'Father of Dance' Ramon Obusan honored near Father's Day
National Artist for Dance Ramon A. Obusan (left); Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company
Basilio Esteban Villaruz,  grabbed from CCP, 'The Encyclopedia of Philippine Art;' CCP/Released

'Father of Dance' Ramon Obusan honored near Father's Day

Jade Yamanaka Gime (Philstar.com) - June 17, 2021 - 6:37pm

MANILA, Philippines — Yesterday, the country remembered the birth anniversary of National Artist for Dance Ramon A. Obusan. 

Born in 1938, Obusan was both a graduate of Marine Biology and Cultural Anthropology from the University of the Philippines. In 1964, he became one of the dancers of the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company. 

Unable to contain his fascination to develop the country’s indigenous dances, he established his dance group in 1972 called the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group (ROFG).

In commemoration of his 83rd birth anniversary, ROFG held a live stream presentation of “One Man’s Impossible Dream: The ROFG Story," an article written by his younger sister, Dulce, for a commemorative book “Lakbayin ang Sining,” which centers on his pursuit of witnessing the quintessential folklife of the people. 

“One Man’s Impossible Dream: The ROFG Story” was streamed on the Facebook page of Ramon Obusan Folkloric Foundation, Inc. last night. You can view it here

Meanwhile, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) remembered him in a Facebook post.

“Today, we commemorate the birth anniversary of National Artist for dance Ramon Obusan. Ramon Arevalo Obusan was a choreographer, dancer, and scholar. Through the ROFG, Obusan was able to mount folk dance productions based on his painstaking research in traditional folkways from Aparri to Jolo, Sulu,” the Facebook post read.

“His productions include full-length presentations, notably Kayaw ’68 and Kayaw ’74. Kayaw (headhunt) is a two-act staging of the dances of the Cordilleras, set against a giant stairway to simulate the rice terraces. It is considered one of Obusan's signature folk dance choreographies."

The caption of the post is an excerpt from the essay “Obusan, Ramon A.” by Paul G. del Rosario and Basilio Esteban S. Villaruz, with notes from Sarah Lumba, CCP clarified. 

The National Commission for Culture and Arts also honored the National Artist. 

“Remembering National Artist Ramon Obusan on his 83rd birth anniversary. Ramon Obusan was a dancer, choreographer, stage designer, and artistic director. He achieved phenomenal success in Philippine dance and cultural work. He was also acknowledged as a researcher, archivist, and documentary filmmaker who broadened and deepened the Filipino understanding of his own cultural life and expressions,” the Facebook post read.

His legacy stands alive through the ROFG, which remains a conveyor of the country’s culture and traditions through folk dance and music. 

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