Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Dance and Fear

What enables a dancer to freestyle? What opens up a dancer's mind to a limitless sky of creativity and a never-ending well of move after move after move? After spending almost four years dancing, and learning so much from so many people, I suppose I have some semblance of an answer.

Not a care in the world.

The Mind/Heart Killer
Fear, not just in dance, kills the ability of the heart and mind to act in unison. Everything that we do passionately, I'd like to believe that it is because we consciously love doing and learning it (the mind) and we will subconsciously feel incomplete and dissatisfied without it at all (the heart). Fear brings doubts, and doubts raises self-consciousness to such a level that a dancer feels s/he "needs to impress" and "look good" in a session. Fear of negative comments, laughter, and getting labeled as 'wack' creates a dancer that thinks too much of rejection and 'not being good enough'. Fear's essential impact is preventing a dancer from sharing his/her entire being (feelings, emotions, skills, etc.) on the dance floor. In other words, a dancer who feels s/he must prove something to someone ends up not being able to freestyle with a limitless mind and a sharing heart.

The Opposite of Fear
In the book Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield (which, by the way, is my favorite book of all time), the Spartan general Dienekes (of "We'll fight in the shade" fame) teaches his young warrior-squire Alexandros the meaning of fear and its opposite. While defending Thermopylae (of "300" fame), Alexandros - exposed to the horrors of war at the young age of 18 - eventually discovers the opposite of fear. It is also the exact same answer that I've learned from several individuals I respect highly in the Filipino dance community. The opposite of fear is love.

Love doesn't judge; it doesn't have an opinion. All it does is be. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. When a dancer loves his/her art so much that the world ceases to exist around him/her, something magical happens. A dancer in love with everything about the art will not care  S/he hits every single beat every single time, moves that flow into each other materializes one after the other smoothly, and best of all, a story is told. Freestyle is considered by some to be somewhat of 'a test' on whether or not a street dancer can really dance. No practice, no choreography, no pre-sets. Just the music and the moment. Love for the art, love for one's inspiration(s) (be it one's Faith, a life-changing moment, or someone important), and love for one's self all brings out the dancer in his/her best form. A dancer just dances. Love doesn't care who wins or loses, who's amazing or who's wack, and it definitely doesn't have a standard of 'good' or 'bad'.

Just dance.
Out with the fear, in with the love.
One love, chyeah.


This post is inspired by my experiences with my beloved Skittlez Crew, a group of friends that have grown into a huge family that inspires many Lasallians. Also much inspiration came from my dance mentor Michael 'Decky' Decano, first Papi of Skittlez and a leader not just in the crew but of people as well. Many thanks go to Phillip Pamintuan aka Adrum the Warrior of Murda Fam and Krumpinoy, a titan in faith and in the dance community. I have so much love and respect for crews that freestyle out of love: Unschooled, Krumpinoy, UPM Indayog, and Bandila Fusion, among others.

Picture courtesy of morethanastance.com; retrieved on January 31, 2012.

"Just Dance" quote courtesy of Phillip Pamintuan, 2012.


  1. True, true. Just cried twice over... the two times I freestyled. What's more beautiful about it, I was alone. Sarap.

  2. Maii: Thanks for visiting my blog, Maii! :) It's beautiful, isn't it, to just dance :)

  3. Of course, it is. The best thing.