Words Pola Esguerra del Monte
Before my dancing shoes tapped the stage, the hair gel on my head melted under spotlights, and before a thousand pairs of eye met mine, there was first a camera that rolled.
I was nineteen, a month-old UP Concert Chorus trainee, or a fetus in Korus years. Heck, I wasn’t a fetus. I was probably even metaphorically younger than that. A zygote yet to undergo mitosis, newly released in an environment where it would be nurtured and developed before its grand launch to the outside world.
Only, the UPCC launches zygotes before they are even human-like. In non-anatomical terms, a trainee needs to perform, even if he is still a trainee. We are trained to learn by doing, by practicing on actual stages, in the eyes of real spectators, no matter how raw we are.
Destiny, with the approval of Ma’am Jai, decided what a trainee’s first performance would be. It could be a wedding gig, a major concert, or a CCP production. It depended on whatever show UPCC was involved in at that time.
Mine happened to be the first mass on the wake of a former President—an event which would be aired live on national TV.
Thus, when my turn to be baptized came, I was jostled unto the TV screen, in front of millions of televiewers here and abroad for my first performance.
And boy, was I starstruck with myself.
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