Bust a move: How dancing got me back on track
MANILA, Philippines – I welcomed the year 2018 differently: I was in a posh hotel for New Year's Eve. After the celebration and some drinks, I went back to my hotel room and breathed a sigh of relief. Goodbye 2017. Goodbye to the heavy year.
While 2017 had been a struggle, I also had achievements. I was able to travel but most of all, I found the will to return to the dance floor. I got my groove back.
Flashback to May 31, 2017. It was a long ride to the Mall of Asia Arena. After arriving, I showed my summer dance workshop ID and went inside to look for my group.
I put on my makeup, got dressed, then rehearsed while waiting for the show to start. Between rehearsals, we would take photos – selfies and groupfies to document this special moment.
Past 9 pm, we were ready to enter the stage. I had jitters – I looked worried according to one of my classmates. Who wouldn’t be nervous? It’s the Mall of Asia Arena after all, where so many great artists have performed.
And so I went onstage and prepared for what would be a performance to remember. What many of my friends did not know that night was that I was thinking of everything that I had been through the past months.
Weeks before the show, I was contemplating whether I should enroll in a hip-hop class. I knew it would take time away from my work, but it was the only thing I felt it would help me heal after the rollercoaster of emotions I had gone through.
Last year, I found myself questioning my life choices at the height of one of the biggest media coverages of my career – professionally and personally. The next I knew, I found myself in trouble. My friends were wondering what was going on. "You weren't like this before," they said. I seemed to be having a meltdown.
I refused to admit I was going through a problem until one day, one of the people closest to me said I should get my act together and set aside my issues. And so I did – by the skin of my teeth.
But the rollercoaster ride wasn’t over. I thought I was okay until I realized that my life was a mess. I was confused, lonely, aloof, and uncomfortable.
The mistakes haunted me; I was down and crying nonstop. I alienated myself from the people I could have opened up to. I refused to talk and just fell apart. I flew out of Manila to try and escape it. No amount of comfort from my family and close friends could cheer me up.
My situation didn’t help the people around me. At one point, my sister was frustrated, and told me to stop wallowing in self-pity.
Little by little, I tried to make it better. I rallied. Through the help of my friends, I buried myself in work even if I knew I was not okay. I needed work because it stopped me from obsessing over my issues.
I was heartbroken. My relationship with my friends and family was a complete mess. Once again, I fell into a well of self-pity until I realized I had to do something about it. I knew I was hurting. I never felt so down. My only option to revive my flagging spirits was to go back to one activity I love – dancing.
Its been almost 24 hours since the #gforceproject2017 recital and like the other students, I'm still overwhelmed by the performances we did at @moaarena. This ID served as a reminder of the hardwork and dedication I poured to rehearse and dance in between my duties as a reporter. I'm so thankful that I was allowed to do the show, even if it will take some time away from work. I'm grateful to the students I met and became friends, as well as their parents. I want ro thank @gforce_renz for sharing his time to teach us despite his busy schedule. To him I was Consuelo, his student and I learned so much from him, that I just gave my all at the recital. I want to say a huge THANK YOU to @alecsongcal, @realverntantuco and @nikki_gl for watching and cheering me on. Most of all, I want to thank the family for having my back when I was going through a rough time in the beginning of the year . Thank you @mara_elize @ness_fiestan @nilevilla and Jaene Zaplan. You may have not been able to watch but I know you were there to cheer me on. Thank you @voltairetayag for encouraging me since the beginning to focus on the things I love the most. Until the next performance everyone. As @teachergeorcelle would say "Humbhaaam!!"
I found myself at the doors of the G-Force dance studio in Quezon City and decided to take hip-hop classes. I told myself it would be great to perform onstage again. I said it would be for a week, but I found myself going to class every afternoon. I loved learning new dance moves. I’ve previously taken jazz dancing, so hip-hop was a bit challenging, but I enjoyed it. Every move, every interaction – I was slowly getting back on track.
Ironically, my group was portraying fierce fighters for the dance piece we were to perform that summer in the Mall of Asia Arena. I chuckled at the thought of it.
Going back to dance not only made me better physically but emotionally, too. I was rediscovering the passion I once shelved to concentrate on my profession. It then hit me that I can still set aside time for dance despite having to juggle so many things at work.
It was also around that time I sought professional help. I went to a psychologist and had some counseling. After talking with the psychologist, I breathed a sigh of relief – things weren't as bad as they seemed. She commended me for being brave and acknowledging that there might be a problem. It was the first step, she said.
I realized I should not be afraid. I’ve always been stubborn, always saying that I was okay, when in fact I wasn't. As a friend once pointed out: it's okay not to be okay.
Back in MOA, the LED screen lit up and we quickly went to our positions. The lights went on. "This is it," I told myself.
I stepped onstage and danced my way to the middle where the spotlight shone on me and my partner, Ghia. I took off my hood and mouthed the words, “I’m better, I’m better!” The adrenaline was kicking in.
At the end of the performance, we bowed, waved to the audience, then walked off the stage. By that time, I knew I was very emotional. As I was about to go up the escalator, I couldn’t help it anymore. I just let the tears flow. I did not know why I was crying but there was one thing I was sure of – I achieved something.
I realized that I did something I never thought I could – I performed at MOA despite the struggles I was going through. It was probably my most emotional performance.
The photos and videos of me dancing were shared on Facebook. I got comments from friends and family, some very amusing.
Now that 2018 has begun, I made a promise to myself to keep on dancing and getting in shape. I continue to go to class two to 3 times a week. I'm also contemplating adding more variety like flamenco and other dance genres. I am getting better – plus I'm enjoying myself.
If I think about it, had I not enrolled in dance, I would have not performed, I would not have healed myself. The best part of this journey is not only am I back to doing what I love, I can tell everyone that I'm better and wiser for it. – Rappler.com