Monday, March 25, 2013

Snippets, episode 032513.

"We talked about our voices as writers--how we are strong and brave but how as people we are wimps. This is what creates our craziness. The chasm between the great love we feel for the world when we sit and write about it and the disregard we give it in our own human lives." - Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones (Freeing The Writer Within)

I got that book quote from Ian when we were hanging out with Betty at the Filvadro a little over a week ago. I can so relate to that.

And with that, more snippets.

"Ma'am, wala ka ba kahit konting pagtingin kay _____?"
[Feigns "meh" expression.]
"Pero kung manligaw kaya siya, papayag ka?"
[Maintains the same expression] "I'm open to it."

[While looking at fist] "Malaki pala puso ko."
"Pano nagkasya diyan si _____?"

[Overhearing a conversation about the disadvantages of dating a partner.]
"Bakit parang may natatamaan diyan?"

"Magde-date lang kayo eh."
(Believe me, if we were dating, you guys would be the first ones who would know.)

Yes, I'm a wimp. But it's mostly just because of certain given circumstances that, if things happen to develop, there would probably come to a point where I have to choose between two things.

Oh, the trivialities of a torpe girl.

Monday, March 18, 2013

On my first syllabus competition.

Two Saturdays ago, I joined the Philippine Dance Teachers Association's (PDTA) Syllabus Competition. My first ballroom competition ever.

Ever since I had agreed to join the syllabus competition, I had been coming to the dance studio every weekday to train with my partner, Myrone, and then worked as an usher for a show (which had just closed a couple of weeks ago) during the weekends.

There were so many days when I start doubting myself, that I'm not pushing myself enough to what was expected of me. There were even times that I felt that I was getting worse instead of better, and I kept asking myself if I had improved at all because of all the endless notes from my teachers, and even from my partner (and sometimes from the other scholars). Heck, there was even one night that I broke down and cried while having a conversation with Myrone via text because of all the frustration, stress and pressure that I was feeling, plus the fear that I might end up disappointing our teachers, and even him as my partner, who had put so much time and effort to help me. And to add to that, I started having trouble with the arch of my right foot, which kept hurting whenever I stand on the ball of that foot. I think it got strained or something. Mommy Val had said it was because it was the first time I was actually using the technique, and my feet just weren't used to it. During simulations of the competition during the evenings, I somehow kept flubbing every other figure, so Myrone had to keep stopping and we had to start all over again. When Sir Brando had noticed this, he told us to just keep dancing all the figures without stopping, as there's not much time left to keep polishing my technique. Eep.

I have to say, props to my partner for being a total professional. He loves to wack out and joke around outside the studio and outside class hours, but was so serious and strict with me when it's time to practice.

The day before the competition, I finally had my costume altered and ready, and we were allowed to leave the studio early after practicing so we could get some rest before the big day. I recall that I was a major bundle of nerves because I was anticipating everything that could possibly happen during the competition, but I didn't dare show it to anyone.

Mommy Val had offered her van to pick us up at Makati Cinema Square early on Saturday morning. I was the first one there, and once Myrone had arrived, we had breakfast in KFC, and Kuya Ed and Jayson caught up with us while the others were in McDonald's. We all piled up in the van once Mommy Val had arrived, though we had to wait for a while until Carmela had arrived. After picking up Alvin in Guadalupe, it was straight on to the Meralco multipurpose hall.

We were practically the first ones there, so we got first dibs on the tables and chairs in one corner of the holding area and started getting ready. It was quite an effort to put my short hair up, so Mommy Val helped me. I can't wait for my hair to grow back long again. Touched up my makeup and finally got dressed, and then we started warming up.

Mark and Abby were there to coach us, so when Myrone and I started practicing on the actual dance floor every time the waltz and tango music played, Mark was the one who observed us and gave us notes after each run. But every time I see the other participants dancing, my almost non-existent confidence level dropped even more. But there was no turning back now. I guess I just had to wing it.

When Myrone had claimed our kit (that contained our number, our certificates of participation, plus the order of the events in the competition), my eyes bugged out when I saw that "Adult 1-dance waltz" was the very first event. Holy kamote. Standard category was up first, waltz then tango then the rest. Then I noticed that that first event said it was only the semifinals. From 9 couples, we were to be cut down to 6. Will we make it with my sloppy technique? I was afraid to show how nervous I was, so I decided to put that nervous energy to use by latching on to the nearest familiar person's arm and put pressure on it like a stress ball. My apologies to those people's arms, hahaha.

Supposedly, the competition was to start at 9am, but due to so many glitches and whatnot, it kept delaying that I even had to apologize to Aris and Karla who had come all the way to watch. When it was announced at noon that the program would start at 1pm, I had heard that Mommy Val had spoken to the PDTA people that if we didn't start right away, our entire team would pull out from the competition. My goodness, what's with all the disorganization, anyway?

We started lining up for the parade. We were supposed to line up following a specific order, but because our entire group has a banner representing a whole team, we got group together. Haha, yes, Team Le Bran has a pretty blue banner. When we were all out on the floor during the invocation until the opening remarks, I somehow found myself flexing and pointing my feet for a final warm-up before the actual competition began.

I knew that my performance in the semifinal round of the waltz was bad. No connection at all. But I was grateful that my right foot never failed on me when it came to compression so I never collapsed. I wasn't optimistic about getting into the finals, but Myrone just said na babawi na lang kami sa tango. That did it. I froze. My nervous energy came out differently. Ugh. I tried to make up for it by keeping in character.

To my relief, we were called out again to the floor for the final round of the waltz. We actually made it? Wow. Game on!

I have to say, when working in the office, 5 minutes feels so quick, especially when we're conducting surveys with people. During this competition was the first time I felt how long a minute and 30 seconds can be. Amazingly, my right foot almost never gave me any problem. But once I had taken off my shoes and settled into my flipflops, there came the pain. Ugh. Parang pinagbigyan lang ako para makasayaw sa competition. I guess that's still a good thing, right?

Because all my events were done, I could finally relax and watch the rest of the competition. I cheered on and supported the other members of our team. We chuckled at how the solo male events were almost all composed of team Le Bran, what with those blue long-sleeved shirts both in standard and Latin, ahahaha. We laughed at the "extra adjudicator" (Kuya Ed) that turned up during the Argentine tango events, and joked at how it somehow bored us (no offense to those who love the Argentine tango). During a lot of "petiks" moments, I went back inside the holding area for any remaining food I could get my hands on.

Because the competition started pretty late, the whole program ended pretty late. The boys had to leave by 8pm to make it in time for a booking, while the rest of us stayed until the end so we can receive the awards, plus the boys' awards on their behalf.

Myrone and I placed 4th both in the waltz (4th out of 6 couples) and the tango (4th out of 4 couples). We didn't even make it to 3rd. I was somewhat disappointed, but I didn't really mind that much because it was only my first competition. I had started studying the standard discipline only 2 months ago,  and had only 3 weeks of training for the competition, so being ranked fourth wasn't so bad. It only means that I can still do a whole lot better for when the next competition comes around.

My heartfelt thanks go out to Sir Brando, Teacher Belinda and Mommy Val for encouraging me to push myself to keep going, and for all the knowledge that you had imparted and had kept sharing in class as well as during training for the competition. Thank you as well to my partner, Myrone, whose patience had most likely been pushed to its limits when it came to helping me out with my technique, for pushing me to do endless drills, for all the notes and even the side comments that I had to take, the additional lectures during our walks after class, for bearing with my frequent pessimism, for lifting my spirits up when it's time to just wack out, and for driving me crazy during the most random times by picking on me and for driving me crazy just by being his annoying self (wahahaha). I also extend my thanks to the other scholars who gave additional notes when they're there just so they can help me as well.

This was an entirely awesome, yet tiring experience. But I know it won't just stop here. It's time to set the bar a little higher.