Last year, I was just a girl with a pixie cut and thunder thighs, taking as much classes under Lebran DFX (both the dance fitness and technique classes in Latin and standard ballroom) that I can (and sometimes even cannot) afford, out of fascination and recreation.
I envied the scholars because they were so talented in their craft. I wanted to be like them so much that I wanted to be around them all the time, and ended up doing so when I momentarily trained with them for a syllabus ballroom competition.
Exactly a year ago today, I was called to stay after class, and to my surprise I was introduced as a new scholar under Lebran. I got the privilege to attend all the classes I wanted. I was exposed to how hard these young scholars train. They paired up with the paying students as partners in the technique classes, and even took turns leading the Lebran classes in preparation for them to teach their own classes. It impressed me that these kids would prefer to come to the studio instead of spending their time sitting idly at home during the summer vacation.
One big challenge for me as new scholar back then was that even though I was still kind of behind in terms of technique, I even got to learn the man's part of any dance the students had to learn whenever there was a shortage of male scholars for the class. I had to step up and dance the man's part to serve as a partner for the paying female students. It actually gave me a good advantage of learning the steps of the dances, because I got to learn the steps for both the man and woman's part.
Apart from Latin and standard ballroom, we also got to learn other dances as we prep up for shows. So far, I had also learned a few cultural folk dances, contemporary jazz, and even Polynesian and Tahitian dances.
I was also introduced to the business side of Lebran. I learned how the core group worked together to keep the business flowing smoothly and keep things running like clockwork.
One thing very unique about the Lebran family is that our training is very holistic. Saturdays after the usual morning Lebran class is focused on our own training apart from the students' classes. Other than dance training, one of our mentors gives us lectures on personality development. I'm so grateful for this rare privilege to have quality dance training while still keeping our attitudes in check as we learn to be not just good dancers, but great dancers and teachers as well. Believe it, we also had to take and pass certification exams before we were allowed to teach a Lebran class as a Shaper (which is what we call our teachers).
Amazing how passion and dedication can take you where you want. Last year, I was just an aspiring dancer and student who was being teased for my huge thighs. Today, I am now one of the pioneer members of Lebran and a certified Lebran Shaper.
I'm forever grateful for all the opportunities that had come ever since I was taken in by the Lebran team that I now consider a family. I feel so blessed to have mentors like Sir Brando and Mommy Val, along with our other teachers like Teacher Belinda and Kuya Mauw, who encourage us to keep doing our best, to never rest on our laurels, and to keep setting the bar higher. I feel like so much has changed and improved in my life in the span of one year, thanks to them and as well as my fellow core group members and scholars. All of them had taught me in their own way, how to be a better person than I was before.
Lebran isn't just about dancing and exercise. It's a way of life. It's a sign of hope. It's a source of inspiration. It's where passion fuels the goals that can change and improve your life in so many aspects. I thought the scholars were merely there for the training. Yes, but we are being trained, but not just to be dance instructors, but to be great dance teachers, coaches, to be masters of our core-giftedness, and to be inspirations to each and every person who wants to get in shape. Lebran's 3-faceted advocacy (Exercise, Enhance, and Empower) rings true, and I have been witness to that.
Get in shape. Shape a life. Dance Lebran. It will be one of the best choices you will ever make for yourself.