First kuradang sa Sandugo
Posts hip-swaying success
TAGBILARAN CITY, July 23 (PIA) –Bohol’s unparalleled artistry and creativity, along with a strong sense of expressing life saved the day and capped soaring success for the first Sandugo street-dancing, minus the ostentatious display of pompous extravagance in props and production design.
No less than National Commission for Culture and the Arts chairman Felipe M. de Leon pointed the Boholano creativity, ingenuity and talent, after he witnessed the festival’s new inspiration in a traditional Visayan dance.
In fact, the decision to do away with the generic street-dancing steps to the more specific Visayan kuradang, did not coast well with the choreographers who eagerly were sourced out and who successfully made Sandugo a poor imitation of the nearby Sinulog Festival.
“Ah, way lami,” a member of the media easily foretold the result, especially upon learning that the Tagbilaran City’s Saulog Festival generated 15 contingents, as against the Sandugo’s 8 participating contingents.
But that was before witnessing how the decision to go for the more traditionally rooted kuradang as the main inspiration of this year’s contest.
“It has been observed that the streetdancing competition has degenerated into a routinary exercise of imitative gestures and dance patterns bereft of originality. Creativity and rootedness,” Bohol’s top and multi-awarded cultural and arts director Lutgardo Labad noted.
He explained that in the past years, the Sandugo Festival, which commemorates the historic blood compact between Castillian adelantado Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and native chief Datu Sikatuna, March 25, 1565.
The blood compact, a ritual of friendship allows both parties into drawing drops of blood from either the arms or the chest, mixed it with wine, the mixture divided equally between the two parties, and both drain their cups by drinking from it.
The ritual has been accordingly the first recorded international treaty of friendship and Boholanos claim it as the seed of the brotherhood of the United Nations.
But, without any guide to the inspiration of the festival streetdancing associated with the Sandugo, what came out were largely copies and improvisations of the beauty, form and substance of the Cebu’s Sinulog.
Moreover, local cultural workers have bemoaned the practice of hiring non-local choreographers and directors in street dancing groups, saying the practice insults the ingenuity and talent of the Boholano artists.
The hiring of non-Boholanos have also brought in the propensity to rent outlandish props, glittering costumes and costly bands, Labad said.
Due to this, the Provincial Tourism Council, in its previous planning sessions decided to do something to institute the Boholano spirit in the dance, music, set design and storylines to cut on the extravagant costs of props, and maximize on the artistry and the originality.
Here, now comes the kuradang, acclaimed as the most local of traditional dances also performed by Boholanos.
Local historian Professor Marianito Luspo said the kuradang has three main characteristics each reflective of the Visayan people.
He said kuradang is lively, it is spontaneous with no fixed pattern of movement and filled with improvisations and it is informal, irreverent and ribald.
He said there is still existing in Bohol a version of the kuradang in its raw form, not as intricate as the kuradang in Ilo-ilo but contains the basic forward-backward steps and open handed arm movement as well as the distinctive hip-swaying among the ladies, performed to the equally distinctive music which has survived to this day.
At the Sandugo kuradang, a special recording by local artists, after a fitting lyrics played for the contingents who could not produce the live accompaniment during the streetdancing and the rituals.
The music’s characteristic beat uses the ¾ time signature, now unlike the sinulog’s 2/2 or 4/4 time signature.
Luspo also believes the kuradang may have been an improvisation of the Sinulog, but since the dance to the Santo Nino retains its being a sacred offering, dancers need to project a serious face while the kuradang is more of the festive and the celebratory.
This also unwittingly fits the mood of the Sandugo. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)