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15 BEST PHILIPPINE FOLK DANCES (culture and heritage)

Step Music Used Counts / M per step Step Pattern


4M Cross-point, step; cross, step; cross, step, step; close
Bleking 2/4 or 3/4 1, 2, or 3 cts. heel-place, close
Change step (two-step, catch step or paso doble) 2/4 1M Step, close, step
Chasing or Close step 2/4 or 3/4 1 ct. Step, close
Chotis 4/4 2M Brush, raise, brush, raise; step, step, step (turn in place)
Contraganza 2/4 1M Leap, cross-step, step or Leap, cross-step, pause
Cross Change step 2/4 1M Cross-step, close, step
Cut step 2/4 or 6/8 1ct. Cut
Engaño with a close 3/4 2M Step, cross; step, close
Engaño with a waltz 3/4 2M Step, cross; step, close, step
Galop 2/4 or 6/8 1ct. Step, cut
Heel and toe change step 2/4 2M Heel-place, toe-point; step, close step
Mazurka 3/4 1M Slide, cut, hop
Mincing 2/4 or 3/4 As many M as required Step, step, step, step, and so on (tiny steps)
Redoba 3/4 1M Slide, cut, cut
Shuffling Step 2/4 or 3/4 As many M as required Slide, slide, slide, slide and so on (tiny sliding steps)
Slide close 2/4 or 3/4 1M Slide, close
Step-Hop 2/4 or 3/4 1M Step, hop
Step-Point 2/4 or 3/4 1M Step, point
Step-Swing 2/4 or 3/4 1M Step, swing
Sway balance with a point 3/4 2M Step, cross, step; point
Sway balance with a brush 3/4 2M Step, cross, step; brush
Sway balance with a close 3/4 2M Step, cross, step; close
Touch step 2/4 1M Point, close
Double Sway Balance 3/4 4M Step, cross; step, point; cross-step, step; point
Pivot turn with a point 3/4 4 or 8 M Point and turn, point-close; and so on
Waltz (native) 3/4 1 M Step, close, step
Waltz balance 3/4 1M step, close and raise heels, down

Benefits of Dancing

Regular participation in dancing provides fitness benefits and lifetime wellness.

Dance is a recreational activity which is a form of pastime entertainment.

  • People engage in dancing prevent lifetime diseases because of the health benefits it provides.
  • It makes people active that helps in the protection against overweight and obesity.
  • If a person is active, there would be a lower incidence of disease. The wide range of benefits that dance offers makes it a fun and exciting recreation.
    • Dance first began as a ritual
    • Some to show praise to god, others to mourn or express grief for a loved one.
    • Dance was also a form of ecstasy and entertainment
    • Celebration

Getting Started with Dancing

  • There are lots of different reasons to enjoy dancing because it can be performed in many places such as dance schools, social gatherings, community, and even at home. A person can dance on his/her own, with a partner, or in a group.
  • Dancing is a popular fitness activity that keeps body fit and active. The many benefits it offer opens an avenue to discover one’s talent. Since dancing is both competitively and socially, it can be a great option for recreation and even sporting choice which can be partaken by anyone of any age.
  • It is also essential to understand the nature of the dance because there are many things to be considered such as the gear, warm-up routines, and training procedures. To get started in dancing, simply choose the style you like to try and, most importantly, the one you enjoy most.

Before engaging in dance, ask the following questions to yourself:

  1. Will you dance to improve your fitness?
  2. Will you dance to improve your flexibility and coordination?
  3. Will you prefer to dance with a fast or a slow music?
  4. Will you dance with a partner, group, or on your own?
  5. Will you consider joining in dancing competitions or just dance and do it for fun?

Reasons to Participate in Dancing

  1. It makes a person energetic because of the movements it brings to the performer. Dancing improves body’s stamina and regular participation will greatly develop strength of the muscles and flexibility of the body.
  2. Beginner dancers may find it difficult especially if the dance requires challenging steps and to retain the routine.
  3. Mastery of the basic steps makes the performer learn more dance tricks which improves the mental health and confidence. The body will feel lighter that brings happiness and a healthy atmosphere.


Common Dance Terms

  • Arms in lateral position – both arms are at one side, either right or left, at shoulder, chest, or waist level.
  • Arms in “T” position – both arms at sides and bent at the elbows so that the upper arms at shoulder level.
  • Arms in Reversed “T” position – arms are side horizontal, elbows bent at right angles, forearms parallel to head, palms forward or facing inward, fists loosely closed.
  • Bilao – to turn palm of hands up and down alternately hands at waist level in front, elbows close to waist.
  • Brush – weight one foot, hit the floor with the heel of the other foot, lift from the floor to any direction.
  • Costados – when dancers are in square formation, the couples occupying the length of the hall are called “costados” or side pairs. This is of Spanish origin.
  • Hands on waist – place hands at the waist line, knuckles in, fingers pointing in rear.
  • Hapay – to flourish or offer a handkerchief, hat or glass of wine to somebody as a sign of invitation
  • Hayon-Hayon – to place one forearm in front and the other at the back of the waist. This is a Visayan term.
  • Kumintang – moving the hand from the wrist either clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. This is an Ilocano term.
  • Point – touch the floor lightly with the toes of one foot, weight of the body on the other foot.
  • Saludo – partners with feet together bow to each other, to audience, opposite dancers, or to the neighbors. This term is of Spanish origin and is used in almost all Philippine dances.
  • Salok – to swing the arm downward-upward passing in front of the body as if scooping, the trunk is bent forward the movement of the arm doing the “salok.” This is a Tagalog term.
  • Set – a dance formation like a square or a unit formation composed of two or more pairs.
  • Slide – to glide foot smoothly along the floor. The movement may be finished with or without transfer of weight.
  • Stamp – to bring down the foot forcibly and noisily on the floor (like doing a heavy step) with or without transfer of weight.
  • Step – to advance or recede by raising or moving one foot to another resting place. There is a complete transfer of weight from one foot to another


Francisca Reyes-Aquino

 Is the great “Mother of Philippine Folk Dances”

 “Mother, Dean and Champion of Philippine Folk Dances”

 She studied and analyzed step-procedures of dance literature of various folk dances and went to document dances in the farthest places of our country.

 Give quality effort of the folk dances with Asian Influence: Pangalay, Sakuting, and Tiklos.