Traditions in rhythm, dance
Two long bamboo sticks hit the floor. Dancers stand between the sticks, clapping their hands and moving to the beat. One bad move and the sticks, which are moving up and down, could crush one’s foot.
The dance, called the “tinikling,” is one of the most popular and traditional dances in Philippine culture, Filipino Cultural Association President Jackie Piansay said.
Piansay taught the dance at the Cultural Dance Marathon Friday, March 1. Hosted by the Unified Greek Council, the event was held to teach students about other cultures through dance, senior UGC President Maia Jones said.
UGC also served food that represented the different cultures.
Student cultural organizations such as FCAT, the Latin-American Student Organization, two Christian fraternal organizations and a Latin fraternal organization all joined together to participate and share various aspects of their cultures.
“Towson always wants to make students here more culturally aware of what’s going on and I just want to open up people’s eyes to something different,” Jones said. “I hope people just walk away thinking, ‘Oh, I never heard of this,’ or ‘I never ate this.’”
Senior Sasha Malcolmson said she has always been interested in Hispanic culture and was pleased to learn more about it. She prepped for the night by listening to traditional Spanish music.
“I’m really interested in Hispanic heritage and culture, and it’s kind of hard to get into things Hispanic if you don’t want to dance,” Malcolmson said.
Piansay said she was happy to share her Filipino traditions with other students.
The tinikling dance was something she learned in high school and has since been sharing with her fellow FCAT members in college.
And students can always learn more, she said. Even tinikling has both a basic and advanced technique.
“We just really took the most basic steps and then we showed them, [but] you can mix it up this way when you get more advanced, like when you know the steps and know the beat,” Piansay said.
Michael Gales, an outside student who visited Towson just for the Multicultural Dance Marathon, said he enjoys learning cultural dances because they can teach one so much about a culture simply through movement.
“I think dance is universal,” Gales said. ”You can put your own thing into anything so long as you’re staying on time, staying on the beat and counting correctly. And a lot of these dances are count-oriented, so if you just count you’ll be perfect at it. Even someone as goofy as me can do it.”
– Alena Schwarz contributed to this article