I can give the readers a good overview of how our routines were made but of course it can be too technical for this topic. I could give you an account on how my team were formed and trained for ten long months but again that can take a lot of application of periodization and strategies that is too weird to discuss on a blog. I can bore you with repeated pep talks the team did and a lot of reminiscing before the actual performances but it can be too relatable and too mushy so, nah.
Nevertheless, I am dying to give you a glimpse on how this experience brought about God’s faithfulness to the team or should I say, how we became aware that God will meet us. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Returning from an old comfort zone.
It feels so surreal once you visited an event that made you started it all. HHI 2004 was the first competition that I ever joined. Along with our head coach, Jungee Marcelo it was the first time a Philippine team made it global, so to speak. I can remember how stressed and excited Miss Ley Fernandez (God bless her soul) was when Me, Madelle, Rocky, Bboy Ice and coach Jay Mastah represented our country with a full geared Gold’s Gym apparel. I was all the more blessed when my second family, The Crew competed with me during 2005 and 2006. Now that I came back as a coach and not a competing dancer, it was nice to see that HHI still upholds the same core values that I remember years ago. It’s the same battle cry LSDC street has been using until now: “it’s not how many teams you beat, it’s about inspiring each other”.
I remember a Chicago based team- Phunk Phenomena said that to all the competitors years ago, and that started a good journey in dance for me. That’s the only thing I can remember clearly during my experience. Although a lot of the vibe was changed. I cannot really point out what, one can still feel that friendly competition in the air. I guess because this time, dancers that joined multiplied exponentially. The more you see the great capacity, the more overwhelming it can be. One should be careful with the Great Divide. At least that’s how I see it.
Beating the odds
When a group, such as Romancion, a rookie in this competition, one of the shortest, brownest and youngest in the Adult category was set out to represent our country this time, you could just imagine how different the set up is for me. We were the only adult team that made it as Philippine representative, it’s a reminder to the team of this opportunity. Not an opportunity to be the best, not an opportunity to be challenged, not an opportunity to work under pressure, just an opportunity to represent, it shouldn’t take a lot of over analysis with that.
As mushy as it can be, I believe that a competition is a venue where dancers pray desperately. I have been here long enough to witness that. A dance competition for me is a dancers’ retreat, Retreat to God. Once you put that in context, one will see that everything can make a big sense. A competition can take away one’s spirit of competitiveness and change it with the value of excellence. A competition’s goal can change from beating the routine of the other groups to just beating the performance that you last made. We are only as good as our last dance anyway. A competition can change from entering backstage with the psychological war going on to just wishing each other the best and appreciating the hard work that each made during the season. Yes I know, a competition will still have winners, will still have judges but we shouldn’t be dictated with the scene of pressure. Our identity shouldn’t be dictated with the event that is presented. I think we should be better than that.
So I told you that I will not share a pep talk that me and my team did but this one is my favorite. You see this team is excited for one thing and one thing alone. To savor each round as if it was their last. To celebrate the fellowship (I would have said brotherhood but that’s another team) every time they set foot on that world stage. It was only when they got in to the finals that they want to place, again an opportunity. It was those stage after stage that you realize God is with the group. We only have prayer every round- It is for God to meet us on that stage.
I shared this to the guys during our first day in Vegas. It’s a quote from a book LSDC-Street gave me:
“People don’t believe what you tell them, they rarely believe what you show them, they often believe what their friends tell them, they always believe what they tell themselves”
-Crash the Chatterbox
God wants us to be reminded of Romans 8:31-39.
We were reminded that this competition should not be taken out of context. It is not a venue to prove who is the best. Yes we are subjected to a criteria but it is just an excuse to have a showcase, a man made event. We were reminded that the only person you can only compete with is you. The only routine you can outperform is yours. The enemy is underplaying our strength and molding the competition scene into a place where he is the sole winner. Doubt is his main ingredient for disaster. Being competitive is his best instrument, his target of attack: Our Identity.
I know the guys in my team has a lot of flaws (so the girl fans out there, beware):Josh that time is on his honeymoon stage with his go pro.Paul is just very sabaw and still on his thinking capsule even when there’s no need to think.Kenn’s mind is anticipating the airmax spree anytime soon.Mico’s blogging instinct is on auto mode.Jeremiah’s too starstruck with Japanese and LA choreographers.Karl is too busy planning what to cook for breakfast even when it is not morning.Cj stalks a lot of RF.And we don’t need to mention Steven’s ADHD moments.
But for some reason, God orchestrates these flawed boys and a very flawed coach (that’s me) to not only make it to the finals but to trigger something after the performance.
That moment when the lights were lit up on the arena as if those were stars in the sky.
Oh boy what a sight.
What’s more wonderful is it was equally beautiful on TV and on live.
It kind of summarizes our experience in Las Vegas:
1. God puts greater importance on the ending than on the start.
2. That’s what God is preparing for us, regardless of what will be the results afterwards. That moment was just for the team’s best view, on that world stage. It’s like God’s reminder to Abraham, countless stars, countless blessings.
3. When we rally to God to meet us on that stage, He is actually saying that He is still there after we dance. The stillness of the group is where God can be. Not on the aggressive movements or what we think is our moments in our routine but on our stillness.
So yeah, we placed fourth in the world. We could have won, but God knows better. That impact when I saw that lights in Orleans arena was just equally majestic as winning. It didn’t put the routine in the pedestal, it didn’t put the dancers on that platform but it did showed God’s glory.
Like what my mentor, Sir J said on a documentary film “Sayaw Kalsada”, the world always anticipates every time Filipinos dance on stage. Those countless lights in Orleans arena is a reminder of the number of passion and statement and heart we Filipinos are meant to show the world.
So let this be a reminder to us Filipinos. Our view of dance should evolve since we are in the forefront.
World class dancers. Game changers.