The Meranao epic ‘Pananadem’ premieres on March 12

Storytelling in chants and dances.

The New York premiere of Kinding Sindaw Melayu Heritage’s Pananadem (Remembering) will be presented from March 12-14 at 7 p.m. and March 15 at 3 p.m. at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre on 66 E. 4th Street.

Potri Ranka Manis, the founder and Artistic Director of Kinding Sindaw, will also lead a Filipino Indigenous Dance Workshop for La MaMa Kids on March 14 at 11 a.m.

Pananadem means “remembering” in the language of the Meranao people.  It is a way of looking back across time, to gain inspiration and perspective from one’s ancestors. In this tale, old and new align as a young group of refugees whose quest for inspiration leads them to a transformative encounter with displaced tradition-bearers who recall the legends of Derangen, the Meranao epic.

Potri Ranka Manis was born in Borocot, Maging in Mindanao, Philippines. The oral culture and tradition of legends, epics and myths that are told through dances, traditional chant called Bayok and extemporaneous vivid poetry called Kaparoonan of the Meranao. This was her everyday life as a child in Mindanao. The tribes interchange resources and barter in Mindanao.  This barter not only includes goods, but also culture, where welcome rituals, food rituals and healing rituals are shared. Dances and music are always the culmination of these cultural exchanges. She learned not only the beauty and the art but the harmony, but also sharing the values carried through generations by chants, dances, Kulintang music and weaving. She grew up in a remote village, one of the ancient sultanates from the 4th century, when the Philippines, as a state, did not yet exist. Storytelling that is danced and chanted are everyday entertainment in Potri’s childhood.  

Kinding Sindaw founder and Artistic Director Potri Ranka Manis.

Her learning process from these dances are through life cycles from birth, wedding, healing, and dying as well as responses to the lunar and solar eclipse, rain, planting and hunting seasons. The dances are taught nurturing the learner to put oneself in the story so they will not just copy the movement, but be the character in the story.

The dance movements are named after the patterns of the natural environment where dainty, firm but graceful movements imitate the waves of the ocean and the serenity of the lake. The flying movement of the Imuhen bird (bird of omen) is signified in raising and falling of the hands that is sometimes accentuated by the handwoven malong.

Overall the dances she teaches are not to entertain but to advocate for the intentions of these dances, sometimes an awakening call when living tradition is threatened by the encroachment of the corporate development and rob the indigenous of their land. She believes that in teaching and performing these dances, music and chants, the call for awareness will be more emphasized.

To buy $100 ticket to the Gala Reception and show, please go to To sponsor please email, and mail or bring a check for Kinding Sindaw, at 37-30 73rd Street, 5K, Jackson Heights, NYC.  

The Gala Host Committee is headed by Loida Nicolas Lewis. The members are Corky Lee, Myrna Gutierrez, Lara Gregory, Laura Garcia, Nelia Ferrette, Yasmin Dwedar, Melanie Dulfo, Stevenson Derodar, Antonio del Rosario, Darlene Borromeo, Ann Constantino Beck, and Marilyn Abalos.

© The FilAm 2020

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