Sunday, March 20, 2011

Time Management

It’s hell week again. It’s the last few days of the semester when we will encounter series of exams and deadlines. Problem sets, machine problems, reports, projects, exams, and other academic pressures, name them all. That’s a brutal fact of a student life. When you are overwhelmed by the deadlines, and you dread if you will get through because of the limited time you have to meet all the requirements, the solution is good time management. This time around, there should be less time for movies, for facebook, for parties and hanging out with friends, and other common engaging youth activities and give more time on your academics. Plan your schedule well, balance everything, strategize, and avoid major diversions from the plan. It won’t last long. Everything will come to pass. The deadline itself has its own ‘terminus ad quem’ or terminal point. So let’s nail this! 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

1st UAAP Streetdance Competition

The 1st UAAP street dance competition, which was held last March 12, 2011 at the Big Dome, was a successful one. All street dance fans and enthusiasts were surely excited about the competition, and I’m one of them. This time, I was really hoping that UP Street would place first place because they failed to do it in the last two competitions. They were the first to perform and I can feel the pressure. The Iskolars ng Bayan were there to support the UP Street. When the competition was officially opened and UP Street was already called, all the UP students got up on their feet shouting and cheering for the UP Street which shows their excitement. Other schools, I guess were pressured. And indeed, the performance was explosive and intense. Their choreography was really creative and difficult. I can see the passion and the energy. I can see that they have a great chance to win the competition and I was so happy for that. Their performance was way better than the Rock Dance Celeb performance. I think those who competed in the UAAP competition was the best in the UP Street. The tight rival of UP Street I think is CADS. And when I saw their performance, it would really be a close fight between the two teams. Well, I told myself, “I’ll leave it to the judges this time.” But I was still hoping that it would still be in favour to the UP Street. The performances of the other schools were impressive but it was not pure street dance. It was a mix of modern jazz, cheer dancing, ballet, and gymnastics. Though the synchronization of steps was good and they really looked very well from afar, they were not purely doing street dance. When I saw the performance of DLSU, I can still say that the performance of UP Street and CADS was better.
The excitement arose when the winners were revealed. When CADS was proclaimed 2nd runner-up placer, there was a great relief. I thought UP Street’s going to bag the first place. However, it was DLSU who was declared the winner. I was a bit disheartened about the result. Even my friends were saddened about the result. The judges’ decision was final and no one can doubt their irrefutable expertise on the field so there’s no point of protesting.
There was an issue about the lightings during the competition. The lightings were dim when other schools performed but when DLSU performed, the lighting was brighter which made their performance more visible and livelier. I won’t speak more about the issue because I just heard it from friends which make it not factual at all.
Despite the result, I still firmly believe that UP Street gave the best and the fiercest performance. In my eyes and in the eyes of other people, UP Street should have won. It was just the first competition. I hope UP Street will be back stronger and better next year.  Go UP Street! 
Below is the complete list of the result:

UAAP Street Dance Competition Result:

1st Place: La Salle Dance Company - Street 
2nd Place: UP Streetdance Club
3rd Place: Company of Ateneo Dancers
4th Place: UE Street Warriors 
5th Place: UST Salingawi Dance Troupe
6th Place: FEU Cheering Squad
7th Place: Company of Adamson Street Dance
8th Place: NU Dance Crew

Here are pictures of UP Street while performing in the competition:

Fierce! That's UP Street! =)

UP Streetdance club presents "Reconnect"

            Last March 5, 2011, I was given the chance to watch a street dance concert by the UP Streetdance Club. I was really excited to watch the concert even weeks before. I was looking forward to that event hoping that there would be no conflicts. I’m a fan of street dance and I was so excited to watch the experts do it in a concert. It would really be a fun night to watch a continuous street dance show.
               The theme of the event was “Reconnect”. I wondered at first about what the theme means. My first guess was that it will be a homecoming concert where the alumni of the club will reunite and reconnect with the club and they will perform together with the present members. My next guess was that it will be the start of the campaign to reconnect with the society for the furtherance and spread of the art of street dancing. My other guess was that it would be a call for unity and youth empowerment in the face of all the national crises and issues. But I didn’t mind too much what the theme is all about. I just focused on the surprises the night will give.
            Though there was a delay for more than 30 minutes because of some problems in the accommodation of the audience, it didn’t wane the energy of the atmosphere and the excitement of the people. When the countdown began, the people started to get excited. Some sat straight on their seats anticipating for an explosive opening performance. Some howled, some smiled and shouted, while others joined with the countdown of time. And yes, when the countdown was over, people screamed. Even I myself wasn’t able to control myself from screaming. The opening performance was indeed explosive. I can’t take my eyes off the stage. The performers were really good. The music was great, the lighting was awesome. It was just the opening of performance and the atmosphere was filled with great energy and expectation for more performances. I just realized that there the club has many members. When everyone was dancing all together, I hoped that one day, I will be able to perform on the stage with them, though it may seem impossible with all my present circumstances.  
The succeeding performances were very entertaining and engaging. The dancers got very wild and uncontrolled in some portion of the show especially the part of the showdowns. They were “krumping” if I’m not mistaken. There were some romantic parts as well like the scene of a wedding. There were entertaining parts like the enactment of the famous games in this generation like the Plants vs. Zombies, Counter Strike, and Super Mario. I think the audience really enjoyed that part. They also performed once more what they performed during the Rock Dance Celebration. The competition team also performed in the concert. And they were really very good. The “the crew”, or the group of the best street dance club performers also performed. It’s good to know that until now, they still never lose the passion to dance. Because of the presence of the alumni, I think it became like a reunion concert.
            The concept and theme of the show was very creative. There was a story which revolved throughout the concert. It was about the guy who sought the value and meaning of his life. He experimented on many things and engaged in activities typical young people do. It was at the last part of the show when we were enlightened why the theme of the concert is entitled “reconnect”. It was about reconnecting with God. I appreciated the fact that although it may sound boring or overrated to other people, they still show to the people that it should be God who’ll be lifted and glorified above all. The last part of the show became similar to a praise and worship because the music played was already a Christian song. My initial guesses were wrong. I was a bit shocked and surprised that what the theme “reconnect” is actually telling is about reconnecting with our God.
            I really enjoyed the night and the 200 pesos I paid was worth it. Though there was some problem with the sounds system, I think the dancers nailed the concert. Everyone was entertained by the performances, presumptively. I would want to watch the concert again. So congratulations UP street dance club!

"Amphitryon" by Dulaang UP

          The play Amphitryon is definitely one of the most exciting plays of Dulaang UP. Actually, it was my second time to watch the play as I was also required by my Eng10 teacher to watch the play last year. At first, I thought of not watching the play the second time around because the story was still familiar in my head though I can’t exactly remember the scenes in the play and since at that same night was the most exciting night of the UP Fair and I don’t want to miss the time with my friends in the Fair. But since I fell in love with the play before, and because I want to refresh all the scenes, and due to the impact of the magnificent “Isang Panaginip na El Fili”, I decided to buy myself a ticket of the play. And I didn’t regret with my decision. The play didn’t fail to make me say “the 150 pesos I paid was worth it”. Though there was less excitement, less intrigue and less anticipation because as the play progressed, little by little the scenes came back into my memory and I remembered what’s going to happen next, I wasn’t bored the whole time. I still enjoyed the play, the humour of the characters, the interesting plot, and the amazing and impressive acting skill of the cast.
            I expected that the play this time would be better than the one I saw a year ago. But I see no difference. The degree of humour was the same; the props they used, based on my observation, are exactly the same; the casting was the same though I have no problem with that; or in other words, everything was exactly the same. It would have been better, I guess, if they improved the props, improved the lighting and enhanced the stage decoration. I expected a lot from this year’s showing of Amphitryon concerning those petty technicalities. I was being meticulous this time, I suppose, because I have already seen it before. I was more observant and particular to the small details because I already knew what the play is all about. And improving those small details I specified would have made a great difference on my own perspective. I’m not showing distaste on the play. It was just a minor dissatisfaction because of failed expectations. One of my friends who watched it for the first time was impressed by the play and he told me that he might watch it again. That was also my sentiment the first time I watched the play. I’m not sure if he might think or feel the way I do now after his second viewing.
            These were the strengths of the play: first, the interesting plot. Titus Plautus is a genius. I loved how he constructed the quite complicated and tricky story. Amphitryon revolves around the love story between Amphitryon, Alcmene and Jupiter. Amphitryon has been away at war leaving his wife Alcmene in Thebes. Jupiter fell in love for Alcmene so he pretended to be Amphitryon and slept with Alcmene that particular night while Amphitryon and his slave companion Sosias were still on their way back to Thebes. To complement, another person pretended to be Sosias and it happened to be Mercury according to my research. So while Sosias was on his way back to Thebes to inform Alcmene that his master Amphitryon was on his way back home victorious, he was caught in a dilemma. He encountered another Sosias who was exactly like him, the true Sosias. He was puzzled and confused. He was demoralized and literally beaten so he went back to his master to inform him about the quandary he faced. Amphitryon went straight way back home to clear things up. So when he arrived at Thebes, while Jupiter was able to just leave the house, Alcmene was shocked over his immediate return because she thought the man whom she slept with and the man who she just bade goodbye was his husband. Amphitryon wasn’t pleased by Alcemene’s response to his return which led to more arguments and the revelation of secrets about Alcmene sleeping with another man who she thought was his husband which she was really sure of. More verbal fights and disputes followed. At the same time, Sosias also has his own scenes with the fake Sosias and his wife who was also Alcmene’s maid. It was however more humorous and less dramatic compared to the scenes of Amphitryon and Alcmene. Soon, after the long arguments and while Alcmene already decided to turn his back against the true Amphitryon, Jupiter revealed the truth that he was not the true Amphitryon. He told Alcmene that he pretended to be Amphitryon because he fell in love with her and he was hoping to earn her love. He then cleaned up his mess and left Alcmene and his true love Amphitryon together. Alcmene was blessed with a twin. One was from Amphitryon and the other one was from Jupiter whose name is Hercules. The story is superb. It was unique and different and not the typical love stories we watch in movie houses or in the television. Even gods fall into the trap of love. Was what Jupiter did an act of foolishness? If yes, then even gods do foolish things because of love. And if no, then he was just stepping out of the boat, beyond the specified limits into the water. It was so manly and sincere of him to have stepped down to earth and pretended to be the human Amphitryon. It was a great act of love for Alcmene. However, despite the sincerity, the decision was not good enough. It was a selfish decision. Didn’t it come across his mind that interfering with the affairs of the earth will destroy relationships and cause chaos? Indeed, love makes the world go round. When we are madly and deeply in love, our eyes are blinded. We forget other things like our obligation to other people, the notion that they too have their own right and that they occupy a space that they deserve, and wise discretion is stooped down by the aggressive attacks of the impulsive heart. Sometimes, the other senses become dysfunctional because of almost total reliance to the deceiving and misleading sense of feeling. That’s exactly the scenario where Jupiter was found. Love crushed him that lives almost fell apart. Fortunately, he came back into his senses and he saw the wreck he made. It was almost too late to clean the mess. However, in reality, it’s already too late, most of the time, for us to realize that we have gone overboard and it’s very difficult and almost impossible to fix the damage and to repair what’s broken. The second strength of the play is the excellent casting. It was the same set of cast who played in last year’s Amphitryon that I saw. They certainly have mastered the lines, their expressions, emotions, positions in the stage and other minute details especially with years of training, experience and recurring performances. They speak audibly with the perfect rate, pitch, emphasis and variety depending on the scene. Their facial expressions, movements and other nonverbal cues contributed a more compelling and real scenes. The success of a play doesn’t really rely on the plot of the story, nor at the props and other helpful effects. Its success mainly depends on the players. A great game doesn’t depend on a great court, a great coach, a great audience or a great ball. It depends on its players. And honestly, the performers of Amphitryon played their game well. They’ve had teamwork, they knew when to start and when to end, they knew when to pass the ball and how to exchange passes and they knew just when to shoot it. It was a job well done.
 I shared my own sentiments with my friends who also watched the play. They too enjoyed the night maybe more than I do. I immediately went straight ahead to Sunken Garden, and thought of a weird thing: what if a god badly wants my friends who were in the UP Fair and while I was away, he pretended to be me. It would be a whole-night duel with the unholy god. I just laughed at my insanity. I would never want to be found in the same place as Amphitryon. But it would be an honour, I guess.