So, you think you can dance?

06th August, 2015. 4:49pm

NaBloPoMo, Thursday, August 6, 2015

What is something you know that you could teach another person if given the chance?


A Bayanihan dancer teaching Tinikling to a kid
Photo c/o:

For the past couple of weeks, I was busy teaching dance to students who have never tried the dance I was trying to teach them. It’s not contemporary, at least I haven’t gone to teaching them a contemporary dance. It’s Philippine Folk Dance. You may think Philippine Folk Dance is so easy yet only few people can pull it off. Philippine Folk Dance takes practice and grace. I didn’t spend months and money attending workshops at Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company for nothing. For dancers like us, this is just like dancing contemporary, or ballet, or even hip hop.

And I know I can teach another person this dance. Name it, I can teach you. However, not everyone is suitable for Philippine Folk Dance. The steps are so easy to learn, yes, but will everyone be graceful enough to pull of the dance? No. That, along with lack of passion, unfortunately, is something I can’t teach.

I’ve seen a lot of tutorial videos on Youtube and it frustrates me how little of them knows how to do it. One example is the most famous Philippine Folk Dance Tinikling. If you wanted to learn the Tinikling, DO NOT EVEN GO TO YOUTUBE. They’re all wrong. They’ve got some of the basics right, but PLEASE, for the love of dancing, spare yourself by not wasting time on them. Unless they were taught by a LEGITIMATE dance troupe, I say skip the video (especially those homemade videos, OMG. Horrible!)

I’d ask you to check out Bayanihan’s version of Tinikling because I learned from them and it’s their routine that we are following, but you can also check other dance company’s version because here in the Philippines, there are two other popular dance companies that have their own version of the dance – Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group, and Philippine Baranggay Folk Dance Troupe. If you want to learn Philippine folk dance, learn it from these three. The Bayanihan, especially, have some tutorials uploaded on Youtube that everyone can learn in the comfort of their home.

Having been teaching one particular, popular, folk dance to students for about a couple of days now, I’d say it disappoints the heck out of me. I know, I should be patient because they’re not a trained folk dancer like me, but it’s still disappointing. You’d think they’ll improve after a couple of sessions but they don’t. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t there everyday, and couldn’t because of my work schedule, but a part of me is starting to think maybe teaching isn’t something I’m capable of. It’s not that I’m impatient, because I am. At least I’m trying (*I haven’t thrown something at them, and that’s a record. When I was teaching dance to new dancers in high school, I was very strict).

This is exactly why I’m kind of anxious to start with contemporary. I vow to myself to not start moving on to the next choreography if they still haven’t mastered the first one. I don’t know how long it will take, I will make sure they look like a folk dancer before we move on to contemporary. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to achieve perfection, right? (Or, at least, as perfect as I can make them)

This coming Saturday, I will be teaching the same dance in front of, this time, about 70 more new members of the theater group. Again, I know I can’t expect them to turn out as graceful as we are because it takes years and years of practice, but I’m hopeful. I know I can make them look decent. Let’s just hope they give their heart into it, or else it’ll be all for nothing.





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