What many Visayan festival spectators look forward to seeing is the street dance – if they even have the chance to see it at all. Between the crowd and the heat, it’s not easy to get a peak. But if you do, you realize how mesmerizing it is to watch dance from the sidewalk.
What is visible in the dance is months of hard work, years of cultivated choreography and costume design, communities coming together, cooperation at many levels of society.
What is most exciting, for me, is the youthful spirit of the dancers and the visionary wisdom of the choreographers.
Before the start of the street dances, I got the opportunity to meet a choreographer (and physical education teacher) and a principal (and festival organizer). Below, I offer 2 videos (rough sketches) of a larger moving image project in which I explore the importance of embodied archives for preserving these memories of Visayan community arts.
An experiment in embodied memory: Segundo “Panoy” Jesus Cabalcar, Jr. is a physical education teacher and a visionary champion choreographer of over 27 years for MassKara Festival in Bacolod, Negros, Philippines. His passions in dance art innovation and education have shaped his community – and will continue to for decades to come. What is the future channel of his wisdom?
Big thanks to Bacolod National High Principal Lila Valfor Arro and participating students, and 2018 Champions of Barangay Tangub dance team! Especially Gillian Vargas, Steve Michael G. Magarang, Dallen Jean M. Cantero, Rose Ann G. Manalingan, Jiasen P. Balleza, (Mar) Mharjor Supena, Ronel V. Cruz and all the smiling faces behind the masks. May your dance continue to bring joy & blessings!
(Note: Audio from the full interview with sir Panoy will be uploaded soon!)
An experiment in embodied archives: Filmed at Patricia Homes Elementary School the day before the MassKara Festival school street dance competition and arena showdown. Principal Mary Grace L. Mallen discusses her role as appointed festival organizer in the field of education and reflects on her childhood experiences dancing behind the mask. Even as MassKara Festival evolves and expands every year, still, it is the children and their dancing that draw out the crowd to watch the live spectacle. How will we remember and honor their contribution to this living cultural heritage of community dance arts?
BIG THANKS to Principal Mary Grace L. Mallen, Renelyn D. Jutayero, MAED, and the incredible smiling dancers of Patricia Homes Elementary School for MassKara Festival 2018. Thanks to Silver MassKara Foundation for providing contacts, and Asian Cultural Council for opportunity to study Visayan festivals.