The Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group from the Philippines during their performance at Katara Drama Theatre on Sunday.
By Raynald C Rivera | The Peninsula
Doha: Over a dozen dances showcasing the richness and diversity of ethno-linguistic groups of the Philippines mesmerised the audience as Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group (ROFG) took the Katara Drama Theatre stage on Sunday.
In their colourful traditional costumes, the troupe founded by the late National Artist of the Philippines, Ramon A. Obusan presented a medley of dances closest to their original form which were a result of years of extensive research and documentation by the prominent Filipino dancer and choreographer.
“Indayog ng Pilipinas: A Showcase of Philippine Folkloric Dances” was presented by the Philippine Embassy in cooperation with the Cultural Village Foundation – Katara.
“The word ‘Indayog’ in Filipino language connotes dancing which we have in store for you tonight, but the dances that will be performed tonight are no ordinary ethnic dances from my country because these dances tell stories from different provinces and regions in the Philippines that have been passed on from one generation to another,” Alan L Timbayan, Ambassador of the Philippines to the State of Qatar, told the audience.
The repertoire of 45-minute show focused on dances of Mindanao, whose dances have Chinese and Arab influences, and rural fiesta folk dances characterized by celebratory merrymaking in villages.
“The Philippine geographic makeup being an archipelago of 7,107 islands in Southeast Asia has strongly contributed to the evolution of the diversity in ethnic dances that are unique for each region and province in the country,” said Timbayan.
The dances from Mindanao which were performed included Kariala, Sagayan, Kinakulangan, Pindulas, Pangalay sa Tepoh, Kuntao, Magigal, Asik and Singkil, while rural fiesta dances comprised Pandanggo Wasiwas, Maglalatik, Binasuan and Tinikling. The well-applauded show concluded with the troupe singing Leron Leron Sinta and Maraming Salamat.
All the dance items were performed along with live music played using authentic percussion and stringed instruments.
The ambassador expressed gratitude to the Cultural Village Foundation – Katara for supporting the Philippine Embassy initiative as well as to the Philippines’s National Commission for Culture and the Arts for making the visit of ROFG to Doha possible.
As part of their Doha visit, the troupe yesterday held a free dance workshop at Katara on ‘Basic and Fundamentals of Philippine Folk Dance” to Filipino dance enthusiasts.
One of the leading resident dance companies of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the group founded in 1972 has been preserving and perpetuating Philippine traditions focusing on music and dance.
Boasting over a thousand performances in the Philippines and abroad, the group has carved its own niche in the world of dance as forerunner of Philippine folk dance performed closest to the original. For the past decades, it has documented and performed the rituals of more than 50 ethno-linguistic groups in the Philippines.
It has highlighted the authenticity of the movements and costumes of Filipino ethnic groups through its outstanding full-length dance works.