Saturday, March 17, 2012

Maria Clara Dances

Maria Clara Dances

Viewers and readers of this blog will be able to:
a. define Maria Clara Dance
b. discuss briefly the history of Maria Clara
c. cite examples of Maria Clara Dances

Maria Clara is the main female character in Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere, a literary piece that features the colonial situation of the Filipinos during the Spanish regime. She was characterized as a Filipina woman of virtue and nobility. This dance is a mix of Spanish gracefulness and customized native props, such as bamboo castanets and Asian fan. Female dancers wear Maria Clara dress that typifies the European style, while men are in barong tagalog, a traditional Filipino embroidered long-sleeve shirt made of pineapple fiber.

Maria Clara Dress
Maria Clara dress is an elegant formal outfit for women with clean lines that symbolize the virtues and nobility of a Filipino woman. It originated from the local baro't saya. It is one kind of traditional dress worn by Filipino women.


The Maria Clara is considered a mestiza dress because it is an ensemble combining indigenous and Spanish influences. The main parts of the dress are the baro, saya, tapis or sobrefalda, panuelo,inagua and a matching paineta, tamborin and zapatilla.
  •   Baro

The baro is obviously an improved version of the pre-Hispanic baro. The sleeves were made wider and bell-shaped to suit the hot climate of the country. Traditional textiles like abaca and daet where later replaced with imported finer textiles from abroad. Belgian laces became favorite adornments on the trimmings of the sleeves, sobrefalda and the panuelo.
  •  Saya

Saya literally means "skirt". The saya has also evolved from the lowly saya of old. It was hawever, made wider, flared and billowy. Several saya styles or cuts became popular in different Philippine regions. The very popular is probably the "panelled saya" where panels of strongly contrasting or coordinate colors are sewn alternately into a balloning saya. The favorite combinations are the black and white, and the black and red. Another saya that became very popular in the Northeatern Luzon and Zamboanga is the mascota skirt which is a wide saya with a moderate tail. The favorite mascota fabrics are big floral motifs and checkers. Very popular among the Pangasinenses and the Zambal women is the siesgo saya which is probably the least flaring of the many saya versions. The most extravagant is probably the saya called siete cuchillos (seven knives). The siete cuchillos is a saya made voluminous by doing seven bias cuts near the lower hip line and inserting same fabric to add volume. The result is an extravagant wide skirt. The most widely used in the Visayas particularly in Samar and Leyte is the saya serpentina which is bell-shaped and having a serpentine profile. The most popular saya worn during formal occasions is the saya de cola (skirt with tail). The train adds elegance to the whole ensemble that is why it is the favorite cut among the rich and elite. The cola or the train is either tucked on the side or at the back with a gold chain or held by the left hand by inserting a hem of the skirt to the ring worn on the left ring finger.
  •   Panuelo

The panuelo derived its name from the Spanish "paño" which means 'scarf'. The panuelo is a wide triangular scarf covering the back and fastened securely in the front by gold brooches or pins. The panuelo is the only Spanish-originating part of the Maria Clara ensemble. The panuelo is also called baksa among the Visayans, babarahin among the Tagalogs and kandungga or panyolon to the Waray people.
  •  Inagua

Slip also called sapad or binabaye
  •   Tapis

An overkirt also calle sobrefalda
  •   Paineta

A decorative comb
  •   Tamborin, Estampita or Escapulario
  •   Zapatilla

The dress is traditionally worn with a pañuelo (matching neck scarf) over the shoulders and accessorized with a delicate abaniko (fan), an ornament which adds to the overall feminine style and completes the Maria Clara outfit.
The Maria Clara dress became very popular during the Spanish era since its emergence in 1890. The name was taken from that of the heroine of the then recently published Noli Me Tangere. At present, it is typically worn during folk dance and theater arts performances that feature the rich cultural heritage of the Filipinos. It has become one of the types of traditional formal wear used during some political and social gatherings. It is also sometimes worn by brides at their weddings.

Example of Baro't Saya:

Example of Panuelo: 
Example of Paineta:

These are the Maria Clara Dances:

1. Cariñosa is a Philippine folk dance of Hispanic origin. It is closely associate with the island of Panay and the Visayas region in general. The word cariñosa is from the Spanish cariñosa meaning the affectionate one. Most Filipina women can be described as karinyosa. ;) 

This is a courtship dance that portrays acts of flirtation between a man and a woman. The dancers perform steps resembling hide-and-seek movements. The woman holds a handkerchief or sometimes a fan.
2. Aray - a dance whose words are sung in "Chabacano-ermitense," a hybrid of Spanish that was only spoken in the Ermita district before the turn of the century and today is extinct. The dance itself is a flirtatious one that involves graceful use of the pañuelo, or shawl, and tambourines. Aray means "ouch" in Tagalog. 
3. Alcamfor -The dance originated from Leyte, a province in Visayan Region. It is so named because of the handkerchief the girl holds laced with camphor oil, a substance which suposedly induces romance. 

4. Havanera de Hovencita -A wedding party dance which originated in the town of Botolan in the Zambales Province. Typical sequences include the procession of the bride and groom's parents, lineup of the bridesmaids and groomsmen upstage, and a solo featuring the wedding couple. 

5. Rigodon de HonorThis elegant dance was brought to the Philippines by the Filipinos who returned from their travels abroad during the Spanish era. This dance takes its name from its opening performances at formal affairs such as the President's Inaugural Ball. Members of government, including the President and First Lady, diplomatic corps, and other state officials usually participate in the Rigodon. Traditionally, a ballroom waltz dance would follow the Rigodon.
6. Panderetas - This dance is classified under Maria Clara Dances. It was named after the jingle-less tambourines carried by the females and it originated from Tanza, Iloilo. From December 16 to January 6, a group of people in the Visayan regions go from house to house to sing Christmas called "Daigon." In some regions the song is usually followed by some dances, and "Las Panderetas" is one of those dances.
7. Timawa - meaning "forsaken lover". Timawa is a courtship dance, usually performed by women, and is originated in Lamot, a barrio in Capiz. The story recounts of a man and a woman, both timawas, who met a social gathering and became acquainted with each other. In the course of their conversation, they discovered that they both had the same misfortune, therefore turning to each other for sympathy and comfort. 

Thank You for viewing & reading my blog! :))



  1. tanong ko lang po kung maria clara dance ba talaga ang "Panderetas'" kasi po natalo po kami sa isang Provincial competition kasi po urban dance po ung "Panderetas" kasi sabi ng judges ay maria clara dance daw. .pede po ba makahingi ng full literature ng sayaw?? paki send po ng sagot sa email ko. .sana po masagot niyo ang tanong ko. .tnx and GOD Bless. .

  2. ok lang po huminge ng literature nito? ang full literature.. sa email. add ko. thanks po.