Academic journal article Trames

Indigenous Dances of Aetas

Academic journal article Trames

Indigenous Dances of Aetas

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The things that people do in their everyday life which have been passed on from generation to generation form part of history. These daily activities are part of the cultural traits of a given group of people. It is said that among the great sources of the country's cultural tradition are the folk and ethnic dances. Throughout history, dances have been performed to serve various purposes that different groups of people have such as to pay respect or show reverence to their ancestors and to celebrate significant moments in their lives as a community. In the Philippines, Filipino artists and scholars use dances in their attempt to rediscover, redefine, and document culture and history.

This paper presents the results of the researchers' attempt to explore, describe, document, and notate the dances of the Aeta communities that form part of the research locale. In exploring the said communities' native dances, the study aimed to rediscover the preserved cultural practices of the Aetas that form part of the rich Philippine culture and history and eventually promote the preservation of such practices in the hope of: 1) obtaining due recognition of the Aeta culture as a significant part of Pampanga's history; 2) coming up with a comprehensive depiction of the local heritage and traditions to which the emerging development of the province is rooted; 3) recognizing and spreading traditional Aeta dances that remain to be performed in Pampanga, and 4) popularizing Aeta dances through notating them and teaching them to the students, most especially to dance groups so these dances become part of their repertoire. Ultimately, the researchers aimed to contribute to the preservation and passing on of this native dances that depict the ceremonies, mimicry of the surrounding nature, environment and animal movements, their life cycle, and other facets of Aeta culture to the generations to come.

According to Encyclopedia of American Studies (2010), dances reflect the society in which they exist. Dances, specifically folk and tribal dances, tell stories about the village, about culture, or the way of life of every group of individuals.

There are different dances in different communities which tell stories that define the culture of the place. Many dances have been passed on for centuries from generation to generation and they are just as important to indigenous people of today as they were when they were initially performed.

Reed (2007) describes dancing as a form of amusement among the Aetas which serves as an outlet for their naturally enthusiastic spirit. However, to everybody in the tribe, dancing is not generally indulged, but two or three in every tribe are especially skilled at it. There are several Aeta dances which are considered mimetic dances, and they indeed have mimicking or special Aeta character, such as the monkey dance, the bee dance, the lover's dance, and the battle dance. Many of these dances prove to have other purposes aside from amusements, which according to Fabian (2010), among which is the anituan, is a perfect example of an Aeta dance that uses the native guitar known as givaran bakil or gitaha as musical accompaniment. Anituan is a kind of group healing routine in which sick people sit in a line on the ground, with their heads and shoulders is covered by a long red cloth which represents the ailment being cured. During the manganito seance Aetas perform the talipe as their dancing style. Talipe is a dance where a woman acts as a medium. The woman begins to perform at the center of the house where the patient is placed in front of his or her relatives for clearing. Aetas believe that dancing makes possible for one to be in contact with caring spirits. Other known Aeta dances are the pinapanilan which is a re-enactment of bee hunting, the sekuting which is a mock battle dance performed by two men with sticks and the binabayani which is a war dance documented among the Baluga but in a different version that portrays the story of a working woman in the fields who has been kidnapped by an Aeta (Shimizu 1989). …

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