“Dancing in all its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one must also be able to dance with the pen?” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
I have been dancing ever since I can remember. My earliest would be when I was 6 years old. Yep, that picture of mine below was taken during a school program and we were dancing in the tune of “Da Coconut Nut” by the Smokey Mountain.
It is a Hawaiian-themed dance number. Quite a number of dance presentations followed after that and yes, I must admit, I became a member of most of the dance numbers in our school. Which would be synonymous to this – exhausting and yet fulfilling. I have performed in school plays too but it happened only once or twice. I am just not that good with acting. Sorry. 😦
As with declamations, I gave an oratorical piece in the vernacular as well as in English thrice or so. But again, not as much as compared to writing during essay contests and dancing. I just loooooove dancing!
When I was 12 years old, the Folk Dance Troupe in our school (where I was a member) was requested to participate in the Literary Musical Contest. We won in the District level (participated by the schools in Bulan, our town) as well as in the Zonal level (participated by the nearby schools in our town) and we were able to compete at the Division level (which comprised mostly of schools in our city).
When I was in high school, I became a member of the Folk Dance Troupe led by and under the coaching of our ever graceful and ever beautiful, Ms. Malou Lanuza and been performing since 1st year until 2nd year. It was through her where I learned that dancing is not just a mixture of steps and poses. But it is more of a skill that you slowly craft to create a beautiful masterpiece. You give a piece of who you are to your dance – an expression of who you are. It was through our dance trainings with her that I got to learn all about dedication to dancing and to be diligent in perfecting the moves. We would practice from 8am until 5pm in the afternoon everyday before the day of the presentation. The end product? Fluidity in movements (balance and timing) and perfection of grace, poise, aura and performance.
During my Junior and Senior years, I quit dancing as I joined the CAT (Citizen’s Army Training) and became an S2 Intelligence Officer of the Corps. We had to spend two years doing community service, drills on a hot Saturday, exercises and exams. I started missing folk dancing at this point but I also look forward to the kind of training that the CAT would provide. Below is a photo of me during the Officers’ Induction Night.
Anyway, if you have noticed, it was mostly folk dances where I got to perform. I also know ballroom dancing or social dancing (tango, cha-cha, rumba and samba) but not as much as folk dancing. In the provinces, folk dancing is usually more common and more popular than social dancing.
Our costumes for the folk dance numbers would be the traditional costumes of the Filipinos: the barong (for boys) and saya (for the girls) and the Maria Clara gown/dress. You can check this link for more information regarding the history of the Maria Clara gown which is our national costume as well.
I never got the opportunity to dance again when I entered college due to lack of time and I was busy with the school requirements. It was only after graduation that I have decided to dance again. Yes, I thought it will be a good way for working out as well since I am stuck with an office job and I badly needed the exercise. But I did not try folk dancing this time. I tried something quite new and difficult – street dancing.
Oh yes, it is indeed the complete opposite when it comes to form, beat, style and techniques. I was totally blown away but IT WAS FUN. 😀
Learning something new, for me, is and will always be fun. Anyway, I got to learn just the basics only, unfortunately. I had to focus on the heaps of workload and I was extremely exhausted every after I get off from work at that time. But given the right schedule, I definitely will go for street dancing, once again.
But surprise, surprise. YES, my wish was granted. The UP Street Dance Club in my alma mater, the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City sponsored a workshop as a fundraising event. My schedule? So free and available to reserve a slot! Wohoo! I am glad I was able to hit the dance floor again after 3 years of hibernating. Whew! This time, I got to contribute for a good cause too. Indeed, the wonders of answered prayers. 🙂