According to the Philippine government, the Tinikling is the national dance of the Philippines. It is the most popular and best known of all the dances in the Philippines. In English, the word Tinikling means “bamboo dance. ” Tinkiling is considered as one of the oldest dances from the Philippines. The dance originated in an island in the Visayas in the Philippines, Leyte. The people of Leyte describe the tikling bird as one of the most unique in its movements; how they walked around and between the tree branches and some grass stems. This bird was named “tikling” which is where the name
for the dance Tinikling got its name. The people of Leyte were very creative and they imitated the “tikling” bird by using bamboo poles. There are many different versions of the story behind the Tiniking, many have been passed down through oral traditions and folklore. One of the stories of the Tinikling’s origin may be made up, a fact, or part of a legend. The story says that the Tinikling started by the people who worked on the rice fields in the Philippines. When the Spaniards came from Spain and conquered the Philippines, the natives were sent to the haciendas.
The natives lost control of their land because they were under 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 natives could have completely lost control of their destiny under an exploitative system. The people of the Philippines worked in the rice fields for nearly four hundred years. The people who worked too slowly would be sent out of the rice fields for punishment. Their punishment was to stand between two bamboo poles cut from the grove.
Sometimes, the sticks would have thorns sticking from their segments. The poles were then clapped to beat the native’s feet. By jumping when the bamboo sticks were apart, the natives tried to escape this cruel form of punishment. This type of punishment became a cycle, the more bruised the person’s feet were, the less work he would do, the less work he would do, the more punishment. The meaning for the dance was probably laid out when the workers would return home with their feet bruised and bleeding from the punishment. It is said that from a distance, the people who were receiving the beating looked like the heron.
This is one of the stories about the Tinikling’s origin. The Tinikling consists of a four people, two men and two women. A man and woman on both sides of two bamboo poles tapping them together in rhythm with the music and a man and woman dancing in between the poles avoiding being caught between them. The objective of the dance is try and go in and out of the bamboo poles without getting hit. When the first couple dancing makes an error in their dance steps, the other couple takes their turn and the dance speed starts getting faster and faster.
The bamboo poles are also used as the percussive instrument, it is banged to the ground in order to make a pattern of music. Tinikling dancers dress in traditional Philippine outfits. Women wear the balintawak, a dress with wide-arched sleeves and a panuelo, a handkerchief on the shoulder. Also, some women wear the patadyong, a checkered skirt paired with a blouse made out of pinapple fiber. Men wear a barong Tagalog, a formal garment of the Philippines. It is a lightweight long-sleeved shirt worn over an under shirt and paired with trousers. Dances remain barefoot for the dance.
The Tinkiling is performed on certain Sundays in the Philippines. It is also performed at Philippines festivities, and to promote Philippine cultural heritage and tourism. In the Philippines, hotel lounges feature Tinikling performances to welcome and entertain guests. Also, elementary and secondary schools also include Tinikling in physical education classes to promote physical fitness. Tinikling is the most popular and best known of all the dances in the Philippines. It is the national dance of the Philippines, according to the Philippines government. The word Tinkiling means “bamboo dance,” in English.
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