Aaaand I’m late again. Sorry about that! But back to the topic. From all the things I’ve been posting on instagram, twitter and Facebook, you’ll probably know that I had the privilege of performing at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. It’s opportunities like these that do not pass by very often and I just know I had to take it. Months before the performance I’ve been thinking hard whether to join it or not. Why? Let’s just say that singing in tagalog isn’t my strength, at all. But I put the tagalog to one side and came to a point where I knew I enjoy being on the stage, just like all the other performances I’ve done throughout my life.
I’ve been studying the song ‘Patuloy ang Pangarap’ by Angeline Quinto for two months. Thats more than enough to prepare. It’s been stuck to me ’till this very day and who knows when I’ll stop singing it! I remember sounding horrible because I didn’t know the meaning of the song at all. There’s no emotion if you don’t know what you’re talking about! Luckily I had several people translating each line for me. Basically, the song is about having a dream, and not stopping until you reach it no matter what.
They made me sing this song because I played the role of the young Marguerite, where my journey begins into becoming a famous prima ballerina. So obviously the story starts with my song. There’s a lot of pressure put on when you’re the opening number. It was only me and my gigantic dress on stage with the orchestra behind. By the way, both of my dresses were made by the one and only Randy Ortiz :).
Becoming into one of the most prestigious ballerina’s, Marguerite joined many performances and played many roles including Romeo & Juliet, Tziange and Don Quixote. This was what the first act was all about. I wondered how the ballerinas were able to balance on tiny squares and move so gracefully. I remember staying backstage the whole time and refusing to go to my dressing room to watch the dancers practice and perform.
Photo by Maria Mapagu
I heard that the second act was very emotional and even made some people in the audience cry. After watching it for the first time the story was clear and the expressions on their faces were spot on! The story is a love triangle. Marguerite has been successful in everything except love. She finds herself with a guy named Antonio who isn’t a dancer. Antonio asks Marguerite to leave with him but Marguerite refuses as ballet means more to her than anything. She finds herself another guy named Roberto who is a dancer. Marguerite then finds out that Roberto has been cheating on her with other younger dancers. But the story ends happily where Antonio comes back to Marguerite where she is truly someone successful in life.
Photo by Maria Mapagu
The story isn’t one of the most fascinating ones out there but, imagine telling a story through dance! That’s tough enough already. The way they interpreted the story through ballet was just amazing to watch, and we actually got it! My friends said it ‘became more interesting when people were throwing other people’ haha! The second act is my favorite out of the two. It’s not a surprise that the dancers are great actors and actresses too.
Besides me, there were a few more singers who took part as well. I was joined by Morissette Amon who was a top finisher of the Voice Philippines, A professional opera singer named Dresden Ramos, the Voice Philippines champion Mitoy and The concert king, Martin Nievera. And there I was, the only amateur singer. How nerve-racking! Although I was shy as usual, all of them were very friendly. I even found myself talking, but not much haha!
Both nights, I managed to be the best I could be which was all I really hoped for. That’s my goal for everything! Going on stage and being prepared is sort of a walk in the park. You walk in, everything is dark but a few flashing lights, you don’t think of anything and you start singing and don’t stop until the song’s over. It’s like my brain has lost control over my voice and body, it’s just blank. I’m always asked what it feels like to be on stage, so there you go! I’m also asked if I ever get nervous. Of course I do, but not to the point that I’m shaking with fear. And that’s only before I go on stage.
I was over the top excited and nervous knowing that many people I knew were going to watch me: My family and skating family. My voice coach, Teacher Perpy watched even if she wasn’t feeling well. Hopefully I made them proud. I remember my coaches and ate’s telling me to sing more tagalog songs and maybe a bisaya one too! And on both nights, it was a pleasure to see my brothers and cousin come on stage to give me flowers. I have such supportive surroundings and I’m so thankful for that :).
I’d like to thank another voice coach of mine, teacher Jem who helped me practice my song and Lola Cha-Cha for letting me join Serye at Sayaw. But most of all thanks to my Grandma (Mamadel), and Mom for pushing me to really understand my character and how I had to sing. There was a lot of frustration over my emotions. It sounds pretty to easy to learn a song, but for me it’s not when you’re learning a song you don’t fancy. But I remembered when I skated. How my life revolved around it and I sacrificed so many things for it. It’s the same concept and feeling when dreaming to become a prima ballerina or anything in fact.
Photo by Maria Mapagu
What an amazing experience. Meeting all these new and talented people; knowing what it feels like to perform on a massive stage and taking on a new challenge in singing. Those ballet dancers are amazing. Whoever thinks dance is easy, let me tell you its not. And it looks so tiring as well! But I noticed how they enjoyed every minute of the rehearsals and performances, as well as the singers. Being accompanied by the ABS-CBN orchestra felt grand. The sounds they produced were so rich adding character to the songs. Having maestro Gerard Salonga as the conductor was such an honor. I don’t know what crazy, jaw-dropping experience like this one ill have next, but I’m sure to be onboard with whatever it is. ‘Serye at Sayaw’- my debut at the CCP, something I’ll never forget.