“Five, six, seven, eight.”
These are the numbers routinely said by dancers before a practice session for a specific dance routine begins. They spend almost five long hours in day rehearsing and sweating just to keep their dancing bones alive and to be the best dancers that they can ever be.
These dancers try to accomplish way beyond seven figures to make the most out of each and every practice session. This is what truly makes the members of the La Salle Dance Company (LSDC) both breathtaking and marvelous.
Driven by heart and passion
To make your jaws drop in awe and your hands clap wildly are two of the things that LSDC-Street is very successful at doing. As one of the three divisions of the LSDC, Street specializes in Hip-Hop and its various genres such as Wacking, Locking, Popping and the famous Krumping. They are more than just a company though, everyone in the crew treats each other as a family. They aim to inspire because Street is not just all about talent.
“It’s all about inspiring”, says one of Street’s core members Hazel Villaflores, sharing that dancing to inspire is their precious gift to everyone who watches them. The heart and passion in hip hop dancing keeps that “swag” in them. “We dance with heart. We dance not only because we want to, but because we want to bring out the message and inspire others,” she adds.
Recently, LSDC-Street once again made the Lasallian community and the entire country proud after being named one of the finalists of the MegaCrew Division at the 2013 World Hip Hop Championships held in Las Vegas, Nevada. They placed fourth in the semifinals and made into the top six who qualified into the finals round. Aside from international competitions, Street also joins the annual Skechers Streetdance Battle and the Lactacyd Confidance.
A stage for life discovery
Putting life and deep emotion into something different can be a difficult job; but as a matter of fact, that is the expertise of the LSDC-Contemporary branch. Formerly named LSDC-Jazz, it is the premiere dance company of the University in the fields of Jazz, Modern and Contemporary dance. Aside from these styles of dance, Contemporary also brings uniqueness by using art to express the usual stories and realities of life in their acts. They bring awareness to the people of the various social issues by tracing back the roots of Contemporary dance that enables them to share the different scenes in life and even love through dancing.
According to Contemporary Company Manager Darcy Grefalde, “It came from different art forms. It came from Ballet and Classical but it evolved and became something different and new that can tell a story”. For their upcoming major project, a concert entitled Simbuyo, they will show the different facets of love and the feelings developed in each and every stage, from familial to romantic love.
LSDC-Contemporary is active in participating in Pasinaya, CCP’s open house festival and is proud to be the official dance artist for the Catholic Mass Media Awards Nights. The company has also been producing “DANCECELEBRATION”, the longest running inter-school dance competition in Metro Manila.
What makes them stand out even more is that they just don’t settle with being just a dancer. “It’s not just you about being a dancer but it’s about you trying to improve yourself in different facets”, shares Grefalde.
Patronizing the country’s preserved history
This dance troupe wants to prove that books and history classes are not just the only ways to learn and appreciate the past. LSDC-Folk is the newest and youngest dance group of the La Salle Dance Company and it started in 2011. It generally performs different types of Philippine Folk dances such as Rural, Cordillera, Maria Clara, T’boli and Ethnic.
One distinct feature of Folk is that they stand for what is original in Philippine Folk dance. They don’t change their styles in Folk dancing because they respect the art’s history and tradition. However, they also try to do things in a new and different way. Kella Ortega, DM-Documentations of Folk, further explains, “Not that it’s new but we try to bring new information to the audience.”
Amidst the rising influence of Western culture today especially among the youth, company manager Daphne Padasas justifies, “LSDC-Folk seeks to kind of revive yung identity ng Filipino sa youth.”
As one of the pioneers of youth-oriented folk dance groups, LSDC-Folk also strategizes by integrating into their dances the current issues faced by the tribes and ethnic groups they are portraying. “Folk dance in itself is information”, adds Ortega. Folk is also proud to be an instrument of bringing Filipino pride by showing what is really Filipino.
The La Salle Dance Company-Street, Contemporary and Folk may have distinctive and creative tastes added into their respective crafts of dance, but they all share the same vision. They aim to wow their viewers while implying that what they do is more than just dancing and performing—it is an art and passion. With the diverse moves that each company shows, they have proved that there is a big book unseen by the naked eye in dance and it narrates the inner stories of their marvelous craft.