Motito gets his groove on with hip-hop dancing lessons at Dance Theatre Arts
While watching Motito attempt to bust a move on the PlayStation game Just Dance, I came to realize two things: one, my son had two left feet; two, we needed to do something about it. He was dancing to “Blurred Lines” with his cousins, and it was painfully evident he couldn’t keep up with the simple moves and had trouble staying in rhythm. While the other kids displayed decent-to-dazzling terpsichorean skills, Motito looked like he was shooing an invisible insect or scratching an unreachable body itch. Dreading a bleak adolescence where Motito does not get picked by any group in school dance presentations, I signed him up posthaste for a round of hip-hop dance lessons at the Dance Theatre Arts (DTA) in Waltermart, Makati City.
The hip-hop dance class is only one of the summer enrichment activities offered by the DTA. There are classes for ballet, martial arts (taekwondo, karatedo, aikido), drama, music theatre, musical instruments (guitar, drums, piano, voice), as well as Zumba for adults. A hip-hop dance course runs for eight sessions and costs P2,500 plus a P550 registration fee.
There were six kids in Motito’s hip-hop dance class, comprising four boys and two girls. My son was initially apprehensive about joining, because he knew he couldn’t shake a leg like the rest of them. I reminded him of the one thing that underpins all human achievement: that there was nothing in this world that could not be learned. Not calculus, the”Flight of the Bumblebee” or the stock market, and certainly not hip-hop dancing, if one put one’s heart in it or practiced for at least 30 minutes a day. My pep talk must’ve worked as he promptly got over his jitters. It also helped that Motito quickly made friends with the kids in his class.
The dance instructor, Mr. Casper Pangilinan, came with impressive credentials. Word was he has coached many teams in various dance competitions and choreographs dance productions for a television network. More than his admirable resume, it was Teacher Casper’s easy way with the kids that made him the perfect fit for the job. He projected authority without inspiring fear. He was patient and persistent, going through the dance steps over and over until every kid got it. He exchanged high-fives with every one, before and after each session.
Motito’s confidence grew as the class progressed. He was still the most rhythmically challenged in the bunch, but his moves started to resemble real dancing. On the day of the recital, Motito confessed to being nervous about performing on stage. I assured him that the other kids in his hip-hop dance class probably had butterflies in their stomachs, too. The group was to perform four dance numbers. Their first dance (to Charice’s “Louder) was a collaborative effort with the teen hip-hop dance class, who were all girls. Despite having learned the dance only during their final two sessions, the kids pulled it off admirably. The next three dances (will.i.am’s “Scream & Shout,” MKTO’s “Classic,” and Rafee & The Wobbo Wabbo Club’s “Wobble Wobble”) were foot-tapping crowd-pleasers that got nearly every member of the audience swaying and shaking in their seats. In between the hip-hop dances were performances by DTA’s award-winning ballerinas and a couple of drum covers by Adam Bondoc (karate-do practitioner and son of DTA founder Pamela Ortiz-Bondoc.)
The recital culminated with the presentation of certificates of completion to all participants of the DTA’s summer dance programs. Motito was beaming with pride. When I mentioned the possibility of enrolling him again in a dance class next summer, my usually reluctant son readily agreed.