By By Ramonfelipe A. Sarmiento
Pantomina Catanduanes (Part 2)
posted 26-Apr-2010  ·  
7,147 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

Key Findings

We present here the key findings of the study divided into the following sections:

1. Pantomina Catanduanes, the Dance

2. Pantomina Catanduanes, the Song

3. Pantomina Catanduanes, the History

First, we present the dance in its first level of existence – as a community folk dance where it can be a wedding dance for newlyweds or a dance of honor for special guests in celebrations. Then we present it in its second existence – as a formal dance for stage presentation and as a street dance. Interspersed within the discussion is the history of both the dance and the song.

2.1 Pantomina, the Dance

The claim that folkdances may be rural in origin, coming from among agricultural people (Encarta, 2000) could be true to Pantomina Catanduanes. Basic movements are imitations of the rooster and the hen in mating. However, that the opportunity to perform this dance has always been given to people with some kind of position in society does not make Pantomina Catanduanes attain the peasant-aristocracy division of 18th-century Europe (Encarta, 2000). People coming from low, middle or high income families may be asked to perform the dance provided the person has some kind of position in the community – political, educational, religious, economic, seniority.

The basic steps are simple and repetitive to allow the community folks to follow without much difficulty. The improvisations however, come in many forms- from simple to complex- depending on the creativity of the dancer. In fact some complex movements have been attributed to particular dancers who used the improvisation for the first time or showed much agility and skill in performing the steps. Comments like " Ay, ki Codor an!" referring to the cross side steps of the late Mayor Salvador Surtida while doing the binanog, or "Ki Tang Peles an" when dancers let the sapatilla (closed toe formal slippers) fly in the air, or spread a panuelo on the ground and entice the girl to step on it as a sign of capture, or "Ki congressman an," referring to the late Cong. Jose M. Alberto) when the male dancer ardently pursues the female with fast running cross steps, arms spread in V position, eyes focused like an eagle.

All throughout the region, the Pantomina is danced in two parts (Nolasco, 1994). Part one is the paso where the partners march to the dance floor in 2/4 time, according to Nolasco (1994). In Catanduanes, there are three kinds of pasos identified - paso uno is a step-close movement with the dancers either moving forward or backward while looking at each other from opposite sides of the dance floor; paso dos is made up of steps walking backward then taking a pivot turn to face center and scratching with a foot (like a rooster); in paso tres the dancers take three steps moving forward then take a step backward while shifting weight to the other foot. Different variations are made by the dancers according to their mood. The paso is also executed with a slight raising of the shoulders with every step. Arms freely swing on the sides or with the back of the hands lightly placed over the upper part of the buttocks.

The dancers begin in parallel lines and progress to a square formation to exchange partners, bowing in acknowledgement as they meet at the center, turning to face partners, bowing while moving to designated places. This reminds one of the age-old tradition of Filipinos before the coming of Spaniards – that of never turning one’s back to a person as a sign of respect.

Part two is the engaño which is danced with a valse (waltz) in ¾ time.

The couples are in two parallel lines – one line for the females and one line for the males. The men execute the binanog, (arms raised in inverted T position imitating a banog (hawk) in flight. The women simply waltz right and left while raising their right and left arms alternately in inverted T position, fists slightly closed. Nolasco (1994) reported women in the other parts of the region to perform a konday where there are graceful rotation movements at the wrist. The women of Catanduanes simply raise their arms at shoulder level alternately left and right while accentuating that movement with a slight raising of the shoulders.

People from the different municipalities of the province have come up with variations/improvisations of the engaño. The sigay (flirting movements of the rooster) layug ( flying to attract attention), sarisid ( courtship dance around the hen) and the bukod (pursuing) are all movements imitating the rooster and the hen in courtship.

These steps have as many variations as there are dancers. Male dancers from Viga would kneel on one knee in front of the woman and pursue her on his knees. The late Congressman Jose M. Alberto and wife Mrs. Rosita U. Alberto , together with the late mayor of Virac Salvador "Kudor" Surtida and wife Carmen Luyon Surtida were hailed as the best dancers of Pantomina. The congressman’s interpretation of the binanog never failed to get a thundering applause and has become legendary to this day. He would raise his arms in V position, fists slightly closed, he would ardently pursue his partner with small cross steps while his partner would try to run away. Mayor Kudor was known for his small one-sided running steps in an exciting sarisid around his partner.

An additional pair of dancers enter during the bacayao. The girl waltzes in with susuman (viand) and the boy with a glass of tuba. They offer the food and drink to the main dancers.

The Pantomina is danced in an entrecuatro, meaning four, facing the center. After exchanging places with their respective partners, the pairs exchange places by crossing position with the other passing through the center following an X direction.

Some dancers would playfully make a kuyas (to scratch with the ball of the feet while the crowd prods him on shouting "HUUPPSS!!!" Others l jump into the air (layug or to fly). Oftentimes, the dancers would become very creative and daring after a shot or two of wine or tuba.

The whole dance is akin to a bulang or a teasing match when the dancers are newlyweds. In the barangays, the old folks would even tie the two together or make the man embrace and kiss his blushing bride when he catches her during the dance. With everyone’s prodding, the creative possibilities become endless.

As observed by Nolasco (1994) in other parts of the region, the pairs are made to rest by going back to the paso after which they are made to go back to the engaño. This time the dance reaches a climax.

The dance ends with the cadena de amor where the dancers join hands to dance around and end up facing the audience in one line, raising held hands up, and then bowing to the audience.

B. Movements / Steps particular to the dance:

1. Paso - getting introduced

2. Binanog - getting acquainted

3. Sigay - flirting

4. Layug - flying to attract

5. Sarisid - courting

6. Bukod - pursuing

C. Dance properties:

1. Costume

Female

Top - Catandungan kimona, alampay

Skirt – knee-length tapis

Footwear – sapatilla (slippers with closed toes)

Male Top – barong, camisa chino, panuelo

Pants – bright-colored and plain

Footwear – sapatilla

2. Props – daric-hon (tuba container made of bamboo), glass with tuba,

sumsuman (food that goes with a drink of tuba)

3. Musical accompaniment – Pantomina Minor

(to be continued)

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