Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Pangalay Dance of Sulu

Pangalay Courtship Dance
Pangalay Courtship Dance

Pangalay is a traditional Tausug dance characterized by elaborate body postures and gestures and the graceful arm and hand movement of the dancer, amplified by the use of janggay or metal claws. The dance is performed to the music of the kulintangan, gandang, agong and gabang. Commonly referred to as the fingernail dance, Pangalay is usually performed during weddings and other festive celebrations.

Pangalay Linggisan (Bird Dance)
Pangalay Linggisan (Wind Dance / Bird Dance)

Pangalay has a number of versions including the Pangalay Linggisan, which is performed by a solo female dancer imitating the movement of a bird in flight. According to Mr. Rapih Jairi, Director of the Ingat Kapandayan Performing Arts of the Notre Dame of Jolo College, the Pangalay performed in Sulu is characterized by the graceful movement of the dancer's arms and hands flowing in synchrony the gentle blowing of the wind. While in other parts of the Sulu Archipelago, including Tawi-Tawi and Sabah, the movements of the arms and hands are more pronounced as they are imitating the waves of the Sulu sea.

Pangalay ha Patung (Pangalay on Bamboo)
Pangalay ha Patung

The Pangalay Courtship is another version of the dance wherein a pair of dancers imitate the graceful courtship dance of birds. During wedding performances, it is a tradition that guests would tuck money between the fingers of the female dancer. The Pangalay ha Patung is characterized by two men carrying two bamboo poles on their shoulders with a solo female dancer keeping her balance on top of the two bamboo poles. This version of Pangalay paints a picture of a woman dancing on a sail boat.

Here are the videos of the Pangalay Linggisan, Pangalay Courtship & Pangalay ha Patung performed by the Ingat Kapandayan Cultural Dancers of the Norte Dame of Jolo College.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Because of modernization and influence from Malaysia, we can see versions of Pangalay performed using upbeat electronic music, and sadly this traditional dance is in danger of losing identity. Through the initiative of the Ingat Kapandayan Performing Arts, Pangalay is being preserved in its traditional form.

Pangalay Dancers from Jolo, Sulu
Pangalay Dancers form Notre Dame of Jolo College

The youth of Sulu also shows interest in preserving their cultural identity and engages in learning and propagating their heritage through dance. This ensures that this art is preserved and safeguarded so that future generations may still witness and experience Pangalay, a dance that is truly Tausug.

Pangalay Dancers from Jolo, Sulu
Ingat Kapandayan Performing Arts

We wish to thank Fr. Charlie Inzon, OMI, PhD, President of the Notre Dame of Jolo College (NDJC) for welcoming us to the school, and to Mr. Rapih Jairi and the members of the Ingat Kapandayan Performing Arts for the spectacular performance of the Pangalay. We also wish to express our gratitude to Ma'am Mary Antonette Jacoba-Ahijon and Sir Julkipli Ahijon Jr. for coordinating and making our visit to NDJC a possibility. Magsukul for the hospitality.

Ingat Kapandayan Performing Arts of the Notre Dame of Jolo College


Our visit to the Notre Dame of Jolo College happened last August 7, 2013 and was part of our three-day visit to the Province of Sulu in celebration of Eid'l Fitr 2013.

If you wish to invite the Ingat Kapandayan Cultural Dancers to perform on festivities or special celebrations, you can get in touch with Mr. Rapih Jairi, Director of the Ingat Kapandayan Performing Arts, through email at manangkay27@yahoo.com or through mobile phone 09269568837.

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