Something for everyone
Michael Nokes | Friday, February 25, 2011
Allow me to entertain a hypothetical notion here. You. Saturday. 6 p.m., Stepan Center. You’ve just indulged in a dinner of fine Filipino cuisine and are settling back satisfied, wondering what this Fiestang thing is all about. The lights go down, a clanging gong sounds and chanting men clad in loincloths and ceremonial blankets take to the stage and begin to dance. One thing is abundantly clear: this ain’t America’s Got Talent, son.
As someone of far-too-European heritage, Fiestang has served as my entry point into the novel world of Filipino culture. After seeing the show last year, I decided it was something I needed to be a part of. Now, just before showtime a year later, it’s a decision I’m glad I made. Amid all the kind and welcoming members of FASO, I’m gaining a great picture of a colorful culture that can swing from wild and fun-loving to refined and elegant at the drop of a hat, and do it all without taking anything too seriously. Just among the dances I’m in, I get to perform a Polynesian-flavored number in which the members pound themselves and each other with coconut halves to form the rhythm, a wild chanting dance meant to invoke the movements of a rooster and an elegant waltz? At least, a waltz as elegant as can be while the performers bat at each other with slippers! It’s crazy fun, and this is just a tiny part of the incredibly varied program. (And did I mention the food? The food is SO GOOD.)
So, if you have the time on Saturday, come to Stepan at 5:30 p.m. and get a taste of Filipino culture, no experience necessary! You’ll be glad you did.