Mananayaw: Outside the Usual Stage

denramonal
Posted February 3, 2021 from Philippines

The types of work I create are all close to my heart, very much connected to my heritage, and always with the objective of sharing my culture, reflecting on social issues, or educating people about my home which is in Mindanao, Philippines. I know that a lot of people have limited knowledge about it. So as a Filipino, a Mindanaoan who is residing outside the country, I feel that it is part of my obligation to share the richness of this culture and the stories of Mindanao through creative avenues to which more people are more receptive to.

The Mananayaw Series aims to give a glimpse of how dancing is like in Mindanao through the exploration of creative mediums outside the performing arts. It esteems to share Mindanao’s diverse performing art culture that is often not available to countries outside of Asia and is usually overshadowed by negative media coverage. Using acrylic on canvas as the main medium, the facial and bodily expressions of a ‘mananayaw’ from Mindanao are the main themes of the art pieces. I wanted to highlight the different communities in Mindanao, the different colors and patterns representing these communities, the colorful costumes, and the different bodily structures and then show it through the art pieces. You see, for a region as big and diverse as Mindanao, you cannot expect a singular form nor face, much more a singular dance that will scream that it is the Mindanaoan identity. The identity itself of Mindanao pertains to the multiplicity of culture thriving in the region.

Mananayaw is a Filipino term used when referring to a person who dances. In many parts of the Philippines, dancing is not simply a profession that you practice on stage. The existing culture of many dance practitioners supposes that a moral system with a set of behavioral codes is embedded and then exhibited through the dancer’s body. The body is not merely a material for a spectacle, but an instrument for communication – to exchange messages, to transmit socio-cultural values, and to share stories and relay histories.

This story was submitted in response to Art for Change.

Comments 27

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Rojin
Feb 04
Feb 04

Denramonal,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the Mananayaw here in our country. May you continue to share the richness of our culture and the stories of Mindanao. Truly our country has an extensive exposure to the arts.

Cheers,
Rojin

denramonal
Feb 04
Feb 04

Yes and it is especially great now that we can maximize the use of technology. :)

Namasomo Kiyobe
Feb 04
Feb 04

Hello Mananayaw thank you very much for sharing your gift of your courage curtule.

denramonal
Feb 04
Feb 04

Thank you, Namasomo. Always my pleasure. Take care.

Namasomo Kiyobe
Feb 04
Feb 04

You're welcome

Beth Lacey
Feb 04
Feb 04

Great cultural depiction. Thanks

denramonal
Feb 04
Feb 04

Thank you also. :)

Tamarack Verrall
Feb 04
Feb 04

Dear Denramonal,
You are not only deeply connected to trees and a gifted writer, you are a change maker with profound and courageous talent - in art, in story, in dance, in poetry. This is a masterpiece. The personalities, characters, experiences and culture of your drawings belong where everyone can see and learn from them. Your hand dancing to your poetry is gripping. Your respect for, call for change of attitude and live drawing of vaginas is so exquisitely and radically done, and wildly powerful. I hope your art travels far and wide.
Deep sisterhood,
Tam

denramonal
Feb 05
Feb 05

Hello, Tam. Thank you for this beautiful feedback. I see that you have also seen the video talking about the vagina. I was planning on posting that here in a separate post but yes, I find the use of isolated body parts quite effective when sharing something that has a lot to say. It helps support and not overwhelm the message. :) Thank you again.

Mukamisha
Feb 05
Feb 05

very much for this story of your local culture

denramonal
Feb 07
Feb 07

Yes, Mukamisha. It is very much my home culture. :)

Nini Mappo
Feb 05
Feb 05

Hello Den,
I reiterate, you are such a gifted artist in every sense! I love that dance in Minandao is a medium of communication, like ballet for example, and simply a form of entertainment. Thank you for the beautiful cultural trip!

denramonal
Feb 06
Feb 06

Hi, Nini. Thank you for droppin' by. About ballet, I wouldn't say that it is simply a form of entertainment as I have also used this dance form for performance pieces that tackle socio-cultural issues, but I do understand why this might be viewed as such because I know so many dance artists/choreographers use ballet mostly for entertainment purposes. But the more important message here is to put the focus on other dance forms that are not given due recognition because ballet is used as a standard in the arena of performing arts and despite what other people claim, other dance forms are still treated inferior to ballet. This is mainly also why there is so much clamor for decolonizing dance programs. Now that I am on this topic, I will share a little documentary on my next post about a piece that I worked on. :) Have a great day!

Nini Mappo
Feb 06
Feb 06

Sorry, that was a typo. I meant to say 'not simply as a form of entertainment'
Because until your story, ballet was the only other dance form that I know tells a story, and it's not purely for entertaining.
I think ballet is given precedence because of its myriads of specifications, including the body type. You may be familiar with the phrase "there are no African ballerinas", apparently because the typical African female body does not make ballerina specifications. But as you say, we still use other dance forms that celebrate our physique , and shake the backsides that apparently 'disqualify' us from professional ballerina-sm

denramonal
Feb 06
Feb 06

I totally understand and can relate. :) Oh I love our dialogue! The piece that I was referring to that I will show in my next piece is entitled "Finding the Mindanao Body" --- it dives into body specifications, social constructs, and how a dancer's physical structure is molded by her cultural nurturing. Wrote a paper on it too (I will add the link to the paper in the next post. ) I get excited about these kinds of discussion. Haha.

Rosegold
Feb 06
Feb 06

Art and creativity is such a wonderful thing. thank you for sharing this what a lovely thing to share for us all to enjoy.
Much love x

denramonal
Feb 06
Feb 06

Hi Rosegold, thanks! :) I share as much as I could whenever I can and it is a pleasure for me to do so. Take care.

maeann
Feb 07
Feb 07

Hi Den,

I've been watching some of your dance. How graceful and passionate you are with. I hope this be pass on to the next generation. That they will not forget our roots. I'm just wondering if this covid19 issue will continue, papano nalang ang mga artist without interaction and showing to the public the culture that we need to be aware of (just a thought).

denramonal
Feb 07
Feb 07

Hi Maeann. Arts and culture sector has been greatly affected by COVID19 and many have experimented with other mediums and diversified their incomes (I did both). It's not easy but hopefully, it gets better when all these ease up. I think the younger generation is becoming quite aware and there is love for promoting cultural advocacies.

Rahmana Karuna
Feb 08
Feb 08

Beautiful video of your work.
wonderful description
thank you so much for sharing.

denramonal
Feb 09
Feb 09

Thank you very much, Rahmana.

Singularlyme
Feb 09
Feb 09

This is so beautiful. Makes me want to visit the Philippines

denramonal
Feb 09
Feb 09

Thank you. Please visit :) and of course, once it is safe to visit. Take care.

Meredith Kaknevicius

"The body is not merely a material for a spectacle, but an instrument for communication – to exchange messages, to transmit socio-cultural values, and to share stories and relay histories."
These paintings are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your art and your story.

denramonal
Feb 10
Feb 10

Thank you, Meredith. It was my pleasure sharing it.

Aparna Sanjay
Feb 10
Feb 10

Hi Denramonal
Loved the beautiful paintings and learning (a little bit) about Mananayaw. Thanks for sharing. I also saw your book trailer and good luck with translating it into your language! I love reading kids books myself :)

denramonal
Feb 11
Feb 11

Hi Aparna, thank you for dropping by. I hope to share some more later. Glad to meet another children's book lover here! :)