From War Dance to Theatre of War: Moro-Moro Performances in the Philippines

Briones, Nikki S. (2010) From War Dance to Theatre of War: Moro-Moro Performances in the Philippines. Doctoral thesis, National University of Singapore.

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The Moro-Moro is a form of theater premised on battles between Christians and Moors performed in village fiestas in the Philippines from the Spanish colonial period to the present. This study analyzes the changes in form and substance of the Moro-Moro as it is uprooted from the village setting and taken to new audiences in the present. It uncovers the Moro-Moro's "choreographic logic", which links the present performances to those of the past, and paves the way for a better appreciation of a misunderstood and much criticized theater genre. The study decenters the script, and pays closer attention to dance and how it structures the composition, production, and consumption of Moro-Moro plays. By anchoring the discussion on the Moro-Moro's "choreographic logic", its affinity with Southeast Asian theater styles is re-affirmed, and its rootedness in indigenous aesthetic sensibilities is emphasized, showing how the theater is not merely a Spanish import. The thesis also shows how new performances are now being used to send messages of nationalism and peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims, which departs significantly from the traditional message of the superiority of the Spanish race and religion. What was once a symbol for colonial baggage is now revalued as national heritage in the Philippines.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: dance, dance criticism, moro-moro, Philippine history, theatre, theatre criticism
Depositing User: Repo Admin
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2017 12:26
Last Modified: 12 May 2017 14:46

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