‘Fresh moves’, environment theme for Leyte winner

Posted on January 17, 2012

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Smooth, fluid choreography nailed the grand prize for Leyte dancers who were newcomers in Cebu’s Sinulog Festival.

They repeated their moves in a command performance yesterday with other winners of the Sinulog dance competition at the Cebu City Sports Center, where trophies and cash prizes were handed out by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

With a cast of 400, their dance portrayed a community rising from a flash flood.

The environment theme and their “fresh” moves impressed the judges, said Nestor Jardin, chairman of the panel of judges in the Free Interpretation category.

Second place winner, Tribu Himag-ulaw of Placer, Masbate, used scenes of an African jungle with elaborate props of exotic animals.

Both were crowd favorities.

Tribu Himag-ulaw of Placer Masbate wins 2nd prize in the Free Interpretation category of the Sinulog with their fresh moves and well thought of costumes. (CDN PHOTO/ LITO TECSON)

“We wanted to keep an upbeat but organized and alive performance,” said choreographer Emerito Custodio of Tribu Lingganay from Alang-alang, Leyte, which was adjudged the best in the Free Interpretation category. They took home a trophy and P1 million cash prize.

“Our effort and participation was all worth it,” said Alang-Alang Mayor Loredo Yu, “because we brought pride to our town.”

Alang-Alang is in northern Leyte near Tacloban City.

“For sure, many people will visit our town because they already know about it through the Sinulog,” said the mayor.

A slow drumroll precedeed a four-minute dance routine with children in blueand white overalls, and costumes of bright yellow and orange.

Like “magic”, dancers ended up in formations of a flower using hand movements that took the shape of a big bud.

Custodio, a festival choreographer for nine years, said this was a salute to the town’s history, where elders believed that a golden bell called “Lingganay” was thrown in the hot spring to protect the town from American colonizers.

The flower bells were washed away by a flashflood at the beginning of the dance. Life and greenery were restored by invoking the divine aid of the Sto. Niño.

“We want to tell the people not to destroy nature and the environment,” he said.

Custodio took a leave as a teacher in the Tejero Night High School to prepare for the contest.He said they decided to join the Sinulog after the dance group won in the Pintados Festival in Leyte.

Practice started in November with a P750,000 budget and struggles to fit in schedules of the students.

The youngest dancer was 8 year-old Pia Mueva. Like many in the troupe, it was her first opportunity to visit Cebu and experience the Sinulog.

With their triumph, Mayor Yu said the town would return to Cebu to join the Sinulog next year. /Candeze R. Mongaya, Reporter with Carmel Matus

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