Finding the Mindanao Body

denramonal
Posted February 7, 2021 from Philippines

While responding to some comments in my other post, the discussion has led to some aspects that are within the scope of a performance piece that is very close to my heart. I entitled it "Finding the Mindanao Body" and it articulates a folk dance artist’s struggles and fears about the overlapping complexities of performing arts, choreographic practices, and cultural identity.

Finding the Mindanao Body is a self-reflexive piece that dives into the journey of a dance artist from Mindanao who is attempting to rediscover her dance style roots. It is an abstracted account of understanding the movement and influence of indigenous culture in Mindanao, Philippines through the eyes of a dancer. Using the play of different dance styles, it wrestles with the narratives shared by community members and their plight for self-determination. It also grapples with learning conflicts between that of what was taught by elders of the communities versus that of the professional dance teachers who are celebrated on the modern stage. Lastly, it challenges existing social values where heritage transmission is concerned and where struggles and fears of misrepresentation remain a national discourse. 

The solo piece was first performed at SOAS in London, UK (July 2019). It was re-staged at Gallerie Dárt Contemporain Mohamed Drissi during the Performing Tangier Festival 15th Edition in Tangier, Morocco (Novermber 2019) and at the Dibba Theatre during the Fujairah International Monodrama Festival (February 2020). 

​Due to the COVID19 restrictions, the performance piece was converted into a video presentation. It was launched during the 2nd International Choreomundus Dance Festival Virtual Edition (September 2020).

I also wrote a research paper on this and if you are interested in reading a much longer material, you can download it for free via the link below:

https://www.academia.edu/44155855/Finding_the_Mindanao_Body_A_Folk_Dance...

This story was submitted in response to Art for Change.

Comments 6

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maeann
Feb 07
Feb 07

Hi Den,

You got me there... your facial expression... super galing and amazing. This was been your passion since you were young? I can see how you have put you commitment on the way how you move, breath and dance.

denramonal
Feb 07
Feb 07

Hi Maeann, thank you so much for your generous feedback. Yes, this has been my passion since I was young but of course, my advocacies for ICH started at a much later period. I believe that in order to relay the story, you have to give yourself fully and this is why I cry after every time I performed this piece. It is everything that I have kept in which I can best articulate through a performance.

Beth Lacey
Feb 08
Feb 08

The arts are so rich with cultural and story-telling. It's great to see this on the World Pulse site.

denramonal
Feb 09
Feb 09

Hi, Beth. Yes, so much to share. :) Thank you.

rebecca.tang
Feb 10
Feb 10

Thank you for sharing. The performance is awesome. We should preserve this culture properly.

denramonal
Feb 11
Feb 11

Hi Rebecca, happy to share this and thank you for watching.