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studying in japan (4): bring out the performer in you!

Kouhais (Juniors) performing the Pandanggo sa Ilaw at the last ASEAN Festival

"Mag-aaral po ako doon [in Japan], hindi po ako magiging entertainer." No offense meant to our kababayans who make their living this way, but this is a phrase often heard from the mouths of students before they leave for Japan. Of course, you must understand that this is in response to the numerous bouts of teasing one usually receives from friends and family; sometimes Filipinos have a twisted sense of humor

Yeah right. Maybe you think your head will be buried in books the whole time, but we know better; your head will end up with a candle balanced on top of it and you'll be dancing the Pandanggo in front of a large audience in no time at all!

Instead of shadowing the princess as I ought, I was about a step behind

Hahaha! What I mean is, that as a scholar, you will be required to take part in several cultural presentations that your school or dormitory organizes yearly. This means performing dances such as tinikling, itik-itik, carinosa and singkil for the masses. Shy? There is no room for shyness here; everybody must perform! So brush up on your dance steps, bring an instructional demo, a costume, and some CDs  with you. Or, if you are gifted with singing prowess, as most Pinoys are, bring a minus one CD with you. Whatever you do, come prepared because you will take to the stage whether you like it or not.

The first year I was here, we were lucky that one of my batchmates used to be part of a dance troupe in Davao; she choreographed a whole Singkil production for us! Each dormitory usually has only a pair of bamboo poles for the yearly tinikling, so we even had to borrow Soshigaya's poles and transport them on the early morning train. I was given the part of the alipures (see above and below) so I had to endure weeks of getting my feet caught in the bamboo traps. I had never before done this! I was always more of a backstage sort of person, making the props and everything (i even made the parasol and fans used in our performance below); so my mom almost bust a gut laughing when i told her i was dancing the singkil.

But no one noticed!

It went well though. One thing to remember is that most foreigners have not seen Bayanihan, Ramon Obusan or Filipinescas in action, so they won't notice if you make a mistake. Attitude is more important. hehehe.

Funny thing was, after our big debut, we caught the performing bug and staged a zarsuela/ harana titled "Manila" the following year. The year after that, we did "Manila: Reloaded" (inspired by the Matrix movies) and even incorporated Trinity-Neo jazz moves into our performance. The Pinoy's act was always given the honor of being the last and most awaited performance of the day. We all felt like stars! Hahahah!

Hehehe. For a full demonstration of our abilities, check out this wonderful Singkil performance by the FAST (Filipino Association of Students in Tsukuba) and a modern dance by HAPS (Hokkaido Association of Filipino Students)

Have you ever been asked to perform in a foreign country? What did you do? ;-) Share!
  • Current Mood: bouncy galeng-galeng!!!
salamat rino! it was worth all the patay na kuko. hehehe. and at least now i can tell my grandkids that i once danced the singkil. heehee.