Monday, June 24, 2013

Step Up To Freedom

It's the first time this year that I had lost my voice. I usually lose my voice at least 3 times a year. Oh welp.

So Step Up To Freedom was a great success. Sure, I had to sacrifice a lot of hours of sleep, but it was all worth it.

Before the weekend began, we coordinated all of our schedules for the Friday evening DTR, and for the day of the actual show on Saturday.

I had a huge feeling that I was about to lose my voice on Thursday evening, so I didn't even bother to dilly-dally with the others after rehearsal. On Friday morning, I was losing my voice by the hour at work. My voice had already changed at the end of my 4-hour shift. By the time Lebran class had rolled around, my voice had gotten worse. Thank goodness the Argentine Tango class got cancelled, so we spent the entire vacant time just hanging out in the studio to rest before we had to leave for Treston at 3pm. Myrone and Joms then took advantage of the time and the wifi to check out the Spurs-Heat game. After lunch, I just couldn't resist the super cold temperature so I snuggled into my jacket and just dozed off on one of the benches in the studio.

Our first batch (Sir Brando, Mommy Val, Myrone, Joms, Ate Deth, Baby Yo, and me) left at around 4pm for Treston. Then when we got to the venue, we started organizing the holding room for assigned dressing areas, hung wires where we can put our hangers on, distributed the costumes to each dancer's dressing area, and all that jazz.

I can only sum up that evening in a few words. Long wait. The DTR was supposed to begin at 8pm, right after setup was finished. But because setup got way too delayed, what time did we begin the DTR? Past midnight. And we ended at around 3 in the morning. My goodness, we ran through all the dances, WITHOUT air conditioning in the venue, but we all managed to barrel through everything. Some were already feeling nervous, and this was just the DTR. I told them that it's better to feel nervous now than during the actual show.

Tired, sweaty, and sleepy, we hauled ourselves back home. Thank goodness I easily managed to get a ride after Kuya Arnold had dropped me off at the EDSA-Ayala.

Because we had cancelled the Saturday morning Lebran class, we had a little more time to rest up before the big day. Our call time at Treston was at around 2pm, so we had agreed to meet up at MCS at around noon. Eventually it got extended to 12:30, hahaha.

The Nestle wives were already there at the holding room when we had arrived, having their hair and makeup already done by Ate Deth and Abby's mom. After settling in, we all got ready ourselves. I was still fixing my stuff to get ready when Abby had asked me how I was going to do my hair. As I already have my wig for the Bali Ha'i number, I would just put my hair up in a bun for the rest of the performance. But I had no idea how to properly do it, so thank goodness Abby had offered to help. So thank you so much, Abby girl. The bun stayed in place under my wig, and even until I got home.

Next, time for makeup. We occupied the big corner of counters in the ladies' room and got to work.

Now, I don't really hold a big collection of makeup as I'm not really that much of a kikay girl, but I did bring everything I can. And as expected, the girls dove into my makeup bags like some of them had already done when we were getting ready for the Dutch event last month. I was really particular about people using my makeup, because of the use of my own brushes and sponges. Thank goodness I came prepared and brought extra sponges, and let the girls also use the sponges in the compacts because I use my brushes instead. But this time, I kept a close eye on everything, in case I lose something, or even the whole bag (like what happened at the syllabus competition).

The time flew by when we were in the holding room, just getting ready, adding final touches, and all that stuff. Soon we were asked to go "backstage" to our quick change area, bringing along our costumes for the rest of the first part of the show. I had everything already set on the lid of my wig box, so I just carried that plus my costume.

I had no idea what time the actual show began. I was just suddenly aware that the invocation had already started playing, and we were all standing outside the door, ready to make our first entrance. Amazingly, I wasn't feeling even the tiniest bit nervous. Not even the night before. Is this normal?

During the first part of the show, I was actually enjoying the time on the floor. It felt different from my other performances in theater. Before, I was always nervous, I kept barreling through everything, and wanted to get everything over and done with, even though I had just started. But this time, it was the total opposite. I loved being out there with the other scholars.

There were videos shown all throughout the show. One was a video from last year's IDance event, and another of the interviews of some of our tenured scholars (Abby, Kim, Joms, Myrone, Alvin, Carmela, and Mark), plus footage of all of us in rehearsals, featuring each and every one of us. It was so amusing and surprising to see it, and I had to laugh when my name was spelled wrong (it's Christine, not Kristine).

The first part of the show ended with a bang, all due to that really good Latin number by most of the scholars.

The second part featured the cultural segment of the show. The rest of us who weren't part of Carinosa (the Viennese Waltz) had to stand by on the other side of the floor, as we had to enter from there for Aray, which was the next dance. While "waiting in the wings," I got to watch the Viennese waltz in amusement. It was beautiful, and the ladies' costumes (though not a fan of orange, I loved the design) moved so prettily that it was one of the few reasons I somehow wanted to dance in it.

After Aray was Mommy Val's Paseo de Iloilo dance with Sir Brando, Kuya Mauw and Mark. And immediately after that, Mommy Val went up onstage to give an inspirational message about the scholars. She called us to walk back onto the floor, and gave such a heartfelt message that brought tears to everyone's eyes. I swear, I'm not a crier, and most especially in public, but her message telling us that we were her heroes really touched me, and it took so much effort to keep my tears from spilling.

Our last dance numbers were back-to-back performances of the sayaw sa bangko and the tinikling, then the subli. From the very start, everyone had so much energy. Even though there was at least one minor fall in the first dance, the whole thing was almost perfect, and there was ample time for the 6 dancers to get into position for the final pose. And as for the tinikling, I remember Jayson and I had discussed the timing and positions with Myrone several times before the show because we had flubbed up the entire routine along with the dancers during the DTR the night before. Amazingly, the whole routine was perfect, right down to when we had to raise the bamboo poles over the dancers before the dance ended. Awesome! Even in the subli, even though I almost lost my footing near the end, I do believe I still gave it my all.

After the Magandang Gabi curtain call was our Lebran finale, and even though the whole thing was over, I never felt myself losing any amount of energy (despite the fact that I was still lacking sleep for about 2 weeks).

And just like that, the show was finally over.

By the way, super thank you to Erik and Josh who came to watch the show! Thanks for the awesome support and for hanging out with me at Starbucks until Erik was ready to crash.

I enjoyed this entire experience, as this is my first real show ever as a dancer. Even after losing so many hours of sleep, I'm so glad our hard work had finally paid off. I'm so grateful to IDance Foundation and Lebran Dance Fitness Experts for this awesome opportunity. And another good part about this? Unlike in theater, there are no withdrawal symptoms or separation anxiety, because I know I will still see these dancers every day.

Mommy Val's message to us during the show was so touching, as she had told us that we were her heroes. Mommy Val, I'd like to think otherwise. You, Sir Brando, and the rest of the Lebran team are my own heroes. I never could have kept on pursuing dance without you guys. Everyone's so supportive of each other that I've grown to love everyone. Here's to Lebran DFX and more shows to come.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Gearing up for Saturday's show.

There's only less than a week to go before our show. This is actually my first official show as a scholar, and I'm actually excited. We've been rehearsing, practicing and polishing our dances, and I don't really mind all the late nights, even if I still have to go to work early in the morning.

Before we had to leave the Guico unit at the Grove during our outing a couple of weekends ago, Mommy Val had asked us to write about our core-giftedness and dreams, as it will be included in the show's souvenir program.

I got to read all of my fellow scholars write-ups when I was tasked to photocopy them for Ma'am Ying. I realized that I was still somewhat well-off compared to them, and I really should consider myself lucky and be grateful at that. I may not have a sob story to tell unlike some of them, but what was similar among all of us is our passion to dance, and that somehow this avenue gave all of us some direction in our lives, regardless of how young or old we all are.

I remember certain reasons why I decided to keep on pursuing ballroom dancing. I loved my work in theater as an assistant stage manager, yet I don't think I would want to cut it as an actual stage manager in a big production. And of course, there's also that feeling that I forget everything that I've been thinking and worrying about when I dance, even just for one hour a day. And yes, one of those trivial things that I shouldn't even be thinking about involved an old flame. So I then used dancing as a means of escape, until I eventually fell in love with it completely.

Anyway, let's go back to the present, shall we?

We were told to rehearse our 3-minute costume change on Friday evening's rehearsal, and because our first number was Bali Ha'i (the Polynesian hula dance), we needed to rehearse fixing our hair from wearing it down to putting it up in a bun. Because I was still growing out my super short hair, I was thinking of getting either extensions or a wig from Landmark. When I told this to Mommy Val, she offered to bring her extensions, but because it has a different hair coloring, she said that I might have to color my own hair. It's a big no-no for me because I don't want to color my hair while I'm growing it out. But thanks to Roan, she gave me a really great tip off.

So that was how I ended up at the toycon at the Megatrade hall, and got a really nice wig at a discounted price. Super thanks, Roan and Lynelle House of Hair Fashion!

Yesterday was a pretty long day. We were first divided into 2 groups during the morning. Some of the more tenured scholars were taken to Rockwell to be interviewed for the show by Miguel (one of Mommy Val's twin sons) and Kerstin, while the rest of us stayed in the studio to polish our dances. When we were all together in the afternoon, it took 2 trips to Treston College for our dress rehearsal that evening, as we also had to transport the wooden benches (for the sayaw sa bangko) and the bamboo poles (for the tinikling).

We were taken to the big holding area upon arrival, and once we all had settled in and the costumes were organized, we all picked out our respective places and started getting ready for the dress rehearsal. Thank goodness I came prepared with dance shorts, because our costumes for the Bali Ha'i number were simple wraparound pieces of cloth, so it was easy to take a peek even though the fabric was already pinned together.

Anyway, after we were dressed, most of the time was spent just camwhoring and such. Miguel and Kerstin were just there, taking photos and videos of us prepping up, practicing certain dances and stuff.

The dress rehearsal began a little past 8 in the evening, and we ran through the entire part 1 of the program with little adjustment. It's nice how we all easily managed to pull off the quick changes. We didn't take a break anymore in between the two parts of the program, and went straight to part 2. After our first couple of dance numbers, we all ended up changing costumes immediately until I had remembered that we weren't supposed to change costumes just yet, and reminded the others about it. Thank goodness Sir Brando just noted it and kept going. Maybe we'll rehearse it in the dress tech next Friday anyway. The cultural folk dances seemed a little more tricky, but I was pretty grateful that we had polished those dances earlier that day.

After the entire dress rehearsal was done, we got to eat our late dinner outside the venue, then headed back to the holding area to fix all of our stuff before we called it a day.

So this is will be my first official performance as a dancer, and it would be very nice if some of you guys would come watch.

The event is a fundraiser under Idance Foundation, called Step Up To Freedom. It will be on Saturday, June 22nd, at Treston International College in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Cocktails will be served at 4:30pm, show proper will begin at 6:00pm. If you're interested to buy tickets, just text me or leave me a message on my Facebook.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Back from a month-long blogging hiatus.

My goodness, I haven't updated this blog in a month. Was I that busy? Yes, actually. Other than my part-time job in the early morning, I've been spending most of my waking hours at the dance studio 6 days a week.

I had mentioned in my previous blog post that we've been prepping up for a show under the I-Dance foundation, which will be coming up on the 22nd. There will be a Latin routine, a couple of standard routines, plus a Polynesian hula dance and even some cultural folk dances. So yes, despite the fact that we scholars are ballroom dancers, we had to learn to dance the Polynesian hula plus some had to do some local folk dances.

There were a few times when there was a missing female dancer either in the Viennese waltz, and even the salsa, that I had to fill in for that person. I had no problem dancing the salsa, because it's one of my favorite social dances, plus I've been to every practice session. It's the Viennese waltz that I had a little problem with because I never got to watch or sit in during their practices, so every time I had to fill in for someone who wasn't there, I always had a hard time to keep up with the steps, even if my partner for that day did all his best to lead me.

One time, I had told Abby I hoped that they will be complete on one upcoming Saturday. She, in turn, told me that I shouldn't be complaining about filling in for anyone because it's a good opportunity to learn all these dances to hone my dancing skills. She did have a point, but I wasn't really complaining. I guess I just didn't want to look like a fool during practice, and even more, make my partner look like a bigger fool of himself.

Other than that, I'm having fun despite the long hours of staying in vicinity of Makati Cinema Square, inside and outside the dance studio. It's been pretty fun hanging out and bonding with the people I'm always with, regardless of their age.

To cap the summer, a bunch of us planned a swimming outing. Initially, we had planned to take a day trip to Sea Breeze, but one day, Abby had brought it up with Mommy Val, and after we had hung out at Mommy Val's unit in Rockwell, plans had changed and Mommy had suggested a different plan, which was an overnight outing, this time at The Grove.

So after our Saturday practices, we all headed to Magallanes to hear the anticipated mass, then we were off to The Grove. We spent the evening crammed in the Guico apartment, eating, drinking and watching TV until the wee hours of morning. Then after breakfast the following morning, we headed off downstairs to the pool for a day of swimming.

If you know me well, you know that I'm not very comfortable baring my skin. I'm very insecure when it comes to my body. Especially when this group had started teasing me by calling me "crispy pata" due to my thunder thighs that's not proportional to the rest of my body. But even with that, I guess there's no other choice because everyone was baring it with their swimwear, so I had to deal with it.

Speaking of dealing with it, it's a perfect segue to my next topic. So I recently got friendzoned again. And yes, it was the same guy I was talking about in a blog post a couple of months ago. So yes, I have to deal with seeing him and working with him practically every day of the week, and with the fact that he knows that I like him doesn't make it much easier because he believes that avoidance is the easy way to keep the teasing at bay.

Seriously? Avoiding me? How can we possibly work together with that? To avoid the teasing, I do my own share of trying as much as possible to be far away from him as I can, but sometimes I feel offended because even though it can be a possible resolution to lessen all that teasing, it's like he's not even respecting me as a person anymore due to his actions. Turning his back to me when I try to talk to him, being the only person in the room not being greeted by him, and saying out loud that we will never get along.

As I had said on Facebook, when you keep saying that we will never get along, it's like you're already concluding that we will never get along, ever. Deny it all you want, but avoidance is not a resolution, but a way of not even trying to get along.

Oh welp, I just have to learn to deal with this. But he has to know that he has to learn to deal with this better, too.

So how are you, guys? Yes, you reading this blog. Feel free to comment.