Meet Sam ‘Nemesis’ Rivera: Cebu’s krump star

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Meet Sam ‘Nemesis’ Rivera: Cebu’s krump star

WINNING MOVES. Sam 'Nemesis' Rivera celebrates her win in the Red Bull DYS Cebu Qualifier.


Whether or not she brings home the crown, Sam 'Nemesis' Rivera says she’ll ‘still keep on dancing’ and ‘push the movement’ of krumping in Cebu

MANILA, Philippines –In the world of Philippine sports, basketball may be king. But for those whose passions lie in expressing emotion through unparalleled artistic delivery with the use of their bodies, there’s nothing quite like dancing.

The same can be said for Sam “Nemesis” Rivera, one of the finalists of Red Bull Dance Your Style’s National Finals, who’s a native Cebuana, a passionate krumper, and also no stranger to competing on grand stages. 

Rivera will bring her moves against the country’s very best on Saturday, September 2, for a chance to represent the Philippines at the World Finals in Frankfurt, Germany this November.

For Rivera, her first introduction to dancing came from watching many international programs on TV, and even her very own neighbors who perform in local dance events. 

Sports such as basketball and volleyball were the prominent offerings, but the feeling of training, dancing in front of a crowd, and the thrill of competition ultimately set Rivera’s heart on dancing.

Nicknamed Nemesis, Rivera’s primary style is krump, which she shares is not as prominent in her home province as it is in Metro Manila. 

With that in mind, one of her goals is to develop krump’s popularity in Cebu by building new communities in the provincial areas and further expanding the already established groups in the city.

Apart from being a tenured dancer, Rivera recently started using her years of experience to teach and inspire the next generation of krumpers. 

She doesn’t only want to teach for the sake of others learning new dance moves. Rather, she wants hopeful krumpers to have a complete understanding of the style’s culture.

“For me, teaching krump is a culture, so it’s very deep, like, it has its history, its terms and all,” said Rivera.

“I only started teaching last year because I wanted to make sure that I would teach the right things to my students. This year, I have taught at least one class per month from the provinces because that’s the movement I’m pushing right now: making krump known to the provinces.”

Nemesis shared her new step towards mentorship is a humbling experience, especially when reminiscing about her achievements. However, her journey is far from over in terms of reaching all her goals.

“I can say na medyo malayo pa ako sa mga gusto ko pang marating (I can say that I’m still far from where I want to be),” said Rivera.

“But, out of all my experiences, I can say that anything is possible if you just work for it, if you just set your mind into it,” she added.

Hindi ko talaga inakala na magiging part ako, especially Red Bull [Dance Your Style], a very big dance competition. It’s a surreal experience for me.”

(I never imagined that I’d be part of Red Bull Dance Your Style, a very big competition. It’s a surreal experience for me.)

Among her multiple victories and podium finishes, the most memorable came in the Red Bull DYS Cebu Qualifier and the My Street 3: Beast Camp Qualifier. Both gave Rivera multiple opportunities to compete against foreign opposition.

Having previously finished inside the top 16 in 2019 while battling in Singapore, Rivera improved on her performance in 2022 and bagged a finals spot, beating out dancers from countries like Indonesia and Malaysia.

Even as a seasoned winner, there were still a number of challenges Nemesis faced. At one point, she took a break from krumping following a second-place finish during one of her tournaments.

“I had to bring myself back in and convince myself that I can still do it,” said Rivera.

“But, I realized that I shouldn’t be that way because I don’t want every fallback to make me feel that way, so it was one of the learning experiences, probably. Maybe I needed to undergo that, for me to be this strong, to have this mindset.”

The nearly two-year effect of the COVID-19 pandemic also brought a great deal of challenges since dancing with a group had to be shelved and temporarily replaced with pure individual work. Even then, Rivera never stopped and continued to work on her craft.

“There are still dance competitions that I want to experience, because each competition is different,” said Rivera.

“It has different judges, different dance communities. I’m not really content with my growth right now, that’s why I wanna keep on learning new things, attending workshops, still attending battles, because there’s always room for improvement.”

“If I win or lose the [National Finals], either way, I will still keep on dancing,” she added. “I will still push the movement especially here in Cebu, and look forward for next year’s Red Bull.” – Joaqin Iñigo R. Valencerina/

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