SAGAYAN- PHILIPPINES: War Dance from Philippines

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Sagayan Dance, Philippines

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Sagayan is an “Extremely dramatic” dance form belonging to Southeast Asia. This “war” dance is said to have originated in Philippines, and is mainly performed by the Maguindanao and Maranao community. Apparently, this dance is performed to honour the Maguindanao and the Maranao communities, who were supposed to have been warriors. Furthermore, this dance comprises of colourful costumes, and is performed mainly during the annual Sagayan festival.

a. History/origin of the Sagayan:

According to the cultural history of the Philippines, this dance was created by the Maguindanao and the Maranao community in honour of Prince Bantugan. Furthermore, this dance is said to have been created imitating steps generally used by the prince during war.

b. Costumes used in the Sagayan:

The costume worn in this dance by the performers includes three tiered skirts, and an extremely bright coloured headgear. In addition, this dance also involves the use of props such as beautifully painted shields, and “Kampilan”, a double bladed sword.

c. Music involved in the Sagayan:

The musical instruments mainly used in this dance mainly include drums made from indigenous materials and animal skin.

d. Training availability and technique involved in the Sagayan:

In terms of technique, this dance involves the use of movements such as leaping, turning, jumping, kicking, and rolling. In addition, the performers in this dance are supposed to move in a “trance”, since by doing so unwanted evil spirits apparently can be driven away. As for training centers and schools, there are none available around the world since this dramatic “war dance” is performed in the Philippines mainly among the Maguindanao and the Maranao communities respectively.

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