Top Adsense

Binasuan Folk Dance History and Origin [Costume, Props, Music, Dance Steps]

Binasuan is a skill dance performed by women, which originated in Bayambang, Pangasinan. It may be performed in solo or in group.  The word “binasuan” literally means “with the use of drinking glasses.”

The dancer performs binasuan by balancing three drinking glasses half-filled with rice wine or water, one on top of the head and the two others on the palm of the left and right hand. Binasuan is a skill dance and the measure of expertise lies in the ability not to spill the wine or drop the glass as the dancer performs the various combinations of stances, postures, gestures, footwork, and swirls. 

Training is important to acquire dexterity with grace in executing the difficult movements, as the wine glasses are just casually placed on top of the head with no measure to fasten or secure it by any adhesive. Those placed over the palms are not allowed to be clasped by the fingers either. The technique developed through the years had been a trial-and-error process: To place the glass on the head in a stable position, put it on the flat part of the head which is between the head’s mid-scalp and the frontal regions. Keep the head straight, chin parallel to floor, eyes looking straight ahead. Then the dancer places one glass on her palm and another person must position the third glass on the remaining palm. Palms must always be turned upwards and slightly cupped to secure the glasses.  But no matter how levelled the placements are, it can only take long hours of practice to perform without spilling the wine or dropping the glass.

Binasuan footwork is a simple step-close-step with or without a tap, repeated in right and left. Another variation is the step-kick-tap in right and left. Group formations may be circular or rectangular, with dancers moving in unison. They can also form several columns based on the number of dancers, and then move into semi-circles or full circles. But as in any folk dance, dancing is spontaneous, and dancers may break into smaller groups to improvise on choreography based on the basic binasuan movement vocabulary. 

Various stances and positions of the body are standing, kneeling, sitting, and rolling on the ground. These positions are combined with continuous arm and hand movements, while maintaining the balance of the three glasses. 

Dancers usually start with the relatively easy combinations such as the standing position. Arms move forward and then sideways left and right, gently wiggling the hands as the arms alternately move sideways and in front. Then the dancer proceeds to a more difficult combination such as circling the hand overhead with the glass over the palm, and then twirling it again at hip level toward the backside in a seamless circular motion, each time carefully preventing the wine from spilling. This is done continuously in both left and right directions.

To show another level of difficulty, the dancer then executes the same alternating arm and hand movements in sitting and kneeling stances. From this relatively difficult position, the dancer proceeds to lie flat on the floor on her belly, while the upper torso is lifted upward. She then rolls over with her whole body sideways right and left in a continuous motion, while the arms and hands twirl the glasses overhead and at hip level obliquely toward the back, all in a graceful, regal, and seamless manner. 

Then the dancer goes back to standing position with glasses on the palms held sideward at shoulder level and turns continuously in place gaining fast momentum in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions. For a more challenging performance, some dancers add weights on the feet to make the movements harder to execute, and to increase the dancer’s stature as a skilled performer. 

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Province of Pangasiana declared Municipal Ordinance No. 16, 5-2017 of the Sangguniang Bayan of Bayambang, Pangasinan, adopting the Binasuan Dance as the Official Folk Dance of the Municipality of Bayambang, Pangasinan" 

Binasuan Dance Costume

Binasuan Dance Costume

Depending on the occasion, costume for binasuan may vary. The first choice is the simple kimona, a loose blouse with short, soft butterfly sleeves, and long skirt with floral prints. Another alternative is the balintawak, a casual rural outfit with skirt shortened to above the ankle, blouse with full butterfly sleeves, a pañuelo or scarf over the shoulders, around the neck or just hanging over one shoulder, and matching tapis or overskirt.  Dancers dance barefoot. Music in three-quarter time was composed by Juan Silos, Jr in combination with another folk song titled “Pitoy Oras.” 

The Balintawak outfit is characterized by its puffy sleeves resembling butterfly wings and short skirts. These dresses typically feature low-cut bodices, with patterns often including plaid or floral designs.

Historically, the Balintawak attire was commonly worn by Filipino women in the rural areas of the Philippines during the 1930s for outdoor activities and picnics.

This iconic costume is believed to have its roots in Antipolo, a city located in Manila and one of the Philippines' top tourist destinations. Antipolo is renowned for its Virgin Mary statue, attracting a significant number of tourists each year. It serves as a prominent Catholic pilgrimage site, providing context for the frequent visits by tourists.

From a folk tradition in a small village, binasuan has emerged as an internationally renowned dance form that many folkloric dance groups include in their repertoire. In both local and international circles, binasuan remains a favorite performance in recitals, in town fiestas, as well as in social gatherings such as birthdays and weddings.


Binasuan is a traditional folk dance in the Philippines known for its graceful and intricate movements. It is often performed at celebrations and gatherings, showcasing the dexterity and coordination of the dancers. The dance is typically done with drinking glasses in hand, and the name "Binasuan" actually means "with the use of drinking glasses" in the Filipino language.

Here are some key characteristics of the Binasuan folk dance:

  1. Use of Drinking Glasses: The distinguishing feature of Binasuan is that dancers balance drinking glasses filled with water on the palms of their hands, on top of their heads, and even on the back of their hands and elbows while executing various dance movements.
  2. Graceful Footwork: Binasuan involves intricate footwork, with dancers often performing intricate steps, turns, and spins. The combination of graceful hand movements with the balancing act of the glasses and the intricate footwork creates a visually captivating performance.
  3. Colorful Attire: Dancers typically wear colorful and traditional Filipino attire, which adds to the visual appeal of the performance.
  4. Celebration and Entertainment: Binasuan is often performed at festive occasions such as weddings, fiestas, and other celebrations in the Philippines. It serves as a form of entertainment and cultural expression, showcasing the rich heritage and traditions of the Filipino people.

Overall, Binasuan is a captivating and lively folk dance that highlights the skill, balance, and elegance of the performers while celebrating Filipino culture and traditions.


  • Balon Bayambang website. 2019. “Binasuan Folk Dance.” Municipality of Bayambang Pangasinan, Philippines Accessed 13 September 2019.
  • Kinney, Alissa. 2017. “The History of Binasuan Dance.” Accessed 14 September 2019.

No comments:

Got Something to Say? Thoughts? Additional Information?

Powered by Blogger.