The Scene: Ati-atihan Lives

The York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) and The Department of Dance York University, in community partnership with United Alkanon Association of Toronto and Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture present:

Ati-Atihan Lives A documentary film by Patrick Alcedo

Poster for the documentary film, Ati-atihan Lives by Patrick Alcedo

Screening dates: March 17th (Sunday) 2-4pm March 19th (Tuesday) 4-6pm

Venue: McLean Performance Studio (Studio F) Accolade East Bldg. 224 (2nd Floor) York University 4700 Keele Street Toronto, Canada

$5 suggested donation will go towards the education of aboriginal Ati children

For more information, contact: Patrick Alcedo or Alicia Filipowich

Ati-Atihan Lives

A documentary film by Patrick Alcedo

Without fail, residents of Kalibo, the capital town of the province of Aklan in the central Philippines, celebrate with their visitors and guests the Ati-atihan festival every third week  of January to honor both the indigenous Atis and Santo Niño, the Holy Child Jesus. Here Aklanon Patrick Alcedo brings together lives of four participants—disparate in the everyday but interlocked during the Ati-atihan through streetdancing and their understandings of dance as prayer and an embodiment of cultural identity.

During performance the businessman Henry Villanueva becomes Michael Jackson, the retired ballet teacher Augusto Diangson cross dresses in the image of a Folies Bergère chorus girl, and the balikbayan (returnee) Cecile Motus transforms herself as a Hmong dancer. Such are their ways of expressing their Roman Catholic faith and gratitude to Santo Niño for the many blessings they have received. In contrast is Imelda Chavez, an indigenous Ati who is a Protestant and therefore is not a devotee of Santo Niño. Participating with other Atis, and accompanied by her daughter, she streetdances for the first time to remind the public that the Ati-atihan festival is also about them.

Ati-atihan Lives offers a complex and moving picture of a community’s religious beliefs that though different from each other are similarly linked by power, politics, and the enduring cultural and historical influence of the West. Partnered by these participants, it illustrates what it means to practice those faiths in relation to others, especially to those who are still socially marginalized.

About Patrick Alcedo:

Patrick Alcedo is Assistant Professor in the Department of Dance at York University in Toronto. He is a recipient of the “Young Professional Award,” given by the Filipino Centre of Toronto, for his outstanding contribution to the Filipino-Canadian community. Currently he holds Canada’s Social Science Humanities Research Council Research/Creation grant for his work on performance, immigrant identities, and emotional labor among Filipino caregivers in Toronto.