The La Salle Dance Company-Street (LSDC-Street) has been at the forefront of the hip-hop community for quite some time now. With numerous accomplishments over the years, most recently was a third place finish in the World of Dance Philippine Qualifiers 2016, as well as notable stints in the Hip-Hop World Championships and two championships in the UAAP Streetdance Competition to name a few, LSDC-Street has represented the University countless times, never failing to amaze with every performance. Comprised of students from the manifold colleges that make the University, they are the official hip-hop group in DLSU, and one of the three clubs in the dance division of the Culture and Arts Office.
The LaSallian spoke with LSDC-Street assistant company manager Paolo Deluria (IV, CIV), division manager for marketing Samantha Libao (II, AB-CAM), and junior member Paulo Santos (II, AB-CAM), as they talked about life as a member of the University’s premier dance group.
On choosing hip-hop as an artistic genre
When asked about what made them decide to join Street, all mentioned that ever since high school, they were set on dancing in college. Deluria and Santos were in their respective hip-hop groups in high school, while Libao was a ballet dancer. “When I went to college, I wanted to try something different, and Street seemed like a fresh start for me,” Libao shares.
For Santos, watching performances of LSDC-Street growing up inspired him to join the team as soon as he stepped into the University. He also adds, “Street for me seemed like a place for me where I can grow as a person.”
Likewise, in choosing hip-hop as an artistic genre, Deluria mentioned that it was the versatility of the genre itself that drew him to dance, as performances incorporate multiple genres into a piece that is largely dependent on the group’s ability to construct a narrative for the audience to watch and enjoy.
Preparing for competitions
The difficulty of having to balance academics and training for a competition or production are some of the strenuous and demanding things for an LSDC member. As they would narrate, a normal day would deal with having to go to class in the mornings and afternoon then heading to training from 6 to 10 pm in the evening.
When asked how he sees each member on the group, Deluria says, “We always think of ourselves as a family. [In Street], parang family talaga yung set-up. We follow a system where we address each member by how long they’ve been in Street. Me [being] a senior, you really have to mentor the younger batch kasi they’re gonna be the future of Street. And we’re really fun to be with. But when it’s time to train and focus, parang may switch and everyone is serious and all-out.”
“We are a diverse group with different personalities and backgrounds,” Libao further explains.
Weeks before the competition, the performing team follows a strict regimen of strength and conditioning that go with regulating their carbohydrate-intake to ensure that their bodies are in peak condition as soon as they step on the stage. “[In LSDC], we are not allowed to drink alcohol or smoke,” mentions Santos.
Performing on stage and the ‘perfect routine’
As dance would always entail performing in front of an audience, performing on stage is the highlight of every member of LSDC. When asked how they would know if they performed a perfect routine, Santos says, “For me, a perfect performance is when you know you put in 100 percent of your effort”.
“A perfect performance for me is when you know your teammates are in unison and supporting each other,” Libao adds.
“You know you had a perfect performance when you don’t remember the performance,” Deluria concludes, also adding that being on stage is a different feeling altogether.
When asked about their plans after college, members see themselves still dancing, whether as part of their future profession or as a sideline with Street. For Libao and Santos, who are both Communication Arts majors, dancing will be an avenue in the entertainment industry. Being a Civil Engineering major, Deluria plans to take the board examinations and a sabbatical, but he mentions that he will probably do side choreography for Street.
As Deluria explains, “…especially with Street, it really pulls you back [to dance].”
Preparing for a performance entails months of rigorous training, sleepless nights, and even days of missing classes. However, for LSDC-Street, they can say that every moment on stage is a means of expression. Whether they’re setting up for an explosive show-stopping stunt, hitting the beat with perfectly-timed choreography, or simply to allure the crowd with emphatic showmanship, these dancers lay it all out for their art.
This is the first of a three-part series on the different La Salle Dance Company dance divisions of the Cultural Arts Office in the University.