Lumad Basakanon to sport wings, not tattoos

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Cebu City’s popular Lumad Basakanon dance contingent will do away with tattoo body paint and instead put on wings for Sunday’s grand parade.

They aim to recapture the championship in the Free Interpretation category which they last tasted in 2008.

Watch out for a “Malakas at Maganda” theme with gold costumes and birds in the retelling of the Filipino legend of the first man and woman who sprung forth from a bamboo shoot.

“We won’t use skin tone and pintados costumes anymore. Mo gukod mi ug unsay ganahan sa judges,” said choreographer Dennis Navarro. (We’ll go after what pleases the judges.)

For the performance on stage in the Cebu City Sports Center, Basakanon dancers from barangay Basak have new steps to emphasize rituals. (Contest judges each year urge groups to come up with fresh concepts and original choreography.)

Their signature centipede crawl dance moves, which spectators look forward to, will mostly be see during the street dancing on the parade route outside the stadium.

Rehearsals started last October. They’re ready to compete, but Navarro said props won’t be fancy due to financial constraints .

Financial aid of P1 million from Basak San Nicolas barangay captain George Rama and other supporters was just enough to cover the cost of costumes and practice sessions.

“Pero bisan sa among ka kuwangon sa kwarta dili gyud mi gusto mo undang ug apil sa Sinulog. Amo lang gyud suwayan ug unsay among ma kaya,” said Navarro.

The Basakanons have been joining the Sinulog since 1991 and won at least four championship awards for Free Interpretation in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008.

They also won a grand slam during the Aliwan festival in Manila in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Barangay captain Rama lamented that City Hall didn’t give a P150, 000 subsidy to barangay-based contingents.

“Ang problema dili ang sayaw, ang kwarta,” he said.

With audiences demanding more spectacular performances each year, the Sinulog competition sometimes seems to be a contest of the best props instead of dance prowess.

Sinulog executive director Ricky Ballesteros said the Sinulog Foundation Inc. prioritizes the release of cash subsidies to school- based contingents, which have trouble raising funds, and out-of-town contingents which spend heavily for travel of their contingents to Cebu City.

“If there is available money, we can always consider also giving subsidies to barangay-based contingents,” said Ballesteros.

Mayor Michael Rama said he was willing to consider this new financial subsidy but it would have to be wait for next year.

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