Remember National Artist for Dance
March 9 is the birthday of Francisca Reyes Aquino, our first National Artist for Dance.
Why do we remember her? What has she done to make our country proud? Was she not the first Filipino to go to the hinterlands to research on our folk dances and certainly made Filipinos aware of the beauty of our folk arts through dances?
Should we then not appreciate her incredible efforts to show us through her research the relationship of Tinikling, Pandango Sa Ilaw, Cariñosa and Dugso, to name a few, with what the Filipino character is all about?
Yes, it is sad that only a few can see the embodiment of “Who is the Filipino” through our folk dances. But I still have hope that our future generations of teachers will continue to inculcate in the minds of our young that folk dances tell beautiful stories about one’s culture.
To borrow the words of the late president Ferdinand Marcos, “Often laboring without help, and sometimes without sympathy, she (Francisca Reyes Aquino) collected, bit by bit, a great body of work that today emerges a significant index of the character of the race.”
Alejandro Roces, former education secretary, had this to say about Francisca Reyes Aquino: “A beautiful woman with such a merry heart who spent her life weaving the fascinating barrio tales into a tapestry of dance for the whole world to know.”
Francisca Reyes Aquino’s story tells of an unbridled sense of pride in her country and nationalism by using her talent and love for dancing.
—SALLY C. DATOC, Francisca Reyes Aquino Memorial Foundation, Project 2, Quezon City
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