The Provincial Government of Bohol (PGBh) and the City of Tagbilaran incorporate a new tone to the month-long Sandugo Celebration this July.
The usual annual Street Dancing Festival Competition would evolve into a more specific Kuradang Dancing Competition bearing the theme â€œCelebration of Cultural Identity and Creative Geniusâ€.
Culture and heritage enthusiasts have observed that the street dancing competition has degenerated into a routine exercise of imitative gestures and dance patterns bereft of originality, creativity, and rootedness.
For years they said, Boholano street dancing has vastly imitated the aesthetics, form and spirit of Cebuâ€™s Sinulog, making our Sandugo a little “impoverished twin brother” to the glitter and pomp of the most successful cultural tourism event of the country.
To this, the demands of the Sandugo drove many a contesting municipality or institution to rent or borrow the gargantuan sets and props of Cebu or Tacloban, their glittering costumes and the uniformly dance and bugle marching band instruments predictably loud and repetitive in their rhythms and melodies.
As further observed, the practice of hiring non-Boholano directors, choreographers and designers with their teams and staff appeared like an insult to the ingenuity and talents of our own Boholano artists and craftsmen by relegating them to mere coordinators and local managers.
Thus, the opportunities to grow and assert their gifts artistically and to earn from the economic windfalls of the project have been removed from them to benefit their â€œallegedly betterâ€ regional counterparts.
Cultural experts have also noticed that the main ritual competition is likewise a copycat of the Sinulog main competition, whether Sinulog-based or Open in concept and execution from scenario dramaturgy and direction to design and music.
Every year, the festival has been a source of stress on the treasuries and financial resources of the contestants, thereby forcing them to spend extravagantly to match up with the demands of the competition.
Also, the number of participants per group, including performers and sets and props handlers, has made the main artistic event a Mass Field Demonstration of robots in a sense rather than a showcase of the artistic possibilities of the body as an instrument of cultural expression resulted.
Considering all the above-mentioned reasons, Sandugo Festival organizers have earlier highly recommended to re-engineer the festival competition to make it more rooted on Boholano aesthetics in dance, music, design and content.
They also have realized that by doing so, production costs would be lesser, performers per group would be significantly reduced, premium on local culture realized, and competitions, starting this year, would be expressions of the innate artistry and originality of true Boholano culture and heritage.
Thus, Sandugo 2016 will focus on the use of the Kuradang Dance as the main basis and inspiration for this yearâ€™s contest, being the most local of Boholano traditional dance expressions.
Applying groups were earlier required to submit a one-page Scenario of the planned Kuradang Festival Dance and the Narrative and Treatment for their version of the Sandugo Reenactment.
The Sandugo ArtisticÂ Committee have already announced the official contingents and they are the Bohol Island State University (BISU) Balilihan, Holy Name University, Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School, and the local government units of Balilihan, Baclayon, Mabini, Tagbilaran City and Napo, Loon.
Guidelines have been laid out for the Kuradang Mardi Gras Dance Contest but the most important and specifically singled out was the main contour of the costumes based on the local traditional BoholanoÂ â€œbaro at saya.â€
Criteria for the Kuradang Competition have been divided into two; that is, 50% for the Kuradang Mardi Gras, and 50% for the Best Reenactment Drama Group.
The Third Placer will get P100,000, the Second Placer P150,000, while the Grand Prize Winner will get P200,000.
Special awards also await the Best Choreographer, Best Sandugo Re-enactment of the Rajah Sikatuna and Legazpi Blood Compact, and the Festival King and Queen.
Official calendar of activities is available in newspapers, on posters and thru social media.Â For more details and inquiries, please contact Madame Maming Gatal at 0917-5336540.Â (JLV/PGBh/EDCom)