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The Filipino Dancer in Happyland: Asserting ‘Filipino-ness’ in Dance Performance

Clarissa Cecilia R. Mijares


Movement is a repository of cultural knowledge and values and can be used to foster better understanding of identities. Using the symbolic interactionist perspective, this study presents the insights and interpretations from Filipino dancers of their bodily actions and gestures during dance performance. Data were gathered through fieldwork in Hong Kong Disneyland from July 2010 to March 2011. The performances of Filipinos in dance performances in Hong Kong Disneyland were reviewed and analyzed as a means of representation and embodiment of a Filipino habitus. The Filipino dancers’ performances illustrate that they are able to negotiate their Filipino-ness even within the context of highly-structured dance choreography and environment of Disneyland. Described in this paper are the unique characteristics of Filipino dancers in performance and as employees of a particular organization. The observed movement sequences show the nuances and differences between the performances of Filipino and Chinese dancers doing the same set choreography. These differences consequently lead to the construction of an identity of Filipino dancers in Hong Kong Disneyland in movement in dance.


Filipino identity; Filipino dancers; movement; dance

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