11 February 2008

Back To School

Last night, I spent four hours teaching dancers of the Philippine Cultural Society at my alma mater, The George Washington University, a singkil routine I'd choreographed for their annual culture show to be held in April. This event is a Big Deal -- held at GWU's fancy auditorium complete with dinner beforehand (of course! What Pinoy event is sans food?) followed by a two-hour song-dance-dramatic show afterwards.

It felt great to be back. It's been exactly fifteen(!!!) years since I graduated from college and so much has changed, both on campus (fancy new buildings) and life in general. For example, there was a mixup with the room that had been originally reserved for our use. Back in my day, that would have necessitated taking one person, stationing him in the old room and having him direct people to the new room. Today? All it took was a flurry of text messages and phone calls from the students' cell phones to inform people of the new arrangement. I was talking to some of the students about the lack of email, cell phone and websites back in my day. God, I can't believe I actually existed as an adult in a world without email.

But back to the dancing. As I've blogged before, when PCS asked me to choreograph the singkil for them, my initial thought was, sure! How hard could it be? The basic step -- step in, step out, step on through -- was pretty easy, and it was just a matter of putting it together with patterns to make a finished piece. But as the weeks progressed and as I mined YouTube for choreo to steal, I found that my idea of singkil has, as is my ideas about college living, vastly outdated. So I designed this razzle-dazzle choreo for them and hoped they wouldn't get too mad at me for putting them through all the complex stuff.

I'm here to report that they did me proud. Last night, amid a lot of sweat and near-misses with the bamboo, they nailed the choreo. And something else. As I looked at them practicing the dance, I was gripped with a sense of such intense pride at the living proof of the next generation of Filipino-Americans continuing the traditions that I'd taken part of back in my college days. They were all amazing with their dedication and skill. Not one person complained about not wanting to do it, not one of them gave up, and I could see the determination to master the moves even from the non-dancers. My prince, the earnest Francis, and my princess, the adorable Donna, were both wonderful, hard-working and amazing. ::sniff:: Thinking about their dedication and determination brings a little tear to my eye.

With their permission, I'm going to take some photos of rehearsal and post them here so you all can see some of my kids in action. "My kids." Yeah, I already feel such a sense of proprietary kinship over them and I've only just met them! A truly wonderful bunch, and I'm glad to have contributed my bit part in their coming show. When performance day arrives, if they let me, I'm going to post a clip of the singkil on this here blog.

Go Gee Dub!


Hazel Designs said...

Ohhh!!! I can't wait to see - it sounds amazing! Sounds like you did a great job with the choreography.

Karmela said...

Thanks sis! I'm going to videotape the final performance and post on YouTube (with the permission of PCS) and y'all tell me what you think.

mom2amara said...

Where are the pics? Can't wait to see the video of the final dance on stage!

Karmela said...

No pics yet but I will take some during the next rehearsal.