By Monette C. Ventura
I was sitting on the fourth row while waiting for the Mutya hong Butuan talents night competition. I was with family and neighbors because it was supposed to be a barangay affair.
All the candidates came and represented their respective villages-the barangays-all over the city.
Everyone, I suppose, came to cheer their candidates, but to us, small group of neighbors and relatives, our candidate was the prettiest and the most talented!
As always, speeches from city officials came first. Thanks God they were short and encouraging talks. Me and my husband (who’s not from Butuan) was excited even more as we listened to the young congressman who said we would be seeing the best of Butuan’s cultural expressions from the lovely candidates.
We all anticipated and eager to see and experienced ethnic-inspired dances, songs and many other performances that best expressed our creativity as a people by the river of Agusan.
And who best to express them than the fairest and most intelligent young ladies?
Finally, I thought, we will once again see our best natural resource–our talents and creativity– as assured by the gentleman-lawmaker. A time to witness our true selves and be proud.
True enough, the show began with a solo ethnic performance by a male performer, a baylan, or tribal priest I assumed. But that was it and nothing authentic followed.
We waited and waited because all that followed were string of foreign dances from the candidates, either in small groups or in “chorus line” type.
I try not to lose hope, maybe each candidate will perform solo and highlighted with a showcase of her real distinct talent ( maybe an oratorical piece in Butuanon dialect, acting, even painting or playing the piano, etc.)
Shouldn’t this be how we see real talent in the field of performances other than showing off legs or body form or as one said behind me, “pa-cute-cute ra man sila.”
Here’s one more from a gentleman beside her,” Asa man ang mga talents? (where are the talents?) talents ba diay nang nag-sige lang og sayaw-sayaw nga walay istorya?” (translation: is dancing with no meaning all there is to it?)
Good question, I believe. All we saw were the candidates dancing the Tahitian and Ballroom and what else. I have nothing against these dances, they are beautiful, energetic dances but they do not reflect our unique heritage.
The show ended up as nothing new, nothing cultural but a cheap imitation on commercial TV. We have this all the time, every day-on prime time TV.
We expected to see the candidates individual moments on stage, no matter how short it is but to be highlighted and recognize by her uniqueness and ability, a gift other than her physical beauty and charm.
And as a society, we have the choice to honor and celebrate it.
So where did all the talents go and what was the night all about? Answer: There was none. I am sorry to say this but as one of the audience wanting to see something authentic and real, the evening was empty.
But on second thought, and this is perhaps the saving grace, it was more of a western-inspired dance festival (minus the Tahitian).
And the dancing and the dancers, the candidates went away with it-in victory! Such fine dancing, so much fire and energy. Like Hollywood in fact.
Congratulations to the choreographers and all the performers. They showed great professionalism.
But maybe we need an appropriate time and intention next time?
Photos Psyche Ross Dy/ FSUU Intern