Singkíl (or Sayaw sa Kasingkil) is a folk dance of the Maranao people
Lake Lanao based on the epic legend Darangen, which was
popularised by the Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company.
2.2 Other versions
3 In film
4 See also
Singkil originated from the
Maranao people who inhabit the shores of
Lake Lanao. It is a re-telling of an episode from the Maranao epic
legend Darangen involving the rescue of Princess Gandingan (abducted
by the diwatas) by the legendary Prince Bantugan. It is a popular
dance performed during celebrations and other festive entertainment.
Originally only women, particularly royalty, danced the Singkil, which
serves as either a conscious or unconscious advertisement to potential
suitors. The dance takes its name from the heavy rings worn on the
ankles of the Muslim princess. A kulintang and agung ensemble
always accompanies the dance.
The female lead dancer plays the role of Princess Gandingan of the
Darangen epic, wearing the heavy rings around her ankles to keep time
while she dances. In an episode of the Maranao epic, the princess is
caught in the middle of the forest during an earthquake caused by the
diwatas (or the guardian spirits) of the Kingdom of Bumbaran. The
diwatas abducted the princess and entrapped her into a forest to teach
the philandering Prince Bantugan a lesson. The falling trees
during the earthquake (which the princess gracefully avoids) are
represented by the bamboo poles arranged in a criss-crossed fashion
and clacked together in a unique, syncopated rhythm. During the
performance, the female lead dancer graciously steps in and out of the
bamboo poles as she manipulates two elaborately designed fans called
apir. Another female dancer represents the loyal slave of the princess
who accompanies her throughout the ordeal. After a while, a male
dancer, representing the legendary Prince Bantugan of the Darangen
epic, performs his dance round and through the bamboo poles clacked
together bearing a shield and a sword. The entrance of the male dancer
symbolizes the arrival of Prince Bantugan who is determined to rescue
the princess from the diwatas. Other dancers skillfully manipulate the
apir fans, which represent the winds which prove to be auspicious. The
dance steps require agile movement so that the dancer's feet won't be
crushed by the moving bamboos. Meanwhile, the clacking bamboo poles
represent the forces which the two characters had to overcome. The
dance ends with the princess going home with the prince.
When the Bayanihan Dance Company began performing the Singkíl, the
traditional dance was adapted to convey Western aesthetics. The
Bayanihan portrayal, branded as the Princess Dance or the Royal
Maranao Fan Dance, became so popular that it is often mistaken for the
authentic version of the dance.
A notable variation from the original is its inclusion of male
dancers, as pole clappers and in the role of the Prince, Rajah
Bantugan. Additional sets of criss-crossing bamboo poles were also
Further adaptation divided the dance into four movements:
First movement- "Asik", where the slave with umbrella is introduced.
Second movement- entrance of Putri Gandingan, the entourage of female
fan or scarf dancers, and the arrival of Rajah Bantugan.
Third movement- Patay, which is a slow section, and is a structural
dance convention often found in Western performances.
Fourth movement- the climax in which all dancers dance to the
crescendo of music.
PCN (Pilipino Cultural Night) festivities held by foreign-based
student groups and other theatrical dance companies have modernised
interpretations of the dance, resulting in unorthodox portrayals of
the Singkíl by even the most esteemed of Philippine folk dance
The Philippine Barangay Folkdance Troupe portrays the prince dancing
scarves rather than with a sword and a shield.
Some dance companies have even fused the Singkíl with ballet, or make
use of multiple layers of overlapping bamboos.
The Singkíl was performed in the 2001 American independent film The
Debut. The movie was directed by
Filipino American filmmaker Gene
Cajayon and starred Dante Basco. The film captured the essence of
Filipino traditions and the blending of these with modern American
Tinikling, a similar Spanish-era Filipino folk dance using bamboo
^ a b Guillermo, Artemio R. Historical Dictionary of the Philippines.
Scarecrow Press. p. 403. ISBN 0810872463.
^ a b c d Panaraag, Jiamila E.; Inte, Geldolin L. (18 January 2016).
"The Metamorphosis of Selected Maranao Stories into Dances" (PDF). The
Asian Conference on Literature & Librarianship 2015 Official
^ Hullett, Arthur (2017). Pieces of Southeast Asia. BookBaby.
^ Namiki, Kanami (2017). Ramon Obusan, Philippine Folkdance and Me:
From the perspective of a Japanese Dancer. PublishDrive.
ISBN 9789712730511. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
^ Richards, Anne R.; Omidvar, Iraj (2014). Muslims and American
Popular Culture [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 392.
ISBN 9780313379635. Retrieved 26 No