Glam-Ma to represent PH in int’l dance competition

IT IS very hard to believe that Jola Sepulveda Abshire is a proud grandmother of five. She is a Glam-ma or glamorous grandma! This 50 something’s smokin' hot body puts many younger women's figures to shame…myself included. I asked her how she maintains her sexy and svelte body, and she attributes this all to dance.

We actually first met briefly in aero-dance class, but I got pregnant so we went on our separate ways. Her Southern Louisiana drawl, dainty structure, and fluid graceful way she moves make her memorable. Thanks to the power of Facebook, we’ve kept in touch and I saw her progress.

From aero-dance she went onto to ballroom dancing, and now onto professional ballroom, performing in events and joining contests. In fact, this August 13, she will be representing Cagayan De Oro, Philippines in an International Dance Competition in Hong Kong.

This proud Cebuana actually just moved to this City of Golden Friendship in 2011. “I met my cousin Vivian in our family reunion in Cebu. She invited me to her home in CDO, so I could see this beautiful city. My husband and I took her up on her offer, and he fell in love with the landscape. South Louisiana, where we lived is a flat land, no mountains, not even a rock! CDO reminded him of Cebu 28 years ago; a quiet city, not the enormous metropolitan it is now. Everything is within arm’s reach, a mere 15 to 20 minutes ride away. The quiet beauty of this town hooked us and we decided to stay. CDO is now home and I am proud to represent it.”

These days, the art of dance is no longer limited to ballet concertos, but it has also spread its branches to encompass mainstream fitness. It is a popular option in living an active lifestyle, with classes like Zumba, ballroom, contempo, Latin, and hiphop. Moreover, the popularity of popular TV programs like "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance" has shown that dance is not just for artists who studied it, but for everyone.

Jola shared, “Dancing was not the first option, though! You see, my doctor advised me to exercise. I started to do the aero-dance, but it lasted for a few weeks. That’s when you and I met. But doing the repetitive movements was all too habitual and dull. Then, my friend suggested for me to try out ballroom dancing. The rest is history!”

She is quick to point out that her love for ballroom started more of as a hobby and a fitness regimen. “In my first year, I danced once a week. Next year, it leveled up to twice a week. I just followed the dance instructor on the dance floor. Then, my friends asked me to dance for their birthdays. I think that's when my dancing career started to lift off as I began having more intensive dance routines and lessons,” she narrated with a smile.

In the beginning, Jola’s performances were limited to birthdays, weddings, reunions, and anniversaries. She never thought about competitive dancing until one day in Davao, after performing her routine with her partner, she was mistaken for a competitor by one of the professional dance instructors.

A couple of months later, she was dancing again in Cebu and several professional dance performers approached her to inquire about her training. She said, “They convinced my dance partner and me to join the competition. I thought, they think I'm ready to compete, so I might as well give it a try. So I ended up joining the international competition this August.”

One of the biggest challenges in ballroom is finding the right partner. She explained, “In ballroom dancing, you're never alone on the dance floor. You really need to find a dance instructor who can adjust to your needs and at the same time enable you to grow as a dancer. I've found my perfect partner though, Junnel Sajol, who is a dance sport enthusiast and has won more trophies than anyone I know in Cagayan.”

Right now, she dances almost all the time. It feels as if dancing is her happy pill. She noted, as with anything, starting is always the most difficult part. But through this art and sport, she forgets about feeling lazy or tired. She always looks forward to her dance practice sessions. She pointed out that she feels like a completely energized and brand new person on the dance floor.

“Dancing just brings me to a safe place where I know I can be carefree and in touch with my body and soul. When I dance, I don't worry about anyone or anything! I feel like there's nobody around me. This huge wave of happiness just falls on me when I dance. I don't worry or get embarrassed if I make mistakes because the dance floor to me is a safe haven, where I am in my own world!” she concluded.

To see more pictures of Jola in action on the dance floor, or to get in-touch with me, please hop-on over to:
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