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TINIKLING: TENSION TO TREASURE

Tinikling is one of the best-known folk dances in the Philippines.

It originated in Leyte during the Spanish occupation of the country. Tinikling was born out of the need of local Filipinos to survive the punishment of standing between two bamboo poles, which were then clapped together. 

The word tinikling came from the name of a long-legged bird known as Tikling. Its literal translation and definition are “to do it like a tikling.”  This is because the dance copies the bird’s movement as it runs through bamboo traps set up by farmers. Similar to how locals used and practiced moves to evade the punishment that would later evolve into the dance we know today. 

Evolution and Movements

It evolved into a complicated dance because the fundamental movement of the tinikling is centered around avoiding the poles when they are clapped together. Both dancers are required to move swiftly and accurately while still maintaining the grace of the performance.

Image Description: A close-up photo of a tikling (Buff-banded rail) looking away from the camera with leaves in the background. Photo by: Buquet Christophe from Shuttershock.com

The tinikling is usually performed by four people in each set – two people dance over the poles, while the other two hold bamboo sticks around 6 to 12 feet long. The latter taps and slides these bamboo poles on the ground to follow or add to the rhythm of the rondalla music being played. The bamboo then serves as both an instrument and a part of the dance.  

Can they do this? Maiipit ba? The tension adds the perfect execution of a climax and brings that additional layer to the performance.

Apart from the complexity brought by the need to carefully follow the rhythm to avoid getting a foot caught between the poles, the rhythm and pace become more and more difficult throughout the performance. When executed well, this captures the audience by teasing their excitement. Can they do this? Maiipit ba? The tension adds the perfect execution of a climax and brings that additional layer to the performance.

As the dance begins to close, the dancers let go of each other’s hands, they move out of the beating bamboo poles, and the clappers stand alongside them, and they take a bow.

PILIPINAS KONTRA GUTOM

Lahat kasali. Lahat kasalo.
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