The spirit of Freddie Mercury must have been watching as both teams ended with platform finishes in the Seniors division, with NU edging out UP for 2nd runner-up (and first platform finish ever) while LSDC-Street won their fourth-ever championship; FEU wedged between them as 1st runner-up, handing their crown to the dancers from Taft. The results only got more tense in the Juniors division as UE pipped FEU by 0.05 the 1st runner-up position, while UST Galvanize blazed ahead for a back-to-back championship win.
LSDC-Street had chosen to use Queen as homage to the band and bring something that the audience could relate to and enjoy. “It was a challenge to translate Queen into streetdance, it took a lot of research and experimenting,” says team captain Diego Aviles, but relating their progress to the band’s journey paid off. He calls their winning performance the “best run” they’ve done, “The motivation to do our best per segment was constant. We could feel one another cheering each other on, shouting on every hit, and it was evident on the faces of the competing members and the cheers of the crowd that everyone enjoyed the performance.”
UST Galvanize coach Matthew Almodovar shared that the Yellow Jacket-esque theme was an idea given by a friend, and in some manner was a way to show gratitude to the UST community – be it the Yellow Jackets, their seniors in UST Prime, or their Cheerdance counterparts in Salinggawi. “Pinush ko talaga because gusto ko ipakita ‘yong “school spirit” talaga,” says the now two-time winning coach.
While a back-to-back was definitely on their mind (and perhaps now a three-peat), Almodovar reminds his dancers that the drive to dance or perform shouldn’t be the title, but rather “sumayaw sila kasi gusto nila, and because they enjoy it.” And the coach’s words ring true, amidst all the late-night trainings and numerous marked runs, the greatest motivation a dancer can have is simply give the performance of a lifetime.
Hopefully the day will come when people won’t look at dancers as “just dancers.” If there’s anything that the UAAP Streetdance Competition has shown, it’s that these student-athletes have flushed away blood, sweat, and tears, day and night, to show everyone a whole array of movements on the dance floor. All it takes is a little music, rhythm, and movements, and you’ll find these UAAP teams dancing their hearts away, for the love of the craft, in the name of their schools, and for the glory of God.
All photos by Kristofer Purnell.
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