The roaring crowd of the Washington Wizards and New York Knicks was breathtakingly entertained during the half time break by the Philippine folk dance Tinikling courtesy no less than the Fil-Am Heritage Dance Ensemble of the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC) at the Verizon Center in downtown Washington, DC, Friday, March 1.
Earlier at the opening of the game, 13-year old Filipino-American Kriskatlin Zabala sung the American national anthem.
The dancers: Nicole and Kathleen Calaro, Matthew Aninzo, Joyce and Krishna Mata, Alex and John John Cabrera, Lex Crisostomo, Neng Poliquit and Julie Quitoriano, hopped in and out of the bamboo poles blindfolded.
“That was scary.” “How’d they do that?” “Magnificent,” were among the remarks from an awed audience.
The dancers were all youth ambassadors for peace of the MHC. MHC co-executive director Grace Valera Jaramillo choreographed the fast version of the Tinikling. The Filipino-American Basketball Association (FABA) partnered with MHC in the halftime presentation and concurrently celebrated the Filipino-American heritage night.
The tinikling dance, one of the most popular folk dances since pre-Spanish Philippines, involves two people beating, tapping, and sliding bamboo poles on the ground and against each other in coordination with one or more dancers who step over and in between the poles in a dance.
The name of the dance is taken after a bird called tikling, with the term tinikling literally meaning “tikling-like” as it is an imitation of the tikling bird dodging bamboo traps set by rice farmers, or when it hops between grass stems and run over tree branches.
Dancers imitate the tikling’s speed by skillfully maneuvering between large bamboo poles.
MHC is a service institution for immigrants in the US, based in Washington, DC, and providing legal assistance, education and youth leadership programs, health support services, cultural development programs, and other social and community outreach programs. (From the Migrant Heritage Chronicle www.migrantheritage.org)