DANCE ORIGIN: Philippines GENRE: Folkloric ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER: Rudi C. Soriano COSTUME DIRECTOR: Warren Manuntag First Appearance in SF EDF: 1994 Website:www.likha.org
LIKHA, whose name in the Tagalog language means
“creation,” was established in 1992 by a collective of twelve
individuals who came together to celebrate Philippine dance and culture.
The company now boasts an active membership of over
forty-five performers under the artistic direction of Rudi Soriano,
former soloist with the acclaimed Bayanihan Philippine Dance
Company. LIKHA’s mission is to propagate Philippine folk
traditions by practicing and educating community members and diverse audiences about Philippine culture through music and
TITLE: Semba DANCERS: Eric Abad, Kevin Alicbusan, Noel Asiatico, Liza Atendido,
Ceska Baula, Raisa Baula, Raymond Centeno, Beverly Cruz, Tina Cruz, Cassie
Dominguez, Kyla Gerbacio, Vincent Hutalla, Chariss ilarina, Laurie
Laxa, Kristin Pahati, Michael Palad, Pehnee Poblete, Maria Rios, Marie
Oliveros-Reyes, Paulino Tamayo, Mike Versoza MUSICIANS: Ed Cruz (kulintang), RP
Cuenco (gong), Ledge David (gong), John Laxa (kulintang kayo), Omar
Pahati (drum), Jayden Poblete (babandil), Richard Rios (gong), Angelo
Artistic director Rudi Soriano travels every other year
with a research team to the Philippines to study indigenous dance, ritual, and
tradition—to give his American-born dancers firsthand experience with their
heritage and culture. For the 2012 Festival, LIKHA presents dances learned in May 2007 from
Batak natives on the island of Palawan in the southeast Philippines.
This presentation is titled Semba, and it was created and choreographed by Rudi
Soriano and Jay Loyola. Semba is a stately invocation, reflecting a profound
reverence and connection with the natural world. The Batak are one of the
Philippine’s ancient tribes, and for thousands of years, they have lived deep
in the Philippine forest as nomadic hunters, fishermen, and farmers. They keep
their distance from the modern world, and although their forest home has
decreased alarmingly in recent years, they continue to live a nomadic way of
life. As Batak nomadic groups move from place to place, they dance for the local spirits. They dance to ask permission or
approval to inhabit a location, and for guidance before fishing, hunting, or
planting. If the spirits don’t answer with a sign—a wind, an animal cry—the
dance is repeated.
When the Batak perform this ceremony, they dance in specific and diverse
locations in nature. In this choreography, several dances are incorporated into one. Here, three priestesses
act as mediators between the community and the spirits. Some
dancers listen and some look up to the sky, searching for signs
that their dance has been acknowledged. In the Philippines today,
Batak natives wear western clothing, but men of previous
generations wore a loincloth “g-string” made of the bark of a tree.
They also wore a belt with a bamboo basket or pouch to carry
their beetle nut. Women were topless, and they wore skirts with a colored wrap, and adorned themselves with shell and wooden necklaces.
When this piece was performed in 2008, at the 30th annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, the village chief of
the Batak tribe traveled across the Pacific to perform Semba
on stage with LIKHA. When he returned to his community, he
wrote a song about his extraordinary experience of flying
halfway around the world to share his traditions, and astounded
the Batak children with a video of the performance,
encouraging them to maintain their heritage and pride in their
TITLE:Gampang DANCERS:Eric Abad, Liza Allen, Noel Asiatico, Liza Atendido, Raisa Baula, Erin Bolick, Ron Cabarloc, Lolita Castillo, Catherine Centeno, Raymond Centeno, Beverly Cruz, Janice Cruz, Tina Cruz, Manuel De Vera Jr., Cassie Dominguez, Maurice Fortner, Vincent Hutalla, Chariss Ilarina, Laurie Laxa, Cynthia Lucero, Elsa Manlangit, Marie Oliveros, Kristin Pahati, Michael Palad, Pehnee Poblete, Maria Rios, Paulino Tamayo, Jenny Young, Martina Zabala, Sunshine Zabala MUSICIANS:
Kevin Alicbusan (agong), Ed Cruz (kulintang) RP Cuenco (durugan), Arledge David (agong), Omar Pahati (tambol), Richard Rios (agong), Angelo Salumbides (durugan & sigitan)
This performance, called Gampang, depicts a community ritual for good health, harmonious living, and bountiful harvest. LIKHA brings this dance from the indigenous Subanen communities of Mandih, Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte, Mindanao Island, Philippines. Subanen ceremonies bridge the gap between two realms, mortal and supernatural. The Subanen are also animists who believe in spirits in nature. The name Subanen comes from suba (river). The Subanen settle inland, near rivers and mountain streams, where they farm on terraced hillsides. Gampang is performed by the riverside. Three wooden posts of differing heights hold offerings to the spirits of uncooked rice, chicken or pork, and an egg. The tallest post is for higher spirits, the shorter ones for the lower. A timuway (leader) dances with folded palm leaves, and then dips the leaves in the stream: this is a protective blessing before the community sets out to work in the fields. Assistants follow the timuway, burning incense and sounding porcelain bowls with sticks of fragrant wood. Female dancers whisk dried palm leaves (siosay). The men strike bamboo poles in rhythmic cadence as the women nimbly thread their steps between them. Each dance, offering, sound, and smell is designed to please the spirits, to attract their spiritual presence into the rite. Five musicians join the performance with Subanen musical instruments: a big brass gong (agong); a set of eight small brass gongs of graduated size (kulintang); a hollow log or bamboo tube (durugan); a hollow bamboo with few slits and plucked strings (sigitan); and the native drum (tambol).
In May of 2009, choreographer Rudi C. Soriano went to the village of Mandih, Sindangan Zamboanga del Norte Philippines to research Subanen dance and ritual. Rudi learned the dance and ritual from Cristina Andus, Audie Soledad, Anthony & Malina Gallemit, Arturo Lamdag, and Ian Dalman.
Titles: Banga, Salip GENRE: Kalinga Dancers: Liza Atendido, Raisa Baula, Lolita Castillo, Beverly Cruz, Jennifer Cruz, Tina Cruz, Vicent Hutalla, Chariss Ilarina, Laurie Laxa, Cynthia Lucero, Kristin Pahati, Mae Reyes, Maria Rios, Tina Zabala Musicians: Kevin Alicbusan, Edward Cruz, Manuel De Vera, Jr., John Laxa, Omar Pahati, Michale Palad, Richard Rios, Angelo Salumbides, Paulino Tamayo
LIKHA presents two dances from the Kalinga tribe of Northern Luzon, Philippines.
Banga (meaning "pot") shows the dexterity of the Kalinga women as they balance earthenware pots on their heads. They walk along mountain paths to fetch water for a wedding feast, and they meet other women carrying firewood and baskets of fruits, fish, and meat.
In Salip, a Kalinga bride-to-be balances a stack of pots in a courtship dance. With movements reminiscent of a rooster and hen, the couple gestures to each other in love, and the woman surrenders her skirt (a kain or tapis) to the man. These dances are often seen during the Canao Festival, a celebration of good harvest, birth, and wedding.
The women's skirt is hand woven in the distinctive reddish orange of the Kalinga, and hand-beaded with shells or buttons to make a distinct sound when walking. The women also adorn themselves with glass and amber beads. Before western influence, women were topless.
The Kalinga live in the Luzon Cordillera of the northern Philippines. They are known as the "Peacocks of the North" because of their elaborate and beautiful clothing. Historically, they marry only within their social groups and value group security over individual need. They also participate in peace pact trade alliances with other communities. They farm a variety of crops, raise livestock, and create beautiful basketry and pottery, along with wood and metal craftwork.
The musicians play the gansa, a handheld gong with a narrow rim, tuned to a specific note. (The number of gansa in a set is different for each Cordillera ethnic group.) The bamboo xylophone, called pattangok, rovides melody, chords, and a beat for the dance.
In 2007, Artistic Director Rudi C. Soriano traveled with a LIKHA research team to Lubuagan, Kalinga, Philippines to learn traditional dances from Cirilo Bawer, a Kalinga elder and educator. This piece was re-choreographed by Rudi Soriano for the ensemble.
TITLE: Semba GENRE: Batak ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Rudi C. Soriano DANCERS: Kevin Alicbusan, Liza Atendido, Raisa Baula, Beverly Cruz, Cristina Cruz, Cassie Dominguez, Christian Dominguez, Emmanuel Grueso Jr., Maria Honrada,Vincent Hutalla, Chariss Ilarina, Henry LaoShanna Mendiola, Kristin Nepacena, Michael Palad, Bryan Pangilinan, Alisa Quezon, Marie Reyes, Maria Rios, Camille Sibucao, Paulino Tamayo MUSICIANS: Ernesto Andrade, Edward Cruz, Gabriel Encarnacion, Adelbert Espino, Randy Miranda, Omar Pahati, Almar Reyes, Richard Rios, Veronica Williams INTERNATIONAL GUEST ARTISTS: Palawan Center for the Arts Foundation- Gilbert Belostrino, Vida Lledo, Narino Maniapao, Aimee Sombilon
For this performance, LIKHApresented dances learned from Batak natives on the island of Palawan in the southeast Philippines. This presentation, Semba, was a world premiere created and choreographed by Rudi Soriano and Dance Director Jay Loyola. Semba is a stately invocation, reflecting a profound reverence and connection with the natural world. The Batak are one of the Philippine's ancient tribes, and for thousands of years, they have lived deep in the Philippine forest as nomadic hunters, fishermen, and farmers. They keep their distance from the modern world, and although their forest home has decreased alarmingly in recent years, they continue to live a nomadic way of life. As Batak nomadic groups move from place to place, they dance for the local spirits. They dance to ask permission or approval to inhabit a location, and for guidance before fishing, hunting, or planting. If the spirits don't answer with a sign—a wind, an animal cry—the dance is repeated.
When the Batak perform this ceremony, they dance in specific and diverse locations in nature. In this choreography, several dances are incorporated into one. Here, three priestesses act as mediators between the community and the spirits. Some dancers listen and some look up to the sky, searching for signs that their dance has been acknowledged. In the Philippines today, Batak natives wear western clothing, but men of previous generations wore a loincloth made of the bark of a tree. They also wore a belt with a bamboo basket or pouch to carry their betel nut. Women were topless, and they wore skirts with a colored wrap, and adorned themselves with shell and wooden necklaces.
LIKHA is honored to include international guest artists from Palawan in today's performance—Narino Maniapao opens the piece with an invocation chant, and Aimee Sombilon, Vida Lledo, and Gilbert Belostrino join the LIKHA dancers and musicians. The artists are from the Palawan Dance Theater, part of the non-profit Palawan Center for the Arts Foundation in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines. This group is the premiere dance company in the province of Palawan, and it works to preserve traditional culture through music and dance. The dancers are from Palawan’s most widely distributed tribal group—Tagbanua.
TITLE:Kadayawan GENRE: Indigenous ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: Rudi C. Soriano CHOREOGRAPHERS: Jay Loyola and Rudi C. Soriano DANCERS: Liza Atendido, Valerie Baula, Victoria Baula, Ron Cabarloc, Lolita Castillo, Beverly Cruz, Christina Cruz, Jennifer Cruz, Manuel De Vera Jr., Cassandra Dominguez, Emmanuel Grueso Jr., Maria Honrada, Vincent Hutalla, Henry Lao, Laurie Laxa, Shanna Mendiola, Kristin Nepacena, Bryan Pangilinan, Jennifer Poblete, Maria Rios, Camille Sibucao, Paulino Tamayo MUSICIANS: Kevin Alicbusan (tangungo), Ed Cruz (tangungo), Herna Cruz (agong), Gabriel Encarnacion (babandil), Harrison Hapin (babandil), Randy Miranda (agong), Omar Pahati (dabakan), Angelo Salumbides (agong)
Davao, a region in Southeastern Mindanao, the southern most Philippine
island, is rich in agriculture and minerals and is known for its
cultural diversity. With a strong network of kinship, many of these
communities live in long houses scattered between the ocean towns of
Davao del Sur up to the foot of the towering mountain, Mount Apo. These
important indigenous tribes are known for their distinctive costumes and
ornamentation. In particular, the Bagobo, considered the most colorful
people of the Philippines, wear fabric woven of abaca
fiber, a kind of hemp grown abundantly in the Philippines, adorned with
embroidery, beads, and tiny brass bells that can be heard jingling. The
Mandaya and Mansaka are reputed for their vibrant tie-dyed textiles and
sophisticated embroidery techniques of symbols and motifs.
harvest time the ethnic groups around Mount Apo gather together to
celebrate a bountiful harvest through singing, dancing, offerings, and
merriment. Today the festival is celebrated with floats of fresh flowers
and fruit as the people parade through the streets dressed in tribal
costumes and jewelry. The musical instruments consist of the tangungo, a set of eight metal gongs hung on bamboo frames, and the dabakan, a single-headed drum.
Through a staged representation of indigenous dances of Davao, LIKHA Pilipino Folk Ensemble commemorates the diverse folklore traditions of these glorious tribes. The richly textured dance reflects their multi-faceted nature, while simultaneously calling to the Bagobo, Mandaya, Manobo, B’laan, and Mansaka tribes to celebrate their unity with thanksgiving festivities. The piece titled Kadayawan, is a native expression in the Dabawnon language meaning “anything of excellence that brings good fortune.”
TITLE OF PIECE: Idudu, Gangsa Pattung GENRE: Cordillera Mountain Dances CHOREOGRAPHERS: Ramon Obusan (Idudu) Rudi
Puttung) DANCERS: Charlene Abalos, Liza
Atendido, Raisa Baula,
Lizzette Billostas, Lolita Castillo, Beverly Cruz, Gary Cruz,
Herna Cruz, Tina
Cruz, Gary Cruz, Manuel De Vera Jr., Cassie Dominquez, Genee
Emmanuel Grueso Jr., Henry Lao, Laurie Laxa, Kristin Nepacena, Jaynee
Camille Sibucao, Paulino Tamayo MUSICIANS: Gangsa: Kevin
Alicbusan, Ed Cruz,
Christian Domintuez, Vincent Hutalla, Randy Miranda, Omar Pahati,
Pangilinan, Angelo Salumbides
Luzon, in the north, is the largest
island grouping in the Philippines and contains the biggest mountain range in the country, the
Cordilleras, home to many tribal groups. Common to all is the gong. Made of metal, brass, iron or
bronze, these circular flat instruments are ever-present during village rituals and festivals,
celebrating the harvest and other life cycle passages.
The rugged Abra region in the northwest
is home to the Tingguian tribe, who are mostly rice farmers and bamboo craft makers. The Kalinga tribe,
from the north central Kalinga region, thrives as a proud, strong people protective of their inherited
social traditions. Although contemporary dress is the norm, the traditional dress of loincloths for men
and long wrapped skirts for women are still used.
Likha Pilipino Folk Ensemble
celebrates the rich folkloric traditions of the tribes of the Philippines. The first
piece, entitled Idudu, is taken from a native
lullaby and portrays the interchanging roles of mothers and fathers in a Tingguian
family. A father is depicted plowing in a field as a mother nurtures the children, then
the mother takes over the remaining planting and sowing chores while the father cares
for the children. The second piece, Gangsa
Pattung is a thanksgiving dance from the Kalinga featuring a group of male gong
players interweaving in circular formations with female dancers.
TITLE OF PIECE: TODAK GENRE: Bogabos CHOREOGRAPHY: Ramon
Obusan DANCERS: Emmanuel Benisano, Beverly
Buhain, Ron Cabarloc,
Kirsi Cabatbat, Gary Cruz, Manny De Vera, Cassie
Dominguez, Genee Dominguez, Chariss Ilarina, Laurie
Laxa, Randy Miranda,
Kristin Nepacena, Bryan Pangilinan, Pebbles Remulla,
and Paulino Tamayo MUSICIANS: Ernie Andrade
(tangungo), Ed Cruz (tangungo),
Herna Cruz (gong), OJ Pahati (drum),
Fredeswinda Santos (gong), and
Emmanuel Grueso Jr. (babandil)
For the 2004 Festival, Likha presents dance and music derived from
aboriginal Bagobos people of the region Davao in the southeastern
the Philippines near Mindanao. These people live between the
ocean towns of
Davao del Sur up to the foot of the towering Mt. Apo.
This staged version
of a Bagogo harvest dance depicts in mime and symbolic
movement the time
cycle of rice growing, from planting to harvesting.
Todak refers to the bamboo poles topped by clappers
by the male dancers. Here the men clean the field in preparation
planting, while others jab the todak into the earth to make
holes for seed planting. Young
women throw the grain into the holes
and later return to cut the rice
stalks to place in their baskets.
Finally they thresh and pound the grain
for consumption. The set concludes
with men and woman dancing together in
celebration of a hard days work
represent the type of clothing made by the Bagobos people.
The fabric is
woven of abaca fiber, a kind of hemp grown
in the Philippines, and is adorned with embroidery and designs
with shell disks and beads. The musical instruments consist of the
a set of eight metal
gongs hung on bamboo frames, the kubing,
or jew's harp and drums.