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Kabataan Dance Group of St. Matthew School

In February of 2008, a group of Filipino parents from the St. Matthew parish in Seattle wanted to create a dance group comprised of their St. Matthew students to perform traditional Filipino folk dances they themselves grew up with.  Meaning youth in Tagalog, The Kabataan Dance Group originally consisted of 16 children who wanted to learn more about their heritage. What started as a fun-filled dance interpretation evolved into a budding interest in performing arts promoting cultural awareness, not just among the members, but also to the diverse audience that they perform to. 


Now in its ninth year of performing, Kabataan currently has 24 members ranging in the ages of 6 to 16 and is directed and choreographed by Nerie Roa with the help of Anne Olson-Calpe. The children not only learn about the Filipino heritage but they also learn how to follow instructions/directions, learn team work, and build their self-esteem. In the years passed, we have performed at the International Children's Friendship Festival in Seattle, Pagdiriwang as well as the annual St. Matthew Rainbow Heritage Festival. Kabataan has gained a following and this year was asked to perform at several other local festivals and schools including the Bite of Hale at Nathan Hale High School. Because of this, the group continues to grow every year.


The children involved in Kabataan love what they do; they do it because they have a sense of pride for the Filipino culture and they gain confidence and respect for others. They love to perform and want to learn and show their community their heritage.  We hope you’ll see Kabataan’s hard work and commitment. Sana’y magustuhan ninyo ang aming pinaghirapan! (which means we hope you like what we worked hard on). 

Danielle Abarientos

Ivan Alindogan

Isabella Alindogan

Sofie Angulo

Thamila Armous

Alexa Atienza

Andra Box

Ava Calpe

Rafel Calpe

Maida Camero

Santiago de Castro

Aliyah Doktor

2016 Dancers

Neylynn Duque

Yleanna Gardon

Isabella Gardon

Tia Kaz

Giullia Pretti

Elise Reyes

Ahana Rizvi

Juni Moraleja

Mariah Morales

Mia Roa

Jocelyn Shea

Theresa Truong

Dance Performances


(Luzon)The word Pagtatanim translates to rice planting. This dance displays the tedious work of bending the body and stooping forward for almost the entire day while planting rice. To ease the burden of work they sing, play and jest to the accompaniment of a guitar.



(Butuan, Batangas) The term “subli” is from two tagalog words “subsub” meaning falling on head and “bali”, which means broken. Hence, the dancers appear to be lame and crooked throughout the dance. This version is originally a ritual dance of the natives of Bauan, which is shown during fiestas as a ceremonial worship dance to the town’s icon, the Holy Cross. The costume includes a straw hat adorned with ribbons, which are waved about and tipped in salute to a copy of the Cross of Alitagtag set on an altar, or used to make other graceful gestures.



(Abra) Originated in Abra, this dance interprets a mock fight between Ilokano Christians and non- Christians with training sticks as props. It is traditionally performed during Christmas at the town plaza or from house-to-house as a caroling show. As a return, the dancers receive presents or money locally known as “aguinaldo”.


Pandanggo Sa Ilaw* & Oasioas
(Mindoro & Lingayen, Pangasinan) Pandanggo Sa Ilaw, meaning dance with lights, comes from Mindoro. This is the most difficult of all pandanggos. It is colorful and unusual; the female dancergracefully and skillfully dances with three "tinghoy" or oil lamps - one on the head and two on the back of each hand. Oasioas, meaning, "swinging" in Pangasinan, comes from Ligayen. After a good catch, the fisherman would celebrate by swinging and circling lighted lamps wrapped in fishnet. It is characterized by lively steps and clapping that varies in rhythm in 3/4 time. The lights of the lamps are said to represent fireflies that are fluttering in the night.


(Leyte) The "Tikling" bird is a bird with long legs and a long neck. The birds are considered as the worst enemy of the Waray rice farmers because eat the ripening rice grains. To prevent this, the farmers would place some bitik (called si-ay or patibong in Samar), traps made of bamboo to catch the annoying birds. The birds, however, would still manage to escape from the traps. The tinikling dance imitates the movements of the tikling birds as they walk through the rice fields and between grass stems and tree branches and escaping from the bamboo traps set by the farmers. Skill is demonstrated in dancing between the bamboos and in keeping the feet from being caught between the bamboo poles. There is much fun, however, when the bamboo players catch the feet of the dancers. This dance is a favorite in the Visayan Islands especially in the provinces of Leyteand Samar. The dance derived its name from the bird tikling because the dance steps are mimetic of that bird's movements.

The Maglalatik

(Biñan, Laguna) The Maglalatik is a mock war dance that depicts a fight over coconut meat, a highly-prized food. The dance is broken into four parts: two devoted to the battle and two devoted to reconciling. The men of the dance wear coconut shells as part of their costumes, and they slap them in rhythm with the music. The Maglalatik is danced in the religious procession during the fiesta of Biñan in Laguna as an offering to San Isidro de Labrador, the patron saint of farmers.

Sayaw Ed Tapew Na Bangko
(Lingayen, Pangasinan) Sayaw Ed Tapew Na Bangko means "dance on top of a bench originated in the Lingayen and Pangasinan of the Pangapisan Tribe. nowadays it is mostly performed during Town Fiestas. The dance step is quite simple but making sure both dance partners don`t fall down is the hard part, as they perform the dance on a narrow bench, hopping and inching and exchanging places from one end of the bench to the other side. It was originally performed by newlyweds during their wedding feast for their guests, the dance showcase both bride and groom and how they complement and help each other with the intricate steps making sure they don`t fall from the bench.This lively dance is native to the barrio Pangapisan. Good skill and balance is needed as the performers dance on top of a narrow bench.


(Tagalog Regions) This dance is a dance of floral garlands, dedicated to the Virgin Mary during the Roman Catholic celebration of their holy week and is performed widely during the month of early May. During this time, it is custom in many parts of the Philippines to celebrate the "Santa Cruz de Mayo," a procession usually followed by a social gathering in the house of the "Hermana Mayor." "Bulaklakan” refers to green orchids and other flowering plants. The girls in this danceeach hold a garland of leaves and flowers attached to a wire, bamboo or rattan so that the garland will arch when held overhead.  The town of Bulacan derived its name after bulaklakan because of the natural floral growth in that area. 


La Jota Moncadena
Moncada, Tarlac) During the Spanish period, Western European ways of life spread throughout the Islands. Along with them came European dances such as the waltz, fandango, mazurka, polka, and the jota. The Filipinos welcomed these dances and, by adding native flare and style, made them their own. Named in the honor of the heroine in Dr. Jose Rizal's novel, Noli me Tangere, the Maria Clara Suite captures the elegance and charm of the mestiza Filipina as well as the gallantry and boldness of the mestizo Filipino. Courtship, love, and flirtation are all evident in this suite of romantic dances. La Jota Moncadeña is one of the most famous interpretation and adaptation of the Aragonese Jota dance. People of Moncada, Tarlac, call it rather by a different name: Jota Florana. The Jota Folrana was danced to the Ilocano/Yogad bamboo musical instrument ensemble called tallelet. Dance anthropologist Ramon Obusan said that the Jota Florana was danced to accompany a bereaved family to the burial of a loved one. The high pitched clicking of the bamboo clickers are supposed to represent melancholy wails. The slow portion of the dance is in fact named patay (death) or desmayo (fainting) that is performed to a very slow marcha funebre. The Jota Moncadeña similar to other Filipinized versions of the Spanish jota is literally mixe-up in flavor. The costume and the graceful movements of the performers are noticeably inspired by Spanish Culture with added Ilocano dance steps.

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