Authors: Dr. Declan Patrick and Dr. José Miguel Díaz Rodríguez
The Maria Clara Suite is a set of Philippine dances that date back to the 19th century, when the islands were under Spanish colonial rule. They are part of the Filipino folkloric canon, and have been considered as representative of the nation. Although the Maria Clara Suite has remained static for many years, recent contemporary shows have explored new ways of understanding the dances. The results have been the acquisition of new layers of meaning, displayed in public performances, which became in most cases sites of resistance against traditional narratives. This paper examines some of the possibilities that can occur when cultural products, such as performances featuring the Maria Clara dances, are explored through an interdisciplinary lens. It argues that in order to understand the new approaches to the performance of these Philippine dances, an interdisciplinary approach can be used. Through examining research projects that have created an intersection of interest between them, Declan Patrick and José Miguel Díaz Rodríguez discuss different ways they have investigated specific performances of Philippine folk dance. This includes aspects of postcolonialism, cultural politics and performance theory. Iterations of this research have included performances, public talks and published academic writing. This paper explains how ideas can flow through these different disciplines and interactions, enriching the body of research in each case.
Keywords: component; Filipino Folk Dance, Contemporary Performance, Cultural Politics, Spanish-Philippine Cultural Relationships, Philippine Postcolonial Studies, Practice as Research