Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Udol Dance

The Udol is a ceremonial dance performed by the Tagacaulo and the B'laan people of southern Davao. It presents a tale of death and revenge. The dance begins with three women entering with votive torches, mourning the death of a relative. Following them are men playing a long wooden musical instrument called the udol [also called edel or gudol]. The women express their grief eloquently with such actions as wielding spears and pounding the udol in anger in a rhythm that contrasts with the steady beat of the music. Then a male priest dances and invokes the spirits to guide the soul of the deceased. Finally, two spear-bearing warriors arrive and dance wildly in a circle before leaving for the woods, apparently to take revenge by securing their enemies' heads.