Cebu choreographers among those greatly affected by the pandemic
MANDAUE CITY, Cebu – More than a hundred festival choreographers in Cebu were left without a source of livelihood when the pandemic started early in 2020.
But unlike the other sectors of the society, they were not getting much attention by the government, said Marvey Caño, spokesperson of the Cebu Choreographers Association.
“Luoy na kaayo ang mga choreographers. Pila ka buwan na mi nga walay pangita kay wala na ang mga festivals,” he said.
(Choreographers are very pity. we have not been earning for months now because there are no more festivals.)
Caño said that aside from the choreographers, a lot of families also depend on them for livelihood.
The contingent from Talisay City, which he handled in the 2020 grand parade, for example, had more than a hundred individuals working to come up with a Sinulog entry.
Working as its artistic director, he also had a head choreographer and around 10 dance masters working under him. The group also included a musical director and instrumentalists, props marker, costume makers, cooks, and drivers who were paid for their services.
“Daku kaayo nga industriya ang naapektohan,” he said.
(The industry has been affected so much.)
Caño lamented that while the drivers sector, for example, received cash aid from the government, they barely got any help.
Sinulog Ritual Showdown
The announcement that the Cebu City government made on December 23, 2020 that this year’s Sinulog grand ritual will push through gave them hope. At the same time, pushing through with the Sinulog will allow them to continue their annual panata to dance for the Holy Child.
Preparations were immediately made.
Caño, the resident choreographer for the cities of Talisay and Toledo, said that they identified means to also safeguard their performers while they prepare for the ritual showdown that was originally scheduled on January 17.
During his practices with the contingent from Toledo City, Caño said they made sure that their assigned gymnasium was for their exclusive use. They also had a standby temperature scanner, alcohol, and masks for their performers use.
Proper markings were placed on the bleachers to especially ensure compliance with the social distancing policy.
Their performers were given a daily dose of vitamin C while a monitoring committee was formed to constantly check on their health condition.
He said that the Toledo City government also prepared an isolation booth should one of them would show symptoms of the coronavirus disease.
A plan to assign buses that will ferry their performers to the venue of the ritual show down at the South Road Properties (SRP) in Cebu City and bring them back to Toledo City after they dance on the Sinulog stage was also in place.
But all their preparations will have to be set aside with the decision of the Cebu City government to suspend the January 17 ritual showdown and reschedule this during the 500th year celebration of the arrival of Christianity in April.
“Daghan kaayo ang nasakitan,” he said.
(Many were pained [with the postponement].)
Still, they are looking forward to the month of April to finally showoff their preparations and collect their fees, which they will also use to pay off loans that were made during their preparations and pay the honorarium of their personnel.
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