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Did You Know? Monthly Filipino Cultural Fun Facts!

Tinikling was a form of punishment back in the day. Well‌maybe not exactly. Tinikling is the most popular and best known of the Philippine dances and honored as the Philippine national dance. The dance imitates the movement of the tikling birds as they walk between grass stems, run over tree branches, or dodge bamboo traps set by rice farmers. Dancers imitate the tikling bird's legendary grace and speed by skillfully maneuvering between large bamboo poles. Tinikling means "bamboo dance" in English.

When the Spaniards came from Spain and conquered the Philippines, the natives lost control of their land because they were under the enconmienda system, an economic system that is largely based on rural and agricultural operations of large farmlands administered by caretakers for the King of Spain. The natives had to work all day to please the Spaniards.

The people who worked too slowly would be sent out of the paddies for punishment. Their Considered as one of the oldest dances from punishment was to stand between two the Philippines, this dance was originated in the bamboo poles cut from the grove. Sometimes, islands of Leyte in the Visayan Islands. People the sticks would have thorns sticking from of Leyte describe the tikling bird as one of the their segments. The poles were then clapped to most unique in its movements - walking beat the native's feet. By jumping when the around and between the tree branches and bamboo sticks were apart, the natives tried to some grass stems. This bird was named "tikling" escape this cruel form of punishment. This from which the Tinikling dance got its name. type of punishment became a cycle - the more Because of the creativeness of the people, they bruised the person's feet were, the less work imitate this bird by using bamboo poles. he would do, the less work he would do, the more punishment. Before this dance became what it is today, it went through an evolution of sorts. Different The matrix for the dance was probably laid stories of the Tinikling's origin have been out when the workers would return home passed down through oral histories and with their feet bruised and bleeding from the folklore. punishment. It is said that from a distance, the people who were receiving the beating looked One of the stories of the Tinikling's origin may like the Tikling bird. And this is one of the be made up, a fact, or part of a legend. The stories about the Tinikling's origin. story says that the Tinikling started by the people who worked on the fields and paddies The punishment later became the dance it is in the Philippines. today. When the Tinikling is danced, there is music of plucked strings in Iberian-influence staccato interspersing with tremolos and kept in time with double stepping sway balances. By practicing to escape the bamboo sticks during punishment, the Tinikling soon became a challenge, an art, and a dance.

PSA February Newsletter 2014  
PSA February Newsletter 2014  

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