Champion of folk dances neglected

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How sad it is to know that Sayaw Pinoy of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) pays tribute to iconic Philippine dances while forgetting totally the contribution of our pioneer researcher Francisca Reyes Aquino, the first National Artist in Dance, who dedicated her life and professional career to the dissemination and preservation of our folk dances (Inquirer, 1/21/13).

In that article, there was no mention even of how Aquino fought the American dance director who tried to modernize our costumes and our movements. She would say, “Entertainment at the expense of our culture? Never. If I allow this we will eventually lose our identity as Filipinos.” As Nick Joaquin, another renowned National Artist, proudly said it all, “Mrs. Aquino brought folk dances out of the sticks into the schools.”

Yes, it is really sad that in the lonely task of searching for the lost fragment of Philippine culture through our folk dances, we fail to mention Francisca Reyes Aquino every time our folk dances are being appreciated and glamorized.

—SALUD C. DATOC,

Francisca Reyes Aquino

Memorial Foundation,

92 Bignay St., Project 2, QC

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