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Music and Performing Arts:Dance

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Philippine Folk Dances Book 1 -- Collected and Arranged by Francisca R. Tolentino, Tolentino, Francisca Reyes
1 Tolentino, Francisca Reyes Philippine Folk Dances Book 1 -- Collected and Arranged by Francisca R. Tolentino
No place [Manilla?] No Publisher 1934 First Edition Softcover Very Good- 4to 
Unpaginated pages; Original binding: yellow tan flexible wrappers with lettering and an image a woman in traditional costume listening to a man playing a guitar; black fabric along the spine. A worn, but sound and complete copy of a rare publication, mimeographed from a typescript and drawings on rectos only, with pagination only in some sections. The title page states: "Collected and Arranged by Francisca R. Tolentino" -- frequently referred to as the "Mother of Philippine Dancing. Date is approximate (not recorded in the book). While there are recorded books by Mrs. Tolentino under her maiden name as early as 1927 (the published version of her Masters thesis) and much later, through the 1960's and '70's under her second married name, (Francisca R. Aquino) -- this publication is not in OCLC, not in COPAC, and not recorded in the carefully prepared catalogue of the National Library of the Philippines. The only mention I can find anywhere on the internet is repeated in several blogs concerning the Carinosa, (National dance of the philippines): "The first ever published notation of the Cariņosa dance steps was from the book Philippine Folk Dances and Games by Francisca Reyes-Tolentino (later became an Aquino). Mrs Tolentino's master's thesis which [sic] have the same title was revised and was later published in 1927. However, the most common of the many Cariņosa found in the country is the one from the book "Philippine Folk Dances v1" by Francisca Reyes Aquino, published sometime in 1940. The version integrated all the common dance figures among the many versions throughout the land." There is a further hint of the nature of this publication in the final paragraph of the author's introduction: "In response to a widespread demand for more "new" materials in Philippine folk dances and music, this work is done and put together in memeographed form. The author sincerely hopes that this would serve as the nucleus of a new book that may be published in the near future." Two facts suggest a logical date range of 1935-1939. Francisca Reyes was born in 1899, and was an experienced teacher and published academic by the time of her marriage to Ramon P. Tolentino, Jr. - in 1934. Mr. Tolentino was then Assistant Director of the Department of Physical Education, at the University of the Philippines. U.P. President Jorge Bocobo backed the substantial costs of Mrs. Tolentino's research proposal to travel throughout the Philippines to learn and record dances which the encroaching modern world would soon erase. These funds enabled her, her husband and a University colleague, Antonio Buenaventura, to study native dances in Mindanao, Leyte and Mountain Province and record songs with the aid of a Victor recording machine. The expedition gathered material on 38 folk dances and 33 songs and airs. This research inspired compositions by Mr. Buenaventura and other members of the music faculty and a number of public performances which President Bocobo enthusiastically endorsed. An even more ambitious travel program was undertaken by the team in 1935. Sadly, Ramon P. Tolentino died in 1939. The acknowledgement leaf of this mimeographed publication mentions both men, but the author's thanks are not phrased as one might do in the case of a husband and collecting partner who has just died. And soon enough after 1940, life in the Philippines was transformed by the difficult times during World War II. The biography of Francisca Reyes Tolentio/Aquino prepared to accompany her 1962 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service suggests that even a "home-made" production like this mimeographed volume would have been impossible: -- " As a widow she weathered the difficulties of the Japanese Occupation, exchanging clothes, furniture and silverware for rice ..." After the war, the author married Serafin Aquino, then secretary-treasurer of the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation, who became an enthusiastic collaborator in presentation of his wife's work concerning the recording and preservation of the dances of the Philippines. She used the surname "Aquino" for the rest of her life, and died at the end of 1983, full of honors and awards, including being named a National Artist of the Philippines (the first in the field of Dance). The National Library of the Philippines has six volumes of a series: "Philippine folk dances / Francisca Reyes Aquino. - [Manila] : [Department of Education], 1953- - 6 v. : ports, musical score ; 26 cm." This series probably represents the fulfillment of the author's hope expressed in the Introduction to this rare preliminary version -- "a new book that may be published in the near future." World War and Japanese conquest of the Philippines postponed that "near future" for nearly fifteen years. Since I cannot find another copy recorded anywhere, it seems worth the space to describe the contents of this mimeographed publication in greater detail. There is a title page, reproducing lettering by hand and a drawing of a dancing pair [the signature suggests that this may be the work of Lucio San Pedro, of the U.P. Conservatory of Music]. This is followed by a Table of Contents, two leaves of Introduction, a leaf of Acknowledgements, 2 leaves of "Compiled Excerpts from Authors" and a list of Abbreviations -- all reproducting typescript. There follow 8 ff. of drawings with hand-lettered captions, depicting regional costumes, head-coverings and hats, and dancing shoes for women and men -- all reproduced via mimeography. The following 11 ff. are devoted to technical descriptions of dancing terms and steps [one of these leaves is bound in upside-down]. The final section is designated "VIII. DANCES AND MUSIC." This section, 47 ff. is the heart of the book, with detailed descriptions of the nature and steps, including leaves of musical notation, of 10 specific dances. This copy is worn, with a bit of soiling and very minor chipping and erosion at the corners of the front cover. The black fabric spine is frayed and missing a bit of material at each end. Two of the leaves in section "VIII" show considerable browning -- the rest have toned slightly, but there are no tears or damage. No marks on the covers or the text of any sort. We cannot assert that this rare survivor of the preliminary edition of this important compilation is unique - but we can find no evidence that it is not. 
Price: 150.00 USD
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