Basic Steps in Rigodon Dance

By Alissa Kinney

The Rigodon—also called Rigodon de Honor—is a traditional dance from the Philippines that evolved from dances brought to the Pacific islands by Spanish settlers in the sixteenth century (the Rigodon dance was also said to be popular in French and Spanish courts). Historically, the dance is meant to represent a certain sense of elevated status among those who take part in it, and is often performed at galas, balls and other formal occasions celebrated by the rich and powerful, especially those in government.

First Basic Rigodon Steps

The steps of the Rigodon are meant to be performed gracefully and elegantly; participants should have excellent posture and complete their steps crisply and almost rigidly.

In the Rigodon de Honor, couples usually stand in a square and each couple starts by facing the couple across from them. The couples move to the center of the square to bow and curtsy to the dancer of the opposite gender standing across from them intermittently throughout the dance.

The couples elevate and join their hands, keeping their hands like this throughout the dance, with the exception of the times they are bowing or curtsying to the opposite couple. They then perform a series of quick jumps in place before couples on two opposite sides of the square formation come to the center of the square to meet each other, bowing and curtsying as described above.

Additional Rigodon Steps

Keeping in time with the music of the Rigodon (a quick-timed beat called a quadrille), dancers complete a series of turns, jumps, and "parade" gestures, in which the male shows off his female partner. The dance can last as long as ten minutes, with the steps described repeating over and over.

About the Author

Alissa Kinney is a full-time professional in the communications field, with an AB from Brown University and an MA in Writing & Publishing from Emerson College. She has years of experience as an editor and writer, and has been published in The Blue Doors, Our Town Brookline, Art New England and Body + Soul.