The 'Sinulog' Dancing of Cebu City, Philippines: A Semeiotic Analysis

Ness, Sally Ann (1987) The 'Sinulog' Dancing of Cebu City, Philippines: A Semeiotic Analysis. Doctoral thesis, University of Washington.

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The specific focus of this study is the meaning of the several performance processes of the sinulog dance of Cebu City, Philippines. "Meaning" is the consequence of representation, which involves a medium of some kind. The medium observed in this case is human body movement. The study tests a new method of observation and analysis that combines the use of Laban Movement Analysis with Peircean semeiotic analysis. The interpretive method used in the study integrates detailed observations of the performance process of sinulog dancing with both informant commentary and anthropological observations of the performance context. The writings of Alfred Kroeber, Gregory Bateson, and Victor Turner are discussed in order to show that human movement observation can be seen as a necessary part of the symbolic analysis of dances. An ethnographic semeiotic analysis of the three forms of Cebu City sinulog dancing summarizes observations of the performance itself, relates these observations to informant interpretations, and analyzes semeiotic processes operating through the performances. The dances are recognized as informing the understanding of such cultural terms as "lihok" (movement), "kinasingkasing" (sincerity), and "halad" (sacrifice). Other signs apparent in the performance processes represent such patterns for social action as the traditional guest-host relationship. A general meaning of the dancing for the Cebuano ethnic group is its symbolizing indigenous religious practice. The three forms together can be seen as a sign of a resilient Cebuano life style and world view. The value of the orientation assumed in the study is its capacity for integrating information concerning both contextual and stylistic elements of the dance performance. The results of the study indicate that the style of a distinctive performance process does carry cultural meaning and therefore merits close and accurate observation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Catholicism, Cebu, Cebu City, cultural performance, cultural performance criticism, dance, dance criticism, Philippine history, Sinulog
Depositing User: Machine Whisperer
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2017 08:25
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2017 08:25

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