Maria Clara for the 21st Century: Filipino Responses to “Neo-Colonial” Encounters

José Miguel Díaz Rodríguez


As an example of a postcolonial critique to certain hegemonic Spanish discourses in the Philippines, this essay examines the practice-as-research dance piece Love, Death, and Mompou (2006), which was a revision of the traditional María Clara dance suite. It argues that the show uses the expressiveness of the body as a trigger to subvert, re-represent and perform a range of “colonial” discourses that were reinforced by Spanish cultural producers, through funding policies, such as the Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation. In this context, this essay argues that these policies echo a colonial past by influencing the local arts scene, and by establishing what can be perceived as a “neo-colonial” relationship between Spanish official institutions and those local artists involved in the arts events.


arts funding; dance; María Clara performance; Philippine-Spanish relationships; postcolonial studies

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