Normally Iâ€™d try to avoid any show with cheesy, awkward love scenes, but it worked for the 17th annual Pilipino Culture Night last Saturday. This was the first time Iâ€™ve ever been to PCN and it had some excellent highlights towards the end. The money from this show went to an organization called GABNEt, which is a Philippine-US womenâ€™s solidarity mass organization working for womenâ€™s rights around the world.
The dance numbers were average to start off. The show began with Gaway-Gaway, coordinated by Kristine Dungo. In this piece, the dancers used their elbows to perform movements similar to when one pulls stalks in a field. A lot of the movements here looked like what one would see in a dance club. It provided a good start.
La Jota Moncadena was next and is a heavily Spanish influenced dance. The dance wasnâ€™t that inspiring in itself. The most interesting thing about it was how they used bamboo castanets to create a continuous flow throughout the whole piece. The best part of the first act though for didnâ€™t come until Cha-Cha. This was led by Marielle Daquioag and Daniel Sumbang. It was the largest number of the first act and the interaction and energy between the male and female dancers is what made this special. If itâ€™s one thing Iâ€™ve learned about any dance show or dance class, itâ€™s that you never can go wrong with Cha-Cha.
The dancing found its best stride late in the second act with the masterful use of bamboo poles in two different dances. It was first used in Vinta. I liked how some of the dancers had to balance themselves on bamboo poles while they were being held on the shoulders of the dancers on the bottom. But by far the highlight of the entire show was the Tinikling performance near the end. Josephine Aranda and JR Facultad deserve a lot of credit for leading the action. This time the bamboo poles were on the bottom, and the dancers had to keep jumping and skipping over them in a masterful performance that would impress even the most anti-dance person out there.
Finally, there were the acting scenes between the dance numbers. They were so cheesy, yet one couldnâ€™t help but smile at the antics of the main love story. There was one scene in particular, the main guy and girl were having dinner and the over the top lines of the guy trying to get her to come to his place got the whole audience into a frenzy.
The womenâ€™s rights issue was brought up several times during the acting scenes, but they still found a way to keep everything lighthearted. I thought that was a very nice and appropriate touch to a lovely evening at Campbell Hall. The show is definitely worth checking out next year.