DXhibit: Vitale, A Backstage Pass

by Atom Go Tian (4I), Dance X Member
Photos by Justin Co (3F), Stallion Photographer

Vitale (viˈtale) adjective
1. a. (gen) vital; b. (vivace, persona) lively, vital spazio vitale living space
2. (che può vivere) viable 

Vitale. This was the theme of the recently concluded DXhibit. Each year, Xavier School’s Dance X holds a fundraising concert that showcases the talents of Xaverians and other dance troupes of schools in Metro Manila. We chose to call this year’s concert “Vitale” because dance represents majority of our lives; dance is what makes us who we are today. Inspired by the impact that dancing had on our lives, we thought, “Why can’t it be the same for others as well?”

Anyone can dance.

We in Dance X believe that one does not even have to be good at dancing in order to dance. All it takes is a positive attitude and the confidence to do what you love to do. Whether you are a janitor, a teacher, or even a person with disabilities, dance is an art form for all walks of life.

Months before the concert, with the hopes of avoiding having to cram finishing the concert in the last few weeks leading to the concert like we have done so many times in the past, Dance X already began rehearsals. We trained in Xavier School for 3-5 hours everyday, sometimes even for 8 hours a day as we conducted the kids’ workshops in the morning. Moreover, we also prepared routines with children with disabilities through our collaboration with The Heart at Play Foundation. It was the first time that we had children with disabilities on a Dance X stage, and we felt that they had every right to be up there with us. It was truly inspirational to see the kids enjoying themselves as they danced alongside us with smiles on their faces. It was clear that they loved to dance, perhaps just as much as we did. Through their participation, we hoped to emphasize our point that anyone from all walks of life can dance.

Our training venues ranged from the Early Education Multi-Purpose Hall and the Sports Center stage to the Chinese and English Learning Centers. These once seemingly ordinary venues slowly evolved into places we can now call home. We trained, held meetings, laughed, ate, and even slept there. Ultimately, we hardly even left the Xavier School Campus. This was how majority of us spent our summer, and it was all worth it. Our rigorous training allowed us to develop a sense of camaraderie, stronger relationship with one another, and growth in our individual skills as dancers.

Once the school year began, our usually lengthy training schedule was significantly cut short. We were limited to train only from 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. However, instead of this time constraint slowing us down, it only pushed us to make the most of every moment we had.

It’s no secret that we encountered quite a number of problems, especially during the last two weeks of the concert. Among our numerous issues, I would have to say that our lack of funding was our greatest adversary. We risked not releasing any of our promotional material or merchandise on time; we even thought of postponing the concert altogether. We did eventually gather enough money but, the degree of difficulty these tribulations put on us was of a whole new level altogether. In addition to the late nights we spent training and dealing with potential sponsors, we had to deal with the same workload that every other student had to. It was certainly a daunting task.

As soon as I got home from late night training, I would do homework until one or two o’clock in the morning, sleep, then wake up at 6:30 a.m. the following day. The week before the show, I was running on a mere five hours of sleep. To make things worse, my attention in class started to decline and I could feel a fever coming. Two days before the show, we not only had a costume run, but also two full runs of the entire concert routine. By the time we finished, I was exhausted and had no energy to work. My immediate reaction upon arriving home was to fall right asleep without accomplishing anything else.

The day before the concert was even worse. We had a tech run, it was the welcoming night for us new members of the Youth Christian Life Community (YCLC), and I had college refresher courses in the morning. A few hours before the show, we had another run of the entire concert. One can only imagine how exhausted I was; I couldn’t even fully execute my moves, nor stand up straight. I suffered constant headaches and felt my temperature rising.

Nonetheless, I still wanted to perform. I knew that once I got on that stage, I would be completely fine—and I was right.

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Dancing for the opening sequence recharged and rejuvenated me. The adrenaline began to kick in, and I felt full of energy. As soon as we got off stage, we rushed to our dressing room to prepare for our collaboration with the kids from The Heart at Play Foundation. After that, the rest of the night passed me by like a blur: get on stage, perform, get off stage, change into my costume for the next set, stand by, and repeat. I was drowned by the enthusiastic cheers of the audience, the bright lights of the production, and most of all, the thrill of dancing on stage.

After seeing the same faces every day at training and rehearsals, one would think that we would get sick of each other, but this wasn’t the case for Dance X. Every day and every training session together was a gift. This experience allowed us all to grow as a team and strengthen our bonds with one another. The whole event was definitely worth all the exhaustion, stress, and sleepless nights. The smiles on our faces said it all: we would do it all over again if we had the chance.

“The constant feeling of doubt, stress, and pressure poured in as the date of the event was coming close, but as soon as it ended, I realized that I had just finished one of my first ‘lasts’ before graduating from Xavier.”
– Kyle Tan, Dance X Captain

To learn more about The Heart at Play Foundation, click on this link: http://www.theheartatplayfoundation.org

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