JAN. 12 holds a bittersweet memory for the Talisay City Division.
On this day last year, the team mourned the untimely demise of its assistant choreographer.
To pay tribute and to commemorate his first death anniversary, Talisay’s performance during the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan last Saturday was centered on praying for eternal rest.
While death may be an uncommon theme for a grand, kaleidoscopic festival like the Sinulog, Talisay took the plunge and performed what judges described as a “risky” concept.
For taking the road less traveled, the team won its sixth grand prize award for the 2019 Sinulog sa Lalawigan and took home the P350,000 cash prize.
Except for the best in costume category, Talisay City Central School also won the street dancing and best in musicality awards.
“Every Monday, I go to the cemetery to light candles and to offer a mass. According to a friend, the souls of the dead are very generous. As part of a tribute to my right-hand man, we were able to connect everything for our performance,” said Marvey Caño in Cebuano. Caño is Talisay’s head choreographer.
From last year’s wide array of 10-foot shelves of life-size sweets, the team brought on stage this year a backdrop of tombs, a coffin and large funeral wreaths.
Although these were generally associated with grief and gore, Talisay’s presentation was anything but gloomy.
Their performance told the story of a grieving family and how their continued prayers helped their loved one find eternal peace during his journey in the afterlife.
“Although the main character called for a man, I used a homosexual because my assistant was a homosexual. He liked to make an offering during the Sinulog, which ended up stressing him out and that was why he didn’t make it,” Caño said in Cebuano.
Just like last year, from the start of their performance, Talisay was the crowd’s favorite when it performed its Sinulog-based routine during the ritual showdown.
The dancers also did their signature three-time costume change. They started with purple cloaks that were replaced by a gray terno, until they switched to their blue and silver Filipiniana gowns and blue barongs for the boys.
For the next seven days, the 100 dancers, 50 instrumentalists, 800 props men who will carry the panels and other installations, will work double time to bring another feat to Talisay’s name.
Caño said they’ve been practicing since December and that they are not showing signs of slowing down on their road to victory.
“For the grand parade (on Jan. 20), naa pa mi reserve concepts na wala pa napakita (we have something up our sleeves), but we will still have to seek the advise of the judges,” he added.
But aside from a distinct concept, it was Talisay’s charm and the fluidity of its performers’ movements that helped them win their third consecutive grand prize win.
This, though, did not mean that the team’s performance was perfect as judges suggested some key areas where Talisay and the other four contingents could improve on.
Rodel Fronda, chairman of the board of judges, advised the contingents to do away from focusing too much on the pageantry of colors and props.
“All the contingents have done their best, but we want them to highlight as well the ritual veneration in their performances. Nawawala na kasi yung actual dance (gets lost), maybe because of the play of colors and props. It’s a dance offer for Señor Sto. Niño, so we look forward to that,” he said.
The board of judges, in general, asked the choreographers to ensure sustainability in dance routines and to do away with props that were irrelevant or overpowering.
They also cited fixing wardrobe malfunctions, keeping a consistent color scheme, maintaining the momentum of the performances, and exploring movements and transitions.
Other winners in the ritual showdown were Carcar City Division in second place with P300,000 plus P20,000 for the choreographer; Tribu Malipayon of Consolcaion in third place with P250,000 plus P15,000 for the choreographer; Sining Sto. Niño Folkloric Troupe of the City of Bogo in fourth place with P200,000 plus P10,000 for the choreographer; and Tribu Ginatilanon (Ginatilan) in fifth place with P150,000 plus P5,000 for the choreographer.
For the Best in Musicality award, second place went to Carcar City Division; Tribu Malipayon of Consolcaion in third place; Sining Sto. Niño Folkloric Troupe of the City of Bogo in fourth place; and Tribu Ginatilanon (Ginatilan) in fifth place.
Best in Costume was awarded to the Carcar City Division.
As for the street dancing competition, Carcar won second place, followed by Tribu Malipayon of Consolcaion in third place.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, Sinulog executive committee head, reminded spectators and contingents, to help maintain cleanliness by throwing their trash in the proper bins.