by Camille Louise Jauregui
The General Paciano Rizal Park was packed with people on the evening of September 13, waiting for the opportunity to watch six dance groups compete in the annual Bailamos Dance Battle, which is one of the activities during the Bañamos Festival. The weather condition notwithstanding, people stayed to watch the contestants move to their choice of hip-hop music.
The participants in this year’s dance battle underwent video screenings instead of the usual live auditions. Of the 16 groups that sent video clips of their dance routine as audition piece, only 11 qualified. On the evening of the contest, however, only six were able to come. These were League of Monster from Cabuyao, Irie Farm from Biñan, and Street Kings, LSPU Chiggaz, CDLB Eagles Dance Company, and PGC Dance Crew from Los Baños.
That evening, the all-male group PGC Dance Crew went home with the title, trophy, and the cash prize of P20,000.00 after garnering a score of 93%. Irie Farm placed second (90%) and took home the cash prize of P15,000.00, and Street Kings came third (84%) and received P10,000.00 in cash.
Arianne Ferrer and Erica Gapit of the University of the Philippines Los Baños Street Jazz Dance Company and Michael Jame Adam served as judges of the competition.
During the program, the audience was entertained by performances from the Bailamos 2007 champion Aishiteru Dancers, UPLB SJDC Fatale, and The Nazty Boys.
The annual competition is being held to showcase the youth’s talents and to get them involved in worthwhile activities, such as promoting a cause. According to Geronimo Luna, Jr., event coordinator and chair of Bailamos, he envisions the competition as an avenue for the youth, especially the out-of-school youth, to be doing something good. “Kahit tumambay ka, yung tambay mo [ay] sa grupo, sa sayaw, hindi sa kung anong kalokohan,” he said.
He said in light of reported use and abuse of illegal drugs in the country, majority of the supposed users being in their 30’s and unemployed, as indicated in the website of the Dangerous Drugs Board. A study has found that the main cause of drug abuse among college students is peer influence; other factors are psychological and socio-economic in nature.
Dancing, as a recreational activity, is a physical activity that helps increase production of serotoni and dopamine in the brain, thus helping promote good mood, sensation of pleasure, and an overall positive effect on both physical and mental health. Low levels of these neurochemicals are linked to depression, which can be a contributing factor for seeking escape through drug use.
The Bailamos is an avenue for the youth to share their talent in and passion for dancing. In addition, it also helps promote the beauty of the people and the town of Los Baños, as showcased in the new tourism video launched during the championship evening by the Los Baños Culture, History, Arts, and Tourism Office. The video, according to tourism officer Rommel Maningas, features an original song sang by Mackie Cao, a native of Los Baños and contestant in the nationwide singing competition, The Voice.