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PSBC Presents Colorful Show

Heights Staff

Published: Sunday, February 26, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

Saturday night was one to celebrate at Boston College. No, there were no thrilling sports victories to cheer about. Rather, the evening was spent celebrating Philippine culture. Hundreds crowded into the Irish Room in Gasson Hall, where the Philippine Society of Boston College (PSBC) held its 20th annual culture show, dubbed 20 Years of Magic. The spectacle was filled with colors, dancing, and music, serving a generous portion of Asian flavor to the eager audience.

Students, relatives, and members of the community packed the room to the point where some of the audience was forced to stand or sit by the windows. But the lack of space did not prevent the audience members from cheering, applauding, and supporting their friends and classmates.

PSBC designed the show around a Disney theme–the program featured the company's whimsical font–which helped give a lighthearted mood to the event. Six PSBC members portrayed a quirky family visiting a Filipino themed park, where each ride featured a different dance and tradition of Filipino culture. These "rides" were the show's performances. The cast was lively and grabbed plenty of laughs, especially the family's wily grandmother.

The majority of the show consisted of traditional dances. The music was largely rhythmic: Drumbeats adorned the dances–at times soft and slow, at others loud and rapid. Accompanying many of the dances was a variety of sashes, scarves, and other colorful fabrics that were inventively incorporated into each performance.

Despite largely featuring dance, variety was one of the biggest aspects of the show. Each performance was unique and memorable. There were solemn and poignant numbers featuring one or two dancers, such as "Asik," which displayed an attendant girl dancing "to win the favor of her sultan master." The rendition was simple, yet powerful and elegant. Conversely, the number that followed it, "Singkil," was fascinatingly complex and cemented itself as one of the highlights of the show. More than a dozen performers took the stage throughout the spectacle. Colorful attire and nimble blue fans collided gracefully with towering bamboo sticks being slammed on the floor. This act was inspired by a 14th-century epic that told the story of a Muslim princess caught in the midst of a thunderous earthquake, attempting to escape. The intricacy of the choreography and the props was immediately reminiscent of a number straight out of a Cirque du Soleil show.

In addition to portraying traditional Philippine dances, the show displayed performances that revealed foreign influences on Philippine culture. "Carinosa" and "Mantones de Seda" demonstrated the Spanish influence that remained from the colonization of the islands by the European nation. There was foot stomping, castanets, and music with a noticeable hint of Iberian flavor.

There was an undeniable liveliness to many of the songs and dances, and some proved to be more popular than others. "Maglalatik," an all-male dance, was undoubtedly the crowd favorite. The shirtless performers embraced the stage and flaunted their sculpted bodies, causing quite a positive reaction from the crowd. The dance consisted of moving to a fast-paced drumbeat while hitting coconut shell halves worn on the chest, hips, and back. The choreography of the number was dazzling, with each performer intricately dancing and tapping to the rhythm.

One of the central goals of the show was to enrich its audience with Filipino culture and display the size of its growing community. In addition to its talented performers, PSBC invited members from Iskwelahang Pilipino (IP) to perform a number of songs. IP is a nonprofit organization of the Greater Boston area that, much like PSBC, is dedicated to bringing members of the Filipino community together and spreading awareness of its folklore and heritage. The guests enveloped the stage with a plethora of guitars, bandurias, and octavinas, and filled the room with a delectable harmony of exotic sounds.

After a heartfelt thank you to all of the departing seniors and members who assisted in the show, a number of performers took the stage and displayed a modern rendition of Philippine dance to tunes from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Michael Jackson's "Thriller," and ‘N Sync's "Bye Bye Bye." Afterwards, all of the performers and club members filled the stage and the hall's aisles in a final, festive dance. Needless to say, the event ended on a high note. In short, 20 Years of Magic celebrated Filipino culture with grace, humor, and tradition. More importantly, it proved that Filipino culture is alive and thriving at BC.

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