Dancing has been considered by most to be the ultimate expression of one’s self through movement. However, to dance is not simply to move with reckless abandon; nor is it gyrating without restraint. To dance is to create an art form, which oftentimes requires finesse and always a purposeful rhythmic direction.
Such is the case for contemporary dance, the genre by which the La Salle Dance Company-Contemporary (LSDC-Contemporary) brings to the stage. But one does not simply dance to the prosody of the contemporary genre. As audiences flock to the Yuchengco Auditorium and the different venues where LSDC-Contemporary performs, there is a constant desire to witness the continuous refinement of contemporary dance.
The LaSallian sat down with senior member Joey Alvarado (IV, AB-LIM), as he talked about life as an LSDC-Contemporary member.
Taking chances in pursuing your passion
In high school, Alvarado’s exposure to dance was on television, where he watched popular shows such as America’s Best Dance Crew and would later on encounter So You Think You Can Dance? where he was always left in awe with every routine.
“There’s a certain refinement [in contemporary dance],” Alvarado explains when asked what endeared him to pursue his genre. Likewise, adding that he also felt drawn to the delicate movement of ballet and jazz as opposed to the hard-hitting beats of hip-hop.
However, in spite of his interest early on, there were no opportunities for him to learn contemporary dance. It was only upon entering the University that Alvarado was able to pursue his passion. “When I got to college and saw that there were auditions, I immediately grabbed the opportunity,” he shares.
Since then, Alvarado has not stopped learning contemporary dance even after the four years have passed since he first performed on stage.
During events and rehearsals
Because of the time and effort needed to master every piece, regular days for LSDC-Contemporary members require hours and hours of practice and rehearsing. On weekends, practices start from nine in the morning, and would go on as late as six in the evening. During school days, rehearsing begins right after class at six in the evening and would stretch to as late as midnight, especially on days leading up to a concert. Like most student-athletes, balancing your academics with your extra-curricular activities is of the essence for Alvarado.
As soon as they get on stage, a different feeling overcomes Alvarado as he performs each piece with all the effort he can muster. When asked when he can tell if his group performed the routine flawlessly, the Literature major muses, “Iba talaga yung feeling mo [on stage], kapag alam mo na maganda yung [performance]. […] Pagod na pagod ka, but after nun’, alam mo na worth it yung pagkapagod mo sa sayaw mo.”
Diversity in discipline
Due to the relatively disciplined choreography required in contemporary dance, members of LSDC-Contemporary are brought up to conform to their craft. Most members who have prior experience would still be taken aback by the diverse style that is taught in the company.
“[In LSDC-Contemporary] what we look for are people who are willing to learn and start from scratch,” Alvarado mentions. “[Our trainer’s goal is] to teach dance, to create dance, and not just have born dancers.”
When asked what his plans are after college, Alvarado doesn’t see himself conforming to the regular desk job as he hopes to continue his passion to dance, as a number of auditions in various dance companies are in the horizon.
Although people from the crowd are allured by the seemingly effortless pirouettes and graceful lifts of contemporary dancers, it takes hours of practice and patient repetition to be able to move with such elegance and grace.
Whereas members who only feel the irony that such subtlety is wrought with pain and effort, there is a reason behind their struggle. And it’s in those movements does one begin to feel. Only in that moment of release does the narrative begin to unravel to the viewers. To dance is their way of expressing themselves.
This is the second of a three-part series on the different La Salle Dance Company dance divisions of the Cultural Arts Office (CAO) in the University.