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Maglalatik and the Battle of Dances Between the Moros and the Christians

Creative and colorful; these are some of the things that you can use to label the Philippine dances that define its culture. And for sure you will not be disappointed, since the country's dances are all creative and colorful. An example is the Philippine dance called the 'Maglalatik' that is sure to catch the fancy of those looking for a traditional dance that goes down to the basics, and of course a dance that is colorful and festive.

This dance is also called as 'Magbabao' which can mean 'the one using the 'bao' and the 'bao' is the coconut shell. Throughout the dance, the viewers of the dance can expect that most of the dance moves that will be performed by the dancers will focus on the use of these 'baos' or the coconut shells and some of the noises or the music that will be used by the dance will be generated by these coconut shells.

This dance actually tells a story- and it depicts the fight between the Moros and the Christians over the 'latik'. The 'latik' is the residue that is left after the coconut milk has been cooked and boiled. This dance is composed of a four-part performance and the first two performance of the dance is called as the 'Palipasan' and the 'Baligtaran'.

In these first two performances, the dance will show the opposing squads in an intense battle. The last two parts of the dance are the 'Paseo' and the 'Sayaw Escaramusa'. These two dances basically show the reconciliation between the two groups and the dance steps of the dancers will show and suggest that the opposing groups are now in good terms. The two groups in this dance is the group of the Moros and the other group is the group of the Christians. All dancers that participate in this classic dance are male and they all harness and use the coconut shells. These shells are attached on many points of the body of the dancers- in the chests, the backs, the thighs and the hips. The dancers will also hold their triangular formed coconut shells in their hands and they used these shells to tap the coconut shells that are fitted on their bodies and they use these to generate the music that will accompany them when they are dancing. The Moros in this dance will wear the red trousers and the Christian group will wear the blue trousers. This dance will involve some simple movements and simple repetitions.

The following will be a listing of the steps that are generally performed in the dance.

. First step will require dancers to make 6 to 8 counts of jogging to settle to their place

. Then four steps forward while pounding the chests.

. Four basic clap cycles while the dancers are in place

. Another four basic clap cycles in order for the dancers to get to two rows

. Another 8 quick clap cycles to the ripple effect

. Another 8 quick clap cycles that will allow the dancer to circle around the partner, and next up is the Circle Up.

. The dancers will make 8 counts+1 -4 count for the first clap

. Dancers will clap after the one 8 count and this should be done 8 times, then the finishing clap

. Dancers will make 8 high-low clap cycles in order to move into position.

. Another 8 cycles of 6 hit clapping

. The dancer will then make 16 counts for the tricks with another round of clapping in the background

. Dancer will make 4 basic to get to the two sides

. Dancer will make 8 quick clap cycles for the battle

. Dancer will make 4 quick clap cycles in order to get to the end

. And right after the last clap, the dancers then make their pose.

According to historians, this Philippine dance originated in Laguna and usually performed during the town fiesta of Biñan. The dance is usually performed in a religious procession as the procession moves down the street. This dance called 'Maglalatik' is performed as an offering to their patron saint- San Isidro de Labrador.




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