TheJaw-dropping Dance of the Clapping Bamboos

The most popular among Filipino cultural dances using the clapping bamboos are Singkil and Tinikling. Watching the performing artists weave through crisscrossing bamboos with fantastic precision and grace will literally make your jaw drop. They are the liveliest and most enthralling.   Dancing the Singkil or Tinikling will require skill and footwork ala Manny Pacquiao.

Singkil and Tinikling started with a simple version.  It has evolved into a theatrical and stylized spectacle. The young generations of Filipinos, especially those who lived and raised abroad, came up with a hiphop version of the clapping bamboo dance.

A Maranaw princess or lady of royalty with her maid dancing th Singkil.
A Maranaw princess or lady of royalty with her maid dancing th Singkil.

Tinikling Dance

This dance is a mimic of the movement of the bird "tikling" or a barred rail (Gallirallus torquatos) hopping over trees, grass stems, or over bamboo traps set by farmers. It is amazing and at the same time amusing to watch the performing artists to skillfully locomote themselves through the clapping bamboo poles.

Singkil Dance

The rhythmic clapping of crisscrossed bamboo poles represent the trees that were falling which the princess gracefully avoids. According to the folklore a princess and her slave were trapped in the middle of a forest during and earthquake with the prince finally rescuing her. A ballet move is incorporated here that led others to comment why the prince lifted up the princess when even touching the woman is supposed to be a no no. I have no answer to that. Well, maybe because art evolves, and since dance is an art, it also evolves.

The shimmering costumes and headdress added beauty and elegance to the dance.


Singkil Dance by The Bayanihan Dance Company

The Bayanihan Dance Company first introduced the Filipino cultural dances to the world with class.

The Hip-hop Version of Tinikling

This is a sample of a revolutionized Tinikling. It is more apt to call their dance another name other than Tinikling.. another clapping bamboo dance.  They do not use the exact music of the cultural dance, and they do not wear the proper cultural costume either.  Still, watching the dance of the clapping bamboos will always leave you in awe.

Comments 6 comments

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

This hub is just wonderful wonderful wonderful - and yes art does evolve. I love the different types of bamboo dancing and then the different styles including the more traditional as well as the contemporary.

And thanks for some history. Well done! Rated up of course and more!


Alta5656 profile image

Alta5656 6 years ago from Davao City, Philippines Author

Thank you so much BkC. Even I wonder how can they dance without even looking down. It is amazing indeed. Makes me proud to be Pinoy.


bingskee profile image

bingskee 4 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

i love love tinikling. i will never ever get tired of watching this dance. truly Filipino.


Alta5656 profile image

Alta5656 4 years ago from Davao City, Philippines Author

Right, bingskee. It is amazing to watch the singkil and tinikling. I haven't tried my legs on those clapping bamboos, hmmm.. have you..?


bingskee profile image

bingskee 4 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

oh, no, i haven't! LOL and i would not dare!


Alta5656 profile image

Alta5656 4 years ago from Davao City, Philippines Author

I've just watched ABS-CBN's Showtime finals today. The Astig Pinoy crew just won. One of the highlights was a member dancing the Tinikling blindfolded! He was not only dancing on a pair of bamboos but I think four or five pairs! Gosh! I hope you've watched it. You'll get goose bumps!

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