WATCH: Antique kids dance for OFW moms in Palarong Pambansa 2017
ANTIQUE, Philippines – At first glance, Miguel Miranda and Liz Andrada give the impression of being your run-of-the-mill 9-year-old children. They prance about the Antique Capitol, waiting on companions and parents, wandering about and playing gleefully, as children are wont to do.
At the drop of a hat, however, the beginning of a beat turns these kids into serious professionals. Their expressions change, and they strike their poses as if it were an inborn reflex. They begin an exercise for their dance routines, which they will showcase for the Palarong Pambansa 2017, which made the historic addition of dancesports into national competition.
“I dance to show our talent and represent Antique (Region 6),” Miguel declared, “We're newbies but we're going to be competing against more veteran dancers.”
Liz, a “diva” as their coaches and trainers describe her, scores the feeling of performing to thousands of discerning eyes.
“I’m both nervous and positive,” Liz said. “We can win with our facial expression, pointing and hip movement.”
Onstage, in front of the Antique Capitol where they practice, the young duo attracts a small crowd who jeer and take photos of the two practicing. The duo barely pays any attention and continues practicing in a professional fashion unlikely for their age.
They dance to an assortment of genres and styles that aren’t always to their liking.
“I like Jive because it's bouncy and easy. I hate Cha-Cha because I find it hard to move my hips,” Miguel bemoaned.
“My favorite dance is Samba beccause there’s bouncing. My least favorite is Jive because there are kicks and it’s exhausting,” Liz added.
Regardless of the genre and circumstance, Liz and Miguel maintain a high level of performance. While sweat pours and their shoulders droop, their veritable “game face” remains with steady conviction.
Miguel’s mother, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) based in Hong Kong, usually comes home to her family every March. With knowledge of her son’s performance for the Palaro, she arrives on Saturday, April 22, to witness her son off on his big day.
“I’m excited and happy because she will come home tomorrow to watch me. Usually she comes home in March but she moved it to April so she can watch me perform,” Miguel said.
He added: “I want to show to her that I love her through (my) dance. I want to dance so I can see her in Hongkong one day."
Liz shares a similar story. Her mother, Lynn Mae Andrada, is also an OFW. Upon hearing news of Liz’s first national performance, she decided to come home to Antique from Singapore.
“I’m very happy because I’ve never seen them win since they don't have much experience," Andrada said in a mix of Filipino and English. "I really made sure that I get to watch their performance."
While the future of this young duo remains uncertain, both Liz and Miguel prefer that they remain partners down the line.
“I don’t know if we’ll still be together next year,” Liz said. “Although, I would still like him to be my partner.”
They also dispelled any doubts that they are being pressured or forced to perform in the sport.
“We practice everyday,” the Palaro competitor said. “It’s tiring but we will not give up because this is our dream.” – Rappler.com
Rappler Intern Fidel Feria is a senior AB Journalism student from Colegia de San Juan de Letran.
Russel Patina is Rappler's Lead Mover from Iloilo.