The dance has a similarity to classical Balinese and Thai dances, where it is also is the most distinctively Asian of all the southern Philippine dances because dancers must have dexterity and flexibility of the shoulders, elbows, and wrists – movements that strongly resemble those of "kontaw silat". The Malaysian art of Buah Pukul is classified as silat despite its Yunnan origin, kuntao is "way of the fist", from kun 拳 meaning fist and tao 道 meaning way. This term was originally used for Chinese martial arts in general. The Pangalay is predominantly performed during weddings or other festive events. The male equivalent of the Pangalay is the Pangasik and features more martial movements, while a pangalay that features both a male and female dancer is called Pangiluk.
The original concept of the Pangalay is based on the pre-Islamic and Buddhist concept of male and female celestial angels (Sanskrit: Vidhyadhari, Tausug: Biddadari) common as characters in other Southeast Asian dances.
A variant of the dance called Pakiring is practiced by the people of Mindanao, Sulu and Sabah. The dance emphasizes the movement of the hips (kiring-kiring), to mimic the movement of a butterfy. It is also called kendeng-kendeng in Tagalog speakers of Central Luzon.
Throughout the Philippines, a traditional song called Kiriring Pakiriring often accompanied this dance. The lyrics of the song is in the Sama language and are thought to have originated from Simunul, where the language is often spoken. The song became popular nationwide when it was re-recorded in the 90s under the title, Dayang Dayang; however some of lyrics have been changed and considered mainly to be largely gibberish since the altered words has no meaning behind them and were not related to any dialect or adage. The meaning of its name is lived to be referring to Hadji Dayang Dayang Piandao, the first lady of Sulu, since the word dalay-dalay was a title given only to the stepdaughters of the Sultan. Today, this version is widely known across the Philippines rather than the original but its origin and the artist who originally recorded it remains a mystery.
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- Jimmy Kulas (2001). Tarian Daling-Daling Bajau-Suluk: satu kajian kes di Pulau Gaya, Sabah [Bajau-Suluk Daling-Daling Dance: a case study on Gaya Island, Sabah] (in Malay). Jabatan Sosio-Budaya Melayu, Akademi Pengajian Melayu, Universiti Malaya, 2000/2001.
- Ismail Ali (2010). "Pembudayaan Lepa dan Sambulayang dalam Kalangan Suku Kaum Bajau di Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia: Satu Penelitian Semula" [Culturalisation of Lepa and Sambulayang among the Bajau Ethnic Group in Semporna, Sabah, Malaysia: A Review]. Sosiohumanika of Minda Masagi Journals (in Malay) – via Asosiasi Sarjana Pendidikan Sejarah Indonesia (ASPSI).
Accompanied by the rhythm of music and dance of the Bajau ethnic group, which is igal-igal or mengalai dance.
- "Tarian Tradisional" [Traditional Dance] (in Malay). Sabah Education Department. Archived from the original on 13 October 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
This dance is not the traditional dance of the Bajau community in the Semporna District, rather it is introduced by the Suluk people of the Mindanao Islands. The growing interaction between Bajau and Suluk communities causing the dance also becoming the traditional dance for the Bajau community living in Semporna. The word Daling-daling comes from the English word of darling which means lover. The dance becomes an entertainment at certain occasions with exchange of poem between male and female dancers.
- Severino, Howie G.; Caroline Cabading, Rolando "Bobby" Barlaan (2001). "Pangalay". Pangalay. Pusod. Retrieved 15 February 2007.
- Sabah Tourism Promotion Corporation (1 December 1993). Cultures, customs, and traditions of Sabah, Malaysia: an introduction. Sabah Tourism Promotion Corp. p. 77.
- "Tarian Daling-Daling" [Daling-Daling Dance] (in Malay). Archived from the original on 13 October 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019 – via National Department of Culture and Arts of Malaysia.
- Mercurio, Philip Dominguez (2007). "Traditional Music of the Southern Philippines". PnoyAndTheCity: A center for Kulintang - A home for Pasikings. Retrieved 15 February 2007.
- Orosa, Dr. Sixto Y. (1917). The First Lady of Sulu. Manila, The Philippines: The Philippine Review (Volume II, No I).
- Orosa M.D., Dr. Sixto Y. (1931). The Sulu Archipelago and its People. New York: World Book Company.
- The First Lady of Sulu. XXXIV. Manila: The Philippine Magazine. 1937.