The steps in Philippine folk dances use the basic principles of concert dance and ballet, adapted to Filipino dances so that every part of the body flows gracefully with fluid movements expressing energy, joy, merriment, and often performed during a celebration or fiesta.
Binasuan - This spirited and animated Philippine folk dance initiated in Bayambang, Pangasinan province displays the balancing abilities of the entertainers. Glasses that are half-filled with rice wine are held in the hand or placed on the head while the dancers twirl and move across the floor.
Cariñosa -Using a flirtatious demeanor, this dance is accomplished using fans and handkerchiefs to help the dancers hide their movements. A friendly, affectionate, lovable woman is often described as a Cariñosa.
Kuratsa - These steps in Philippine folk dances depict a young mischievous couple as they try to get the attention of each other and is normally carried out while celebrating festivals in Bohol and other towns in the Visayan region.
Itik-itik – In Surigao del Norte province there was a young woman named Kanang (Cayetana being the formal name), who was the foremost singer and dancer at the time. At a particular party the guests asked her to dance the Sibay, a Philippine folk dance. During her performance she improvised the dance steps and started copying the movements of itik, or a duck, which uses small jerky steps as it walks, splashing water on its back and trying to appeal to its mate. Everyone enjoyed her version of the dance so much that they all copied her.
La Jota Manileña – As the name suggests, this dance originated in Manila sometime near the turn of the 19th century. It was adapted from the Castillian Jota of Spain. Bamboo castanets are held by the fingers and clicked together while performing elegant movements and steps in Philippine folk dances.
Maglalatik - Biñan, Laguna is the place of origin of this particular dance which is a war dance portraying the battle between Moros and Christians concerning latik, the remainder of a coconut after the milk has been removed. Utilizing coconut shells as a part of their costume the all-male dancers wear red to symbolize the Moros and blue to symbolize the Christians.
Pandanggo sa Ilaw – Coming from Lubang Island, Mindoro in the Visayan region , these steps in Philippine folk dances are a well-known dance that requires grace and balance. Pandanggo was coined from the Spanish 'fandango', a ¾ beat dance defined by energetic strides and hand clapping. These incomparable and vibrant steps in Philippine folk dances necessitates skill to balance an oil lamp on the head while at the same time having a lighted lamp on each hand that is wrapped in cloth.
Pantomina – Initially a wedding dance originating in Albay province, it is now popular at many social functions. This 'Dance of the Doves', portrays doves during courting and making love.
Sakuting - In the beginning this dance was only performed by males from Abra province and is a dance of the Ilokano Christians and non-Christians. It represents an imitation fight using sticks to train for battle. Performed at the town plaza or house-to-house during Christmas, on-lookers give the performer gifts, or 'aguinaldos', such as refreshments or money.
Sublian – the word Subli is traced to the 2 Tagalog words 'subsub' (hunched over or in a crouching position) and “bali” (broken). Consequently the male dancers look to be crippled and twisted throughout the. These steps in Philippine folk dances are a preferred dance of the people in most of the populated areas of the district of Bauan, Batangas, during the month of May and while the town and barrio fiestas are celebrated.
Tinikling - Known as the national Philippine folk dance, Tinikling is a Visayan dance originating in Leyte. This interpretation of the dance is done with dancers jumping and skipping between a pair of bamboo poles as the poles are banged together matching the rhythm of the music. Dancers copy the tikling bird’s fabled gracefulness and swiftness as they chase each other, hop over tree branches, or avoid bamboo traps set by rice farmers. Therefore, the bird, tikling is its namesake.