Power Class-A A +A
My Palm Notes
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
FRONT page photos recently published in this leading newspaper and other local news dailies showed the recital cum graduation of members of Mabalacat City Center for Culture and Arts (MCCA) with no less than dance guru Douglas Nierras.
Yes, that renowned choreographer whom I first had the chance of knowing (read: seeing on tv) in Starstruck, a talent competition at GMA several years ago. That same guy who was formally schooled in dance in New York and Los Angeles. That same theater genius who was conferred the Gawad Alab Ng Haraya by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts for staging the highly-acclaimed “Metanoia”, a 34-minute ballet set to the five general parts of the Latin Mass in collaboration with Maestro Ryan Cayabyab.
He is the same patron, benefactor, prime mover of Filipino arts and culture behind the successes of Powerdance in many of their much-applauded performances in the Philippines and many parts of the globe.
So, what was Douglas and his Powerdance doing in a recently-turned-city Mabalacat? I don’t exactly know the answer but what I do know is that he was so unselfish in sharing his knowledge, thoughts, concepts, precepts in the 9-day intensive choreography clinic before MCCA members.
Douglas’ s newfound friend in June Magbalot who founded MCCA not so long ago was all ecstatic when the former first agreed to be one of the judges in the Miss Mabalacat City pageant which took place about two weeks before the dance lessons.
Hardly does June know that Douglas would agree to teach his wards on the rudiments and major points of classical and modern dances – albeit in a formal way.
I am not saying that MCCA members, stalwarts and lead dancers like Ermie Dizon, Davu, RK, Carl, Joel, Benedict (and others) were found wanting in their talents. In fact, they were part of the 120 performers and crew that won for Pampanga the one and only award in Dulansangan, a street/cultural dance contest depicting the province’s role in the Spanish revolution.
These guys are very good and have a lot of promise. Such potentials were even made more refined, harnessed and ready to be shared in more learned ways as taught by Douglas himself.
I think this is the first time that hip-hop-oriented MCCA members have gotten themselves a formal lesson and workshop in dance. And what a way to obtain it but through THE guru himself who is much revered, much appreciated, much respected in the world of performing arts.
How did June’s dancers deal with Douglas who is known to be a “terror”? I think the answer would be seen in how these kids and youngsters (yes, most of them are in their early 20s) have gotten for themselves a new but helpful perspective and outlook not only in their dances but also on many aspects of life. Such valuable teaching transcended to their very own beings as individual persons.
Their performances during the recital night presented themselves in a new, smoothened and more passionate manner. June was so awed in seeing much improved talents.
With what I personally witnessed in some of my visits during the workshop, I would say that Douglas was not a terror after all. He is for sure a disciplinarian And from the word itself, if one is willing to learn and hone his/her craft and follow Douglas and his ways, his teachings, his methods, then he/she must be a disciple first.
Douglas and June share one thing in common – that passion for excellence and being the best of one’s self. And they both can juice one’s creativity in more than emphatic ways.
I remember June being our batch leader in high school. Our PE and other teachers would entrust to his leadership our field exercises, mass calisthenics, folk dances, cheer competitions and stage performances. He would always bang the drum (or any other noisy metal like gongs, kalderas, iron buckets, etc) to signal the start of formations.
And when one does not cooperate, he would shout at the top of his voice to command respect. And that pays off. Almost always, his loud voice would bring about obedience which in turn result to proper execution of steps and moves. How our teachers find him then so valuable as it made their jobs easy.
Today, June is like a father to many of his wards. He shouts, admonishes, gestures to command not fear but respect. But his enigmatic ways do not stop at chastisement and discipline. The father that he is, he also cheers, pampers, and extends teaching, caring and loving.
And just like a father indeed, he sends his children to schools too (as in this Nierras choreography clinic), where at the end of the day, his children gain some learning and effectively share their lessons too.
Suffice it to say, this is how arts and culture is preserved and passed on. We could only be thankful for the likes of Douglas and June. They are themselves a class.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on March 13, 2013.