Frank Rabon spreads love for Chamorro dance - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Frank Rabon spreads love for Chamorro dance

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by Heather Hauswirth

Guam - Frank Rabon is known for perpetuating Chamorro dance. He started off as a Polynesian dancer and has since taught the children of Guam the art. Rabon's always had a passion for dance and started his career dancing at the Hilton Hotel on Tumon Bay. 

The Indigenous Chamorro Dance Book, which Rabon designed and authored, is the culmination of 27 years of research from his travels all over the world and is the first of its kind.  "To clarify, a lot of misconception of what Chamorro dance is about. As we know, the tourism industry does not portray Chamorro dances properly - they do Polynesian dances. Yes, we are related to our Polynesian brothers and sisters, but Chamorro people do have unique movements in their dances."

Rabon has taught Chamorro dance in Saipan, Rota and the U.S. today he even oversees a Chamorro Dance Academy in Japan, and on island he teaches classes at the Barrigada Community Center and during the week he teaches dance to JFK High students like senior Camrin Santos, who has been dancing for the last three years.

Santos said, "Chamorro culture's dying little by little, and this is one way to bring it back."

Rabon says the book helps recreate the indigenous aspect of Chamorro culture lost through colonialism, but that it includes various adaptations of outside influences such as the Spanish and American influences.  "It gives you a step-by-step on how to do footwork, arm positioning, basic steps, and it gives you words commonly used in Chamorro music modern or music now or original chants and how to interpret them using your hands," he explained.

And Rabon says he also consulted the elders for his extensive research, but that the living elders say their most vivid recollection of Chamorro culture through songs, dance and chants stems from the Spanish influence that came to the island after 1898.  Yet reinvigorating the youth and passing on tradition is the ultimate goal, as Jolene Marie Quitugua, another JFK senior, said, "The fact that its different and I learn more about my culture doing it...it's a way to represent who you are."

200 printed copies of the Chamorro Dance Instructional Manual will be on sale to the public starting March 16 at GPO in Tamuning from 6-9pm.

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