Author ORCID Identifier

Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Alysia Ramos

Committee Member(s)

Harrod J. Suarez
Laura Jeanne Baudot


Pangalay, Tausug, Suluk, Sulu, Practice-as-research, Displacement, Dance performance, Philippine dance, Asian American identity, Filipino American


Previous research analyzes the legacies of various Philippine dances in the United States. This project seeks to describe the growing impact of the dance form pangalay, given its rising popularity among Philippine performing arts groups and among individual artists in the diaspora. Pangalay’s sustained, curvilinear style supports Filipino American dancers’ needs for physical well-being, relationship to colonized land, and expression of diasporic culture. Yet when pangalay is framed as a unifying dance aesthetic of Filipino identity, it obscures ongoing internal oppression within the Philippines as Christianized upper classes embrace the dance form yet cohere wealth by displacing Muslim groups.

To explore these tensions, this paper draws on the method of practice as research. Through a six-week creative process, my collaborators and I used choreographic tools to engage Philippine regional dances. We sought not to reproduce a unified cultural aesthetic, but rather to cultivate a practice of embodied honesty. We found that juxtaposition, off-rhythm from a Western musical standpoint, and improvisation, among other methods, helped us balance the values of cultural and technical specificity with concerns about displacement and the performance of national or diasporic identity. This process also required written and spoken acknowledgment of the ways we have borrowed and adapted movement for our own understanding as artists of Asian descent residing in the United States.

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