May 06, 2015

Bunga Arts Link: Igal Dancing for Different Cultures

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  • Igal workshop 2015 poster A3


    Also known as the dance of the Sama people, Igal is a traditional dance that originated from the islands of the maritime Southeast Asia. This form of ethnic dance is presented in different variations in Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia and Cambodia.  In the Philippines, it is recognized as one of today’s most important cultural performance due to its distinct movements and postures.

    The Igal dance is composed of movements such as bended poses and swift flicks by the fingers, wrists and arms but still maintains a fluid and unique tempo throughout the performance. The ethnic groups within the Sama-Bajau practice the performance of Igal in different tribal festivities such as weddings and the celebration of a bountiful harvest. Performances usually present a story and are depicted not only through their movements but as well as the dancer’s facial expression and costume.

    This extremely influential dance has not only shown its popularity within the Filipino community but as well as that of the Japanese. The University of the Philippines’ Asian Center and the Bunga Arts Link has been collaborating for three years now in spreading the beauty of ethnic dance to the modern community with their annual Igal Dance Workshop, which is for free. The Igal movements taught by the instructors of the workshop were acquired and learned from different tribal Igal masters. Their project has not only reached locals but as well as the Japanese community. Throughout the years, more and more Japanese nationals have participated in the workshop. Even those who have already left the Philippines still continues to practice Igal in Japan for it truly is a beautiful form of art.

    This summer’s Igal workshop has already started but don’t fret! You may still attend and join the event! It will be held every Saturday for the month of May from 4:00 to 6:00pm at Bulwagang Sala’am, Romulo Hall in UP Diliman. The workshop recital will be on the 29th of May. There’s no better way of learning more about the art of ethnic dance other than experiencing the beauty of Igal.


    Article by Vikki Daet

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