represented the Philippines in the First Joint ASEAN Performing Troupe in 1991 with Ramon A. Obusan chosen as Artistic Director. In 1993, the company performed for the delegates of the Third ASEAN Dance Festival held in the Philippines and hosted by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. For eight months in 1995, the ROFG performed Asian dances in Sentosa Island in Singapore. In year 2000, the company received the ASEAN Travel Association Award for Excellence in Tourism at a forum in Thailand, besting other contenders. In celebration of the 39th Anniversary of the ASEAN in 2006, the ROFG performed a mix of ASEAN dances to a medley of folk songs sang by the worldrenowned Philippine Madrigal Singers held at the Department of Foreign Affairs. Since 1993, the ROFG has also performed three major productions with ASEAN themes at the CCP, namely: Under ASEAN Skies, Glimpses of ASEAN, and Mystique Asia. All to critical acclaim and praise. The ROFG has documented and studied the many dances of their Asian counterparts thoroughly, making sure each gesture; movement; costumes and props are duplicated to maintain its purest form.

Because of the obvious bio-geographic differences in the region, Asia and the Pacific: Realms of Fire will emphasize the strong bond forged and threaded through our country and those of our neighbors.

Asia and the Pacific: Realms of Fire is based on the original concept, design and choreography of the late National Artist for Dance RAMON AREVALO OBUSAN.

On August 1, 2007 the ROFG enthralled the delegates of the ASEAN 40″ Ministerial Meeting with a finale that encapsulates the entire event showcasing a cross-section of the cultures, traditions and the arts of the ASEAN Member countries and its Dialogue Partners. This dinner reception and Gala Night held at the Philippine

Cultural Center of the Philippines
Message

Peace is a most-often used word, but it has remained elusive in some parts of our country and other parts of the world, where there is chaos, confusion, anarchy, discrimination, harassment, injustice, social and political degradation. The good news is that concerned citizens and organized groups have not given up hope. Peace remains to be on top of the agenda of national, regional and international institutions. In a fitting tribute to that principle and in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the ASEAN, the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group (ROFG) unravels a gathering of multi-cultural diversified dances in a production entitled Asia and the Pacific: Realms of Fire.

It is noteworthy that ROFG continuously dazzles its audiences, not only with its amazing artistry, but with its commitment to use dance as a powerful tool for inner growth and social transformation. Their steps, movements and costumes not only evoke a story that reveals the history, values and traditions of each nation, but also the altruistic gift of dance to transform conflicts and violence into an engaging and life-changing art works. If guns and bullets cannot stop wars, dance like any other form, can dissolve the “brutal ways of the world” and transform the cycle of pain, anger and cruelty into a spirit of calmness, respect, hope and oneness in the Asia-Pacific region. Though we are separated by geographic and physical differences, tonight’s production will blaze us into a world of dances where our strong sense of community spirit and spirituality makes us an exceptional peace-loving people.

Tonight, as the realms of fire explode in our hearts and mind, we enjoin you to come to the discovery and re-discovery of the unique cultural heritage of our peoples. Truly, dance is a potent instrument that speaks freely about what we are as a people, and serves as an indispensable catalyst for a peaceful and better tomorrow.

To Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group and the other participating groups, continue dancing for peace!

NESTOR O. JARDIN
President

FERNANDO C. JOSEF
Vice President & Artistic Director

Message

“… Thank you for having shared your beautiful tradition with us during better times and we stand firm to preserve and to continue performing them as our token of gratitude.”

RAMON AREVALO OBUSAN
National Artist for Dance

From the words of our brother Ramon, We, the Obusan Family and the entire Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, are living by these very same words in continuing his legacy.

Asia and the Pacific: Realms of Fire marks a full seven months after his passing. The production also coincides with the 40th commemoration of the founding of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Asia and the Pacific: Realms of Fire showcases dances from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, United States of America and Vietnam.

As our dearly beloved Kuya Mon would say “take my hand as we unravel the exotic, diverse, and mystical” Asia and the Pacific:

SONJA OBUSAN-MENOR
Administrator Ramon Obusan Folkloric Foundation

Ramon A. Obusan
A Life Into Rite

Fear and Fascination. These are the diurnal encounters of Ramon Arevalo Obusan, intensifying since he founded his folkloric group in 1971. These may also describe what’s inside the man for the past 35 years in order to set his extensive research and repertoire in Philippine dance. Which have both been solid and prized scholarly resource for us at home, and living treasures for the rest of the world to marvel at: about who and what we are, Filipinos.

Who could have provoked a critic in a Hong Kong festival to say that these are the stuff an art festival should be made of”? Not only to be startled by but also to believe in, in the verity and variety of a people’s folk expressions.

Obusan himself said of an obsession, “As an anthropologistethnologist, I am trusting a ray of hope into the grim fact that if we did not take time to understand the underlying influence or force that these rituals have on us, and save what is left of their forms, all this on-going destruction will throw us blind, leaving these rituals as displaced, out-ofcontext pieces of puzzle of our cultural heritage.”

This cultural concern is broad and deep: from this Bicolano who personifies all of us in his scouring our islands, who relentlessly communes with our peoples and their cultures, and who gives us and the rest of the world a total picture of these ethnographic pieces he speaks of. But beside other researchers and choreographers, and other folk groups, Obusan often goes beyond the easily panoramic and now formulaic presentation of those pieces.

What first won me over, from this man I did not then know, was his second Kayaw presentation in 1974 at the new Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Factual yet fascinating as it was, it veered away from the usual and digestible series of regional and variegated suites that seductively spellbind foreign eyes in our folkloric groups’ global tours, since the successes of the Bayanihan, Barangay and Far Eastern University groups in the late ’50s.

Kayaw focused on the ritual traditions of the Kalinga, Benguet, Bontoc, Apayao and Ifugao. It was both a researcher’s and a stager’s triumph. It was an in-depth presentation on stage, not just a drastic or dramatic survey. Later, another enchantment from Obusan I saw was at Philtrade, focusing on our Kuwaresma rites. More existential than our traditional Senaculo that sweepingly reenacts the biblical story in Holy Land; the portrayed practices were forcefully close to and revelatory of how our people feel a religious need, processing a conversion in indigenous terms.

In contrast to that, today Obusan annually celebrates one of our most festive occasions Christmas. As no one has done, he has brought together an anthology of our Pastores (shepherds’ reciting, dancing, playing on way to visit the Christ Child) where he invites us, “Vamos a Belen”. I have seen this outdoor production in vernacular vigor, under the sun and sometimes rain, in front of the fountains of the CCP, and with a pulley-pulled star-lantern drawn from a practice in a Negros Oriental church. It dares to end by bringing us to a modern mall in today’s colonial and consumerist spectacle of balloons, confetti and St. Nicholas’s presence. Is this a sly anthropologist’s question-inperformance?

This is the kind of cultural focus that makes the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group different from others. It is a concentrationbeside his study and staging of the far-and-widethat must have arisen from Obusan’s anthropological study in the University of the Philippines. (Or earlier, of as concentrated a world as marine biology which he once taught in a college out in Aklan.)

Can we equate this intensified focus to a disciplined acquisition he had from his father, Dr. Praxedes Obusan, and his music teacher mother, Josefina Arevalo? Born in Legaspi on June 16, 1938, to a large family, Obusan tells of how he grew up in a hardy, regimented atmosphere. Where he lives today in Pasay, fronting NAIA-I, he shows a brave enterprise that certainly goes beyond material goods as such. He has turned the family house into a museum containing his extensive collection of musical instruments, implements, costumes, furniture, artifacts of Filipino culture. Moreover, he has added more architectural features that also become settings for his presentations, film documentation, aside from rehearsal and storage space of properties and costumes.

His investment is tremendous for these, in order to enhance his archival record of such perishable practices as chants, songs and dances. His memory and understanding of these are phenomenal, which he generously shares with other scholars, teachers, stage directors, filmmakers, choreographers and numerous dance groups. Indeed, he houses a school for a living culture.

Often enough, he also houses more than his troupe’s members. When financially able, he would bring in various ethnic groups into his presentations. He arranges their coming and going, feeding and lodging, adjustment in an urban setting. Indeed, his authentic concern goes beyond appropriating a tribe’s practices; he brings them in as living participants in his metropolitan life, as much as he becomes one with them in their remote, even dangerous domiciles. Out there, he would sometimes spend for an occasion in order to revive and record a celebration. Thus, the description director-choreographer is such a confining term to describe Obusan. He is also all of impresario, hotelier and, when need, be a modern-day babaylan to negotiate among folks, and between them and the spirits they believe in. To simply call him artist in dance is to restrict and constrict his obsession and function.

In as much as he negotiates these, and between his performers and us, his audience, he does indeed tread the grounds of fear. To some, this may seem an exaggerated statement.

Fear stems from the uncertainties in the ephemeral nature of dance and all performing arts. Conceptually one may be clear and confident about what’s to happen in living bodies adapting to each other and to a setting, the stage or Mother Earth’s. But to be realized in that circumstance of uncertainties, dance embodies itself in concerted beliefs, in faith among collaborators, and in the goals of that momentary occasion. A faith validated at each performance.

Martha Graham has always harped on this fear as an “acrobat of the gods”. Yet this is paired with Fascination. For one, by the very precariousness of the performing arts. You have to ever go into it, to practice, practice, practice. In order to arrive at what you wish to be. Aside from the visual and virtual attractions of dance, this fascination stems from the very beauty of the body (post-modernly redefined as any body that empowers itself), the rhythmic enchantment felt and conveyed, and the (re-) enactment of the rite of being, of performing, of communicating an aspired-for cause.

These paradoxical feelings must explain the endurance and creativity of Obusan as an artist. Witness the breadth of his choreographic content and craft.

Amid a long record of productions, he lists several full-length presentations. These include Kayaw ’68 and Kayaw ’74, Ritual, Tausug Tapestry, Noon Po sa Amin, Kaamulan, Maynila – Isang Dakilang Kasaysayan, and his survey of undocumented dances he called Unpublished Dances I, II, III. He also surveyed Asia in Under the ASEAN Skies, Glimpses of the ASEAN, Mystique Asia and in fact had formed and directed an ASEAN company, while his dancers were once resident artists at the Sentosa Island in Singapore.

He has collaborated in several film productions, and himself directed dance documentaries, among them for the CCP’s Tuklas Sining: Sayaw series. To have won awards locally and abroad, one a grand prix de reportage in Videodanse, France. He has also been consultant for the UNESCO, and done research in the Pacific: Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand.

Obusan’s courage to be and for all of us, to the rest of the world, is recorded in his numerous tours at home and abroad: Asia, Europe and

the Americas. He also joined the Smithsonian Folklife Festival during our centennial year in 1998. These just approximate in focus and scope his own intensive and extensive field research in our islands to know our dances and music, and the very people who do and live them. He doesn’t just study them; he joins their diurnal and ritual life.

Obusan has made of his own life a ritual process. As Victor Turner describes it, Obusan crosses borders, enters a ritual space (which can be any customary circle), and emerges enlightened. Or reinvigorated as a researcher-artist. It takes a kind of daring to just cross that transept. But Obusan the producer has to do another crossing by staging the peoples’ dances on stage, or just in any setting other than the original space. He claims to somehow resolve the question of “authenticity” by true costumes and music, and explicating on the context of a relocated observation. (This explicating was so easily and summarily done in the past with an attributed progeny by geographical location, general classification of costuming, and unilateral codification in recordings.) Obusan’s own collection, documentation and sometimes invitation of tribal participants mitigate accusation of appropriation. As critic, I must say that any performance could create its own context and could be accepted or rejected by the very verity of that moment, anthropological claims withstanding. (Check Homi Bhabha on hybridity issue.)

Despite and through all these, Obusan has won recognition or awards from the City of Manila, the CCP, the Centennial Awards in 1998, and what’s more, an ROFG Day out in Cleveland, Ohio in 1994. He ever refurbishes and reinvigorates his repertoire by his assiduous and indefatigable research work in the field, keeping his ties alive with the very culture he observes (and participates in). As a result, he has infused others with this research orientation, influencing teachers and directors of many dance groups all over the Philippines. Had he more than one life, he proclaims:
“If I could have another lifetime and several more, I would definitely go back amongst my dear friends living in deep forest recesses or wedged in some slopes of high mountains to listen to tales of a rich culture, delight in their music, be one with them in dance and record their timeless traditions.”

By Basilio Esteban S. Villaruz

Reprinted from the 2006 ORDER OF NATIONAL ARTIST Commemorative Book produced by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Cultural Center of the Philippines

Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group
Ramon A. Obusan , National Artist for Dance
Founder and Artistic Director

The Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group (ROFG) celebrates its 35 years of preservation and perpetuation of Philippine traditions with special emphasis on music and dance.

Founded in 1972, the ROFG started as a fledgling dance company, compose of some thirty performers. Leaning on the vast amount of data and artifacts that he has accumulated while he was doing researches, Ramon A. Obusan thought of starting a dance company that will mirror the traditional culture of the Filipinos through dance and music.

For more than thirty years, the ROFG has created a niche in the world of dance as a forerunner of Philippine folk dance performed closest to the original. Boasting of over a thousand performances in the Philippines and abroad, the ROFG is one of the leading resident dance companies of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) since 1986.

Under the able leadership of its Founder, Artistic Director, Choreographer and Researcher – Ramon Arevalo Obusan, it has so far gone on three successful extensive European tours in 13 countries namely, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Yugoslavia, Greece, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Austria in 1987, 1990, and in 1993.

In the 8th Hong Kong Festival of Asian Arts 1983 critics showered the ROFG with praises describing it as “the stuff an arts festival should be made of”. Three years later in the 1986 Expo in Canada, its 21 shows ended in 21 standing ovations. In 1992, the group was the first Filipino performing group to receive resounding applause and stranding ovations for all its performances in Japan under the auspices of Min-On. The group then had its first extensive American Tour in 1994 visiting sixteen (16) states capped with a proclamation of February 8 as ROFG Day in Cleveland, Ohio a first for a Filipino dance company.

In Asia, the group represented the Philippines in various dance festivals and conferences as cultural ambassadors. Along with this, Mr. Obusan was chosen as Artistic Director of the first Joint ASEAN Performing Troupe in 1991 and the ROFG as the official Philippine representative. In 1994, it was the only Filipino company asked to perform for six months at the ASEAN Village in Sentosa, Singapore performing not only Philippine dances but dances of other Asian countries as well. In 1995, the ROFG helped raise HK1.5M for Filipino overseas foreign workers (OFW’s) in Hong Kong when the company performed for a fund-raising event sponsored by the Hong Kong Bayanihan Trust.

April and May 1996 saw the group in Paris, Turkey, Greece, and Sweden for a series of performances under the auspices of the Department of Tourism. In May 1998, the company performed at the Lisboa Exposition in Portugal as part of the Philippine Centennial Celebration and in Milan, Italy for the Philippine Consulate’s Independence Day Celebration. In 1999 the group returned to Japan for the Philippine Independence Day celebration through the invitation of the Philippine Embassy. The following year (2000), the company received the ASEAN Travel Association Award for Excellence in Tourism as Best ASEAN Preservation Effort in the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Thailand, besting other contenders. In

2001, the company traveled to South Korea, London, U.S.A., and Baghdad, Iraq for a series of special performances and workshops. It was also awarded the Sining Kalinangan Award of the City of Manila as Outstanding Folk Dance Company in the same year.

In the years 2002 and 2003 the ROFG was seen at Hong Kong’s Prince Hotel for the Philippine Food Festival and in the biggest Filipino musical extravaganza of Filipino artists in Hong Kong under the auspices of the Philippine Consulate. In March 2006, the company had a successful three-week performance tour of Hawaii as part of the Centennial Celebration of the First Filipino Migrants in Hawaii under the auspices of the East-West Center, performing to more than 8,000 audiences in the five major provinces of the State of Hawaii.

In June 9, 2006, Ramon Arevalo Obusan was conferred by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at Malacanan Palace, the Order of National Artist in recognition of his artistic excellence in the arts, significant contribution to dance and as testament to his phenomenal work in Philippine Dance.

Early this 2007, the company performed the finale for the ASEAN Summit Gala Performance in Cebu City for the Heads of States of the various ASEAN-member countries as its dialogue partners, namely China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Though steep in international recognition, the ROFG has never forgotten the people who are the very source of its pride. For the past two decades it has documented and performed the dances, music and rituals of more than 50 ethno-linguistic groups in the country. With more than twenty outstanding full-length Filipino dance works, among which are the memorable suites from the Cordillera, Bagobo, T’boli, Tausug, Maranao, the Aeta and the Talaandig among othersthe ROFG has continuously served to highlight the authenticity of the movements, music, songs and movements of these people.

Today, the ROFG humbly celebrates 35 years of fruitful existence and service to the Filipino people. To the ROFG, there is no stopping in the pursuit of recording and staging of fast fading Filipino traditions.

The Royal Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam

Aduk-aduk
It was in January 1994 that Brunei Darussalam regained its international status as a fully independent sovereign nation. This oil rich Islamic sultanate off the northwestern coast of Borneo is known for its magnificent mosques, water village and virgin rainforest that cover seventy percent of the country.

Most of its inhabitants are Moslems, Islam having been introduced in the 13h century. Brunei is deeply steeped in Malay tradition, and one often sees similarities in the dances of both countries.

The tenets and moral code of their religion show strongly in their dances; for instance the soles of the feet and the armpits are never shown, female dancers never stare at the men and respect for authority is always shown.

Bruneians enjoy a high standard of living – its citizens have the highest per capita income in the world.

Kipas-kipas
Wedding Dance

Royal Kingdom of Cambodia
Apsara

Cambodia has a rich culture dating back many centuries when Angkor civilization was the regions’ most developed. The magnificent temples built between the 9th and 13th century to glorify the succession of the Khmer kings remains one of the greatest wonders of the world. Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious monument. Cambodia’s scenic natural beauty and heritage of French culture are what makes it a charming country.

From unspoiled beaches, fascinating markets, river cruises, rainforest and the isolated beaches, are part of its unique attractions. Khmer dance, song and arts are sophisticated and integral to the people’s ordinary life.

Republic of Indonesia

Indonesia is a land of many cultures. Of its over 17,000 islands stretching almost 5,000 kilometers from the Asian mainland into the Pacific Ocean, only about 6,000 are inhabited by 300 ethnic groups. The island has a breathtaking natural beauty, with imposing volcanoes and mountains, tropical forest and beaches.

Indonesia offers a blend of scenic beauty, fauna and flora, culture and religion. Devotees worship in the temples of at least five different religions. Their art is diverse and comes in myriad forms, truly representative of the people’s thoughts and activities. In their immense repertoire of dance, the country finds unity in spite of diversity. Training for dance is given to children as soon as they are able to walk.

Development of this sense of discipline in the young benefits the country. In the complex assortment to be found in ethnic heritage, indigenous dance still remains a facet firmly rooted in Indonesia’s identity.

Kuda Kepang

Laos People’s Democratic Republic

Bordered by Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China and Myanmar, Laos was formerly a French-Indochinese state.

As the only landlocked ASEAN nation, Laos retains a remarkable serenity and timeless charm. The country has the most pristine ecology among its neighbors. Forty seven minority tribes that offer many insights into their ancient traditions and the arts inhabit its mountains and plateaus.
The Laos culture is centered around the tenets of Buddhism and its peoples are skilled carvers as shown by the intricately carved sacred pagodas that are found all over the country. Many festivals correspond to the Buddhist calendar.

The Bun Nam Festival is a colorful sight as village boats compete in river raced throughout the country.

Dok Boua Thong

Malaysia
In the heart of Southeast Asia lies one of the world’s most enchanting lands, Malaysia. A tropical paradise of immense charm, Malaysia is a veritable treasure trove of diverse cultures and hospitable peoples, exotic cuisine, fascinating festivals, quaint villages and modern skylines.

to this multitude of color, which characterize Malaysian culture. Its west coast brushes the strategic shipping lanes of the Straits of Malacca, and Western influence has been strong enough to change the outlook of Malaysians towards the performing arts.

Bordered by Thailand to the north, Singapore and Indonesia to the south and southeast, Malaysia stretches across the northern tier of Borneo to form the states of Sarawak and Sabah. Its wide spans of jungle have limited interaction between separate societies producing diversity in its ethnic traditions. The sultanates of the past contributed Ingenuity is shown with the blending of Eastern traditions and Western ways, and the beautiful result is what Malaysia considers its present arts. With this, dances are transformed from the traditional orang asli tribal dances to zapin, joget and ina, which obviously have western influence. As Malaysia’s economy and industry moves forward in leaps and bounds, its traditional arts, specifically music and dance have shown a commensurate progress.

Joget

Wah Bulan

Union of Myanmar

Myanmar, once called Burma is Asia’s unsung destination, with a natural environment still covered in many areas by rainforests, while rice paddies dominate much of the remainder. It is the only country in Southeast Asia with snowcapped mountains. Myanmar is also one of the most isolated and exotic nations in the region that offers rich cultural traditions that have developed with limited outside contact

Bagan is one of the most famous archeological sites in Asia while Mandalay is the center of Myanmar’s traditional arts and crafts.

Myanmar has 135 ethnic groups with their own dialects, colorful costumes, traditions and festivals offering a unique variety of dance, drama and puppetry. The simple hospitality of the Myanmar people is legendary in the world.

Repertoire

I. Realms of Fire. Exotic, diverse, mystical. Composition, arrangement and musical collage by Jethro Joaquin

II. People’s Republic of China
Dun Huang. Dun Huang dance originated in the North West China , along the ancient Silk Road , an area known for its rich collection of Buddhist art and culture. The Buddhist sculptures and paintings found in the walls of caves were later translated into a form of dance known as Dun Huang dance. Dun Huang dances manifest the essence of Buddhism through the movements of the dancers.
In this piece, two lovely angels dance in ecstasy on a bright moonlit night, tracing graceful patterns in the air with two colorful ribbons.

III. The Royal Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam
Aduk-Aduk. This is a ceremonial dance performed by the Kedayan people during holidays, especially at the end of the harvest season. Dancers wear traditional warrior’s attire and dance to the beat of silat, a Malay martial art. This dance is accompanied by percussion instruments. Male dancers hold discarded coconut shells to emphasize strength, prowess and technique. It also announces the start of a royal wedding celebration.

Kipas-Kipas. With a peculiar sway, Brunei maidens move using colorful fans and bright flimsy scarves.
Wedding Dance

IV. Malaysia

Joget. This is possibly Malaysia’s most popular traditional dance. It is performed at cultural festivals, wedding celebrations and other social functions. It is performed by couples who combine fast hand and leg movements, a lively rendition to a fast upbeat tempo which is greatly enjoyed by the young and old. It is usually performed during cultural celebrations and Malay weddings.

Wah Bulan. Fabulously decorated kites are flown on windy days to celebrate a festival in Malaysian kampongs or villages. Excited flyers are joined by maidens who, in dance, fly like kites using wide-colorful scarves.

V. India

Mayamalava Gowlai. Dance in praise of Lord Muruga.

VI. Japan

Yagibushi. The Yagibushi is a popular folk song and dance performed at matsuri in Gunma and Tochigi, Japan in celebration of its summer festival. It is performed by strong young men with colorful umbrellas. The dance is very energetic and ends with everyone throwing their hats in the air.

Sakura. Japan’s national flower, the Sakura is the object of admiration by three demure maidens dressed in traditional kimono with matching umbrellas and fans.

VII. Laos People’s Democratic Republic

Dok Boua Thong. One of the popular Laotian dances performed by maidens dressed in their most exotic costumes to give honor to Laos’ colorful flower.

VIII. Republic of Indonesia

Kuda Kepang. The Kuda Kepang is a dance form from Johor. It is performed by dancers who are seated astride a two dimensional ‘horse’ made of hide or pleated rattan. The dancers re-enact the early Islamic battles in enthusiastic gestures and vigorous action. This dance drama is performed in accompaniment to a rich and exotic rendition of traditional music played with indigenous instruments such as gongs, tambourines and angklungs.

Saman. The Dance of a thousand hands, in this piece, the performers sit on the floor and chant as they use their heads and hands in precise and meaningful movement. From the Gayo highlands of Aceh on the island of Sumatra, the Saman dance was originally performed to celebrate noble occasions, as well as to celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad. It is an electrifying blend of dance and music, truly a feast for the eyes.

INTERMISSION

IX. Royal Kingdom of Cambodia

Apsara. Probably the most fascinating of all stories of Angkor Wat is the churning of the sea of milk. The gods worked together to generate the elixir of life. Gods and demons compete in a cosmic tug-of-war using a giant serpent as a rope. Vishnu, in the form of a turtle offers his back as pit for the churning. This continues for a thousand years and in the process, the fishes and the crocodiles are cut into pieces. One of the side effects of the churning is the creation of Angkor angels. Thousands of beautiful female deities called Apsara. Like angels, they lived in the sky, floating gracefully between the water and the sky. Feasting on the celestial elixir, they change their shape at will and often visit mortals.

X. People’s Democratic Republic of Korea

Bu Chae Chum. The most popular of all Korean dances, wide fans are transformed through the movement of the artists into butterflies and flowers which characterize the gentle Korea character.

Arirang. Male dancers depicting the rustic yet joyful festivals of Korea interpret Korea’s popular song.

XI. Union of Myanmar
Nabathwa. No other Myanmar dance brings out the skill and dexterity of a dancer. One wonders how two ladies in a very tight skit and a long tail can bend and twist throughout the dance without tripping over or losing a beat. Their unusual dance interpretation attracts a suitor who performs with them in a courtship dance.

XII. Republic of Singapore

Singapura Bandaraya. A mini-suite of dances highlighting the multi-racial, multi-layered Singapore, touching on the vibrancy of each ethnic group, colorful activities and the merry mix of people.

XIII. Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Co Gai Non Thon. A bountiful rice harvest brings maidens out into a celebration. Dainty but measured movements create a wholesome picture of a bucolic Viet Nam village.

XIV. Republic of the Philippines

Pandanggo sa Ilaw / Oasioas. Two dances using lights, one from Mindoro island where dancers balance oil lamps on their heads and on their palms, while the other from Pangasinan uses lamps wrapped in colorful scarves to provide beacon for fishermen coming from the sea.

XV. Royal Kingdom of Thailand

Thai Mix. During the feast of Loi Grathong, flower lanterns are floated in a river to supplicate and pray to the gods. Farmers join in with spirited drum dance while court dancers confined in exotic royal courts perform sophisticated dance steps to please Thailand’s many gods including the Buddha himself.

XVI. United States of America & New Zealand

Halau Hula O Kawaili ula. The mele Moananuikelehula talks of Maui, the demi God tries to use his hook to fish up the islands and join them together. He does not succeed and today the fish continue to be the symbol of balance, of life between the land and the ocean.

Haka/Wiri-wiri. “Ha” means breath. “Ka” means on fire or fiery words. To the Maoris, the ugliest and most fearsome looking man is considered the most attractive. To achieve this look, they poke holes into their tongue and eyes. The dance is usually performed by warriors to put fear in the hearts of enemies.

Poi Dance. Poi is the Maori word for ball on a cord. This dance was originally used by Maori women for keeping their hands flexible for weaving and by the men for strength and coordination required during battle. In this version, the “terira”, poi balls spins in colorful notions luminated to form Maori patterns as if painted by the famous glow worms of the islands. XVII. Finale. One people, one region, one peaceful world.

Republic of the Philippines

An archipelago of 7,107 islands, the Philippines lies southeast of mainland Asia and is replete with sun-drenched and beautiful beaches, towering volcanic peaks, a wide variety of flora and fauna and magnificent landscapes.

The islands have always presented a physical barrier to the country’s formation of one homogenous culture. To the north and mid-section of the country lie traditions much influenced by European ideas while at the southern tip are to be found expressions that borrow heavily from the Islamic countries that lie near it. In the highlands, culture has free from the touch of the outside world due to their isolation. This variety is much evident in the county’s art.

Indeed, the Philippines has been a melting pot of different cultures for many centuries, and any comprehensive presentation of the country’s dances will inevitably be a cross-sectional picture of this diversity.

Singapore

From its beginnings as an island fishermen called Temasek, Singapore has grown into a free trading port under British rule into the independent, bustling commercial and industrial center of today.

It is a vibrant multi-cultural, city-state where tradition and modernity, East and West meet and mingle. Singapore is the leading financial and commercial hub of the ASEAN region.

The country has a population of over three million, made up of Chinese, Malayans, Pakistanis, Indians, Eurasians and Europeans. Each ethnic group, though part of the greater whole has managed to retain its own traditional culture. It is no wonder that traditional dances of the country retain their distinct identities as Chinese, Malay or Indian.

Singapura Bandaraya

Royal Kingdom of Thailand

Thailand is the kingdom of saffron-robed monks, temple spires and Buddhas of solid gold. Rich and varied natural scenery ranges from northern misty mountains and jungles, through emerald rice fields in the central plains, to southern palm-fringed beaches and lush tropical islands.

of performance art from the khon or the masked pantomime, the nang or shadow puppet theatre to the more regional dances such as therd theung or dance of the long drums and rabam performed by court dancers have been continually developed. Dancers are selected according to physique with the most handsome tapped to play Rama, the most beautiful Sita, and the squat Hanuman or the monkey in the Ramayana epic. Retained in all these dances, however are the peculiarity stylized movements and positions of the hands and feet that make Thai dance very distinctive.

In it, traditional arts such as theatre and within its genre, dance, are cultivated by the court and the public. Thai song, dance and music are intricate and graceful. Thus, several forms

Thai Mix

Socialist Republic of Vietnam

From ancient temples and pagodas to French colonial courtyards, street markets, rice fields to unspoiled beaches, Viet Nam is a beautiful country covering a 2,000 kilometer long strip along the South China Sea that include river deltas, cool upland mountains, untouched coastal stretches and thriving cities.

In Viet Nam there lives 54 ethnic groups in which the Kinh people (Viets) have the biggest population and are found in the seacoast delta. Their art has developed abundantly and diversely. The Viets are famous for their architectural arts shown by the pagodas, temples as well as stone and wood sculptures that abound in the villages of the country. Indeed, it is in the small villages where most outstanding artistic products such as music, literature, painting, theatre and dancing are found.

Co Gai Non Thon

People’s Republic of China

With a land area of 9.6 million square kilometers and a population of 1.2 billion people, the People’s Republic of China is the third largest country in the world in terms of area and the largest in terms of population. Through its numerous ethnic groups, Chinese dance has flourished for over five thousand years. Until the Han dynasty (206B.C. A.D. 220), Chinese dances were generally performed in community events and celebrations. With the onset of the Han period, a musical entertainment court was established for the imperial family.

Poetry, music and dance bloomed in the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-907) and it was this period which came to be regarded as the golden age for dance in ancient China. Techniques that were developed in the past dynasties were inherited and further developed such as Zhou, Qin, Han, Wei, Jin and Nanbei. In the early Tang period, Buddhism was introduced to China, and because trade and social relationships with other countries rapidly expanded, dances were influenced by those of other countries such as India, Rome, Persia, Korea, Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam and other Central Asian countries.

Dun Huang

India

India… a land for all seasons. The subcontinent of India lies in South Asia, between Pakistan and Nepal. To the north it is bordered by the world’s highest mountain chain, where the foothill valleys cover the northernmost of the country’s 26 states. Further south, plateaus, tropical rain forests and sandy deserts are bordered by palmfringed beaches. Side by side with the county’s staggering topographical variations is its cultural diversity, the result of the coexistence of a number of religious as well as local traditions. Thus the towering temples of south India, easily identifiable by their sculptured surface, are associated with a great many crafts and performing arts of the region.

In India, dance and music pervade all aspects of life and bring color, joy and gaiety to their festivals and ceremonies. Most Indian dances take their themes from India’s rich mythology and folk legends. Hindu gods and goddesses such as Vishnu and Laksmi, Rama and Sita, Krishna and Radha are depicted. Each dance form also draws inspiration from stories depicting the life, ethics, and beliefs of the Indian people. Thus, those who are attracted to India will find the idiom of dance the best introduction to India’s rich ethos and traditions.

Mayamalava Gowlai

Japan
Japan is an island nation located off the east coast of the Asian continent on the Western rim of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire. The archipelago of about 7,000 islands runs almost 3,000 km northeast to southwest. Only about 16% of the land is fertile, the rest being mostly forest covered mountains. It suffers from frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Yagibushi

For many people, the mention of Japan conjures up images of weird masks and extravagantly made-up actors twirling red umbrellas on a stage and elegant, kimono-clad ladies demurely pouring cups of tea in tranquil cherryblossomed temples. The traditional arts in Japan are exactly that- traditional. There is a tremendous diversity in traditional Japanese dance, from court (s.a. Gagaku/ Bagaku) and religious dance (s.a. Kagura) to the ritualistic No dance drama and theatrical Kabuki dance,

Sakura

People’s Democratic Republic of Korea

With over 3000 islands, the country has its own peninsula on the Northeastern section of the Asian continent where its waters are joined by the Westernmost part of the Pacific. The Korean peninsula shares its northern border with China and Russia. As with most other countries, the physical make up of Korea as well as its relationship with neighboring countries has played a great part in determining the country’s national identity. This in turn is reflected in all aspects of the people’s culture. The Korean people have developed a peace loving yet dynamic character that has created a competitive yet vibrant, optimistic yet sentimental culture. One of the richest aspects of Korean culture is its legacy of music and dance. Korean people have always enjoyed dancing and singing, the joy of that permeates the life of Korea. Whenever people gather, they bring exciting dances and songs with them. Even onlookers, from a distance, start to swing their shoulders in time to the music.

Bu Chae Chum

Halau Hula O Kawaili ula

United States of America

The State of Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States of America in 1959. The archipelagic state is situated in the North Pacific Ocean, 2,300 miles (3,700 km) from the mainland. In the 19th century, Hawai’i was also known as the Sandwich Islands.

Hawaiian Dance comes from the hearts and souls of the Hawaiian people. They are an expression of the inner thoughts & emotions, historical & political story-telling or the exploits of the many goddesses and gods which are everywhere throughout the Islands of Hawaii. Whatever the form or contents of the piece, the performer does it with the utmost respect, love, sincerity and compassion for all involved…the Hawaiian people call this “Aloha Spirit”. It is a way of life and lived not only in dance but everyday.

New Zealand is a country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean comprised of two large islands (the North Island and the South Island) and numerous smaller islands. In Māori, New Zealand has come to be known as Aotearoa, which is usually translated into English as The Land of the Long White Cloud. New Zealand is notable for its geographic isolation, being separated from Australia to the northwest by the Tasman Sea. Its closest neighbours to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga.

The population is mostly of European descent, with the indigenous Māori being the largest minority. Polynesian and Asian peoples are also significant minorities, especially in the cities.

Performers
Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group
CHERRY YLANAN
MARCIANO VIRI
CHRISTINE CAROL SINGSON
RAUL NEPOMUCENO JR.
EMELITA MEDINA
SERGIO ANLOCOTAN JR.
CANDY FRIAS
RONALDO MENDOZA
JOANA PATRICK USANA
JHUNNARD JHORDAN CRUZ
JOY PICAR USANA
OMAR AGUILAR
DIANE ANGELIC PIDO
ALVIN CANO
RECHELLE SIGNO
LYLE EYMARD VILLAHERMOSA
ABIGAIL CALMA
MICHAEL BAYANI
SHEENA LOU TESALONA
RONALD ASUNCION
ARMIE ZAMORA
DANDEL ESPENA
MILA REYNA RIVERA
AMANTE VILLACORTA

MARICAR DACUNO
GENER ESTINOR
JONATHAN DOMINGO
JOHN LUIGI MILLAMINA
PERCIVAL CAREL
ROQUE LACIBAL
JASON VILLACORTA
DULCE IMELDA AMOR DE GUZMAN
HENRY DELA CRUZ
LOLOU ROSE YARANON
ANGEL ELEAZER BRAVO
GLORINER MIA
EVERLY GRACE ASPI
CHRISTIAN JHONE ESTRELLA
ALLAN CHRISTOPHER MANGAHAS
ISRAEL GARCIA

TRAINEES
JESSIELYN TIABA
KRELL ALPHONSUS BENDIJO
JOHNA BAUTISTA
ROD VALENCIA
CHRISTINE BARRIOS
ERWIN ABANILLA
JOY BULURAN
JOMAR VEGA
ELIZA AGABIN
KENNETH CHRISTOPHER TORRES
YOSHIMI KATO

REYNALDO PADAILAP
JUNKO KATO
KAORI MAYURAMA
MIKU ATSUKA
JOGIE LYN ROSIMA

BATANG ROFG
MA. PATRICIA VELASCO
JOSE ROEL OGA
KRISTINA MARIE PARATO
LUKE ANTHONY SINGSON
SHIELA MAE DELALAMON
RAFAEL TISMO
JUBELYN ALCANTARA
MARK ROY MAGALING
PAULA MARGARET FERRERAS
JAYTOR PANGANIBAN
CHRISTINE LAURA SINGSON
CLARK TOLENTINO
LHYRA JANE RAMOS
DOMINIC LUDOVICE
KYLE LOUISE CABANAG
FRANKLYN LOBOS
BAMBI FERRERAS
ABEL CAPANGPANGAN
SAM JAZMINE ARELLANO
DANIEL BEGINO
RUZELLE URGELLES

BATANG ROFG

CHRISTIAN JAY BEGINO
LYLE BENI URGELLES
NICOLE JUSTIN BALEN
MARY ROSE PLAZA
JENNYLYN CARREON
ANGEL BAUTISTA
GINALYN TISMO
MARIE ANTOINETTE REBANAL
SHAME JEREMY ARELLANO
JOLINA YAMBONG
JHANIEL REPALDA

Sindaw Philippines Performing Arts Guild
RANDY GUEVARRA, Artistic Director
KARLO A. SARQUE
CHERRY HERNANDEZ
BENJAMIN O. BAYLE
DIANE B. BULANTE
LORETO GAPAS
ROXANE ANGELES
JOHN RYAN P. CASICA
ERIZZA CURBANO
OLIVER M. ROXAS
ANA RUTH C. CELESTRA
EMIL JASPER A. TUAZON
REYCHELL V. PINEDA
JOHN DAVE NUÑEZ
CHRISTINE MENDOZA
LEONARD CHRISTOPHER BERNARDO
JACQUELINE S. MEDINA
BENEDICT BERNARDO
MADEL FERNANDEZ
JOHN N. BORNILLA
JEMARIZ SUBAN
JONATHAN FERNANDO
CHRISTINE MARGARET B. BALLON

Centro Escolar University Folk Dance Troupe
DR. CLAIRE Z. MANALO, VP for Student Affairs
DR. LORETO PANGANIBAN, Coordinator

DULCE IMELDA AMOR DE GUZMAN
HENRY DELA CRUZ
LOLOU ROSE YARANON
ANGEL ELEAZER BRAVO
GLORINER MIA
KENNETH CHRISTOPHER TORRES
EVERLY GRACE ASPI
ROQUE LACIBAL
DIANE ANGELIC PIDO
ABIGAIL CALMA

Acknowledgements
SPONSORS
Mayor Wenceslao “Peewee” Trinidad
City of Pasay
Ms. Elvie Go

EMBASSIES
Brunei Darussalam
India
Japan
Laos People’s Democratic Republic
Malaysia
New Zealand
People’s Republic of China
Republic of Indonesia
Republic of Korea
Republic of Singapore
Royal Kingdom of Cambodia
Royal Kingdom of Thailand
Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
Union of Myanmar
United States of America

INSTITUTIONS
Cultural Center of the Philippines
Philippine Ballet Theatre
Hwa Yi
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Philippine Cultural Dance Troupe
Teachers and Principals of Batang ROFG

INDIVIDUALS
Mr. Gener Caringal
Mr. Jhunnard Jhordan Cruz
Ms. Myrna Verecio
Mr. Bong Cruz
Mr. Gunther Deichmann
Mr. Hermes Singson
Mr. Jethro Joaquin
Ms. Elisa Leullaba
Ms. Michiko Yamashita
Ms. Kanami Namiki
Mr. Randy Guevarra
Dr. Larry Gabao
Asia and the Pacific: Realms of Fire
Production Staff
MARCIANO VIRI
CHERRY YLANAN
RAUL NEPOMUCENO JR.
Dance Directors

JETHRO JOAQUIN
Composer and Music Arranger

DENNIS JULIO Y. TAN,
PATDAT-OISTAT
Stylist, Artistic and Production Design Consultant

RICARDO G. CRUZ,
PATDAT-OISTAT
Set Designer

SANTOS PEROCHO JR.,
PATDAT-OISTAT
Lighting Designer and Technical Director

HERMES SINGSON,
Dream Time
Photographer

HORACIO CABANGON, JR.
Audio-Visual Presentation Director & Editor

SANDRA VICTORIA M. JAVIER
Graphic Designer & AVP Researcher

FRANK I. DEPAKAKIBO
Production and Head Stage Manager

DOMINIQUE GARDE-TORRES
Copy Editor

ERLINDA ARCEGA,
PATDAT-OISTAT
Technical Director for Sets

DANILO VILLANUEVA,
PATDAT-OISTAT
Assistant to the Lighting Designer

RODULFO O. SANCHEZ
Deputy Stage Manager

RAUL BONG CRUZ
Assistant Stylist

DANILO SORIA
AVP Technical Coordinator

EMELITA OBUSAN-MEDINA
ALFENIANO FRANCO
KRELL ALPHONSUS BENDIJO
Costume Coordinators

TEODORO RAMIREZ JR.
BENJIE BITOON
ROMEO MEDINA
Props Men

MARIETTA CABISUDO
FE BAYANI
REYNALDO AVENDANO
Food Coordinators

VOLTAIRE ALIX
EDGAR LAGANAS
JAIME SISON
Transportation

CCP CULTURAL PROMOTIONS
Documentation

Ramon Obusan Folkloric Foundation

SONJA OBUSAN-MENOR
IRIS OBUSAN-ISLA
Administrators

DULCE A. OBUSAN
Executive Director

Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group

RAMON A. OBUSANT
Artistic Director

MARCIANO VIRI
CHERRY YLANAN
RAUL NEPOMUCENO JR.
Dance Directors

ORLANDO OCAMPO
Music Director

EMELITA OBUSAN-MEDINA
Costume Custodian

SERGIO ANLOCOTAN JR.
Transportation Coordinator

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