[12 August 2014] After snagging the championship in the high school category of the Smart Jump In Dance-Off competition last year, the Sayawatha Dance Troupe of Miriam High School is far from easing up.
BIG MOVES FOR SMART JUMP IN DANCE-OFF 2. The Sayawatha Dance Troupe of Miriam High School, which won the championship in last year’s Smart Jump In Dance Off – High School category, rehearses for a strong performance this season. This year, Smart Prepaid is offering over P4 million in prizes for the best dance teams in the elementary, high school and college levels. School-based dance groups may send their online video auditions until Aug. 17 at www.smart.com.ph/danceoff2.
After snagging the championship in the high school category of the Smart Jump In Dance-Off competition last year, the Sayawatha Dance Troupe of Miriam High School is far from easing up.
This year, the all-girl dance crew is determined to give their best in the second season of the biggest interschool dance competition in the country.
“We can’t deny that we feel the pressure to defend our title,” said 17-year old Pam Cruz, Sayawatha’s team captain. “But we try to get it out of our minds and just focus on delivering a great performance on stage.”
This mindset plus their burning passion for dancing, said Cruz, propelled the team to win last year amid intense competition from equally talented finalists at the Araneta Coliseum in July last year. In preparation for this year's tilt, the group spends three to four hours after classes for dance rehearsals and training, keeping in mind that there's no room for complacency.
“In every competition, we try to sport the underdog mindset so that we end up pushing ourselves even more,” said 16-year old Sayawatha member Giannina Cadhit. "We know we should always work hard because there are lots of talented dance crews out there.”
And while others consider their being an all-girl group limiting, the group said it was actually their competitive edge.
“Being an all-girl group makes it is easier for us to connect to one another and listen to each other’s rhythm,” said Summer Hernandez, 16, another Sayawatha member.
“This genuine bond is very important in every dance group, and we try to develop this by hanging out together and looking out for one another,” she added.
Most fun and enjoyable competition
Although Sayawatha is no stranger to dance competitions and acing them – they join around five in a year with strong performances – the group has been looking forward to the upcoming Smart Jump In Dance-Off competition since their victory last year.
“For us, it’s one of the more fun and enjoyable competitions,” said Andy Gaston, who was part of last year’s Sayawatha winning line-up. “The competition gave us a chance to actually meet members of the Philippine All-Stars, who we all look up to. They gave us tips on how to tap our emotions and dance from our heart. They really inspired us,” said Gaston.
“Moreover, in the finals, we felt that every team in the competition was not there to outdo each other but to ultimately give the audience a great show. Everyone was just there for the love of dancing. We really hope we could make it there again,” she added.
Jumping in to opportunities
Stirring the passion of the youth in pursuing their dreams is exactly what Smart Jump In Dance-Off aims to do, said Joel Lumanlan, Smart Prepaid Head.
“Through healthy competition, Smart Jump In Dance-Off wants the youth to be confident about themselves and jump in to opportunities to show their talent to the world,” said Lumanlan. “We would like to empower the youth so they may go all-out for their dreams.”
Online video auditions extended until Aug. 17
For this year, Smart Jump In Dance-Off promises a much bigger competition, offering up to P4 million in prizes for the nation's best dance groups in the elementary, high school and college levels.
By including grade schoolers in the competition, Lumanlan said Smart opens a wider net for talented school dancers, who stand to benefit from the exposure to other talented groups as well as coaching from professional dancers.
Smart Prepaid has opened the initial phase of the competition through online video auditions that is extended until Aug. 17.
Those who will pass the auditions will compete in the live regional screenings across SM Malls nationwide (SM Iloilo on Aug. 24; SM Rosales and SM City Cagayan De Oro on Aug. 30; SM City Davao, SM City Cebu, and SM Dasmarinas on Sept. 6; SM City North Edsa and SM Mall of Asia on Sept. 7) before finally battling it out to the grand finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on October 5.
To read the complete mechanics, visit www.smart.com.ph/danceoff2. For more updates, also follow the official Smart Jump In account on Facebook () and official Smart Twitter account (@SMARTCares).