Francisca Aquino was a champion of Filipino Folk Dance and was recognised as the first National Artist for Dance in 1973.
Francisca Aquino (nee Reyes) began her search in 1921 for folk dances to use in classes in Physical Education. Looking initially in the countryside around Manila, she had seen that with the impact of Western culture many dances would be lost or extensively modified.
Little material on dances existed in writing. Over a period of two years she made trips to remote barrios in Central and Northern Luzon making careful notes of their unrecorded forms of celebration, ritual and sport. In 1926, her thesis became a published collection entitled Philippine Folk Dances and Games, arranged specifically for use by teachers and playground instructors in public and private schools.
Francisca married Professor Ramon Tolentino, Jr in 1934 , then Assistant Director of the Department of Physical Education, who shared her dream of promoting Philippine folk dances in the physical education curriculum of schools.
In 1934 and 1935, Aquino studied native dances in Mindanao, Leyte, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra and Mountain Province and recorded songs with the aid of a recording machine.
After the death of her husband in 1939, she married to Serafin Aquino in 1947, secretary-
9 March 1899
to 21 November 1983
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