Bryan Levina Viray – The Bati as movement of sacred gathering in Salubong


Bryan Levina Viray

University of the Philippines Diliman

The Bati as movement of sacred gathering in Salubong

This presentation inquires how the narratives of devotion to the Virgin Mary heavily influence the choreographies and compositions of the bati (greeting) dance in salubong (encuentro) in Marinduque and Angono, Philippines. The salubong is a re-enactment of the first meeting of Jesus Christ and his sorrowful mother popularly known as Mater Dolorosa after his death on the cross. As the devotees gather, the dancers greet and wave flags for the Virgin Mary to signify the transformation of her sorrow to joy as the angels sing alleluia. The presentation explores how dancerly attitude in salubong could be an act of gathering for the devotees, and also a source of grounded movement analysis, focusing on the intertwined attitudes – the bodily attitudes, affective, spatial, and the physical dimensions of dance and dancing. The bati as dance movement, conditioned and presupposed by the religious Marian devotion and conceived as contradictory in the everyday flow, is experienced by the dancers themselves as unnatural or dancerly. 

Key words: dancerly attitude, salubong, Marian devotion, sacred gathering

Bryan Levina Viray is assistant professor of theatre and dance studies at the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts (DSCTA), College of Arts and Letters, University of the Philippines Diliman. A recipient of the 2019-2021 One UP Faculty Grant Award in Theatre (Performance Studies) for Outstanding Teaching and Creative Work, his essays on ritual, dance and performance appeared in and published by Routledge, Springer, 2018 CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Journal of English Studies and Comparative Literature, Philippine Humanities Review and Journal of Ugnayang Pang-Agham Tao.

Format of Presentation: The presentation can be an essay reading with showing of video performances, or performative where I can sing the Ave Maria (Regina Coeli) song and demonstrate some of the movement motifs or dance patterns.

Link to the full essay: Bryan Levina Viray, ‘Greeting the Virgin Mary: The Dancerly Attitudes of the Bati in Salubong’, Journal of English Studies and Comparative Literature, 18/1, 2019.

Bryan Levina Viray – Bati as Movement of Sacred Gathering – ADSA Conference 2020 – Video, styling, and video editing by Paolo Guillermo
Viray, B. (2012, April 27). holy week 2011 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://
Robni2007. (2010, May 16). Angono Salubong 2010 part4 [Video file]. Retrieved