BY RHENJIE MARIE CALANTAS
Celebrating 15 years of excellence in motion, Dance STEP’s grand recital was once again rocked with roars and yells as the talents showcased dynamic performances.
This year’s Dance STEP recital at the SM City Iloilo event center was enjoyed and joined by around 250 students who took center stage and entertained the audience and mall goers.
Dr. Teresita “Teray” Ecube Portugalete, a native of Oton, Iloilo and a professor at the Department of Physical Education, College of Arts and Sciences in the University of the Philippines Visayas, founded Dance STEP to help her students develop not just their dance skills but also their discipline, confidence, and a positive mindset.
Before their grand recital, the talents demonstrated exemplary skills at Robinsons Place Iloilo and Festive Walk Mall Iloilo in July.
Dance STEP’s first studio was built in Oton and has expanded to the towns of Tigbauan, Guimbal, Tubungan, Igbaras, Miag-ao, San Joaquin, and Iloilo City over the years.
“I feel so blessed, I feel so grateful, and I am really very happy because daw indi man ko kapati nga 15 years na gali ang Dance Step,” Portugalete expressed.
Portugalete said she started this humble dream to provide for her family’s necessities.
“Nag-start ini bi nga gusto ko lang mahatagan pagkaon ang akon pamilya. I couldn’t imagine life without dancing, and because of dancing, nakatapos ako sa akon pagtuon kag nakatapos man sa pagtuon ang akon mga manghod. And so I became the breadwinner of the family at an early age,” she also said.
Discrimination has no place within the four corners of Dance STEP’s studios. All are equal regardless of gender, age, economic status, or physical or psychological challenges.
“Sa akon bi dance with your heart and teach with your heart gid. Wala diri ya sang discrimination, all students are treated equally,” Portugalete said.
With the help of her mentors from West Visayas State University – College of Physical Education, Sports, Culture, Arts and Recreation, fellow dance teachers and coaches, Portugalete’s dance studio has turned into a home.
Dance STEP is an Iloilo-based dance studio that recognizes young students’ talents: 3–7 years old under the kids category, 8–10 years old under the pre-teens category, 11–12 years old under the juniors category, 13–18 years old under the teens category, and 19 years old and above are considered senior students.
This year, the dance studio already has 20 scholars. Manning its eight branches are 20-strong teachers that their students’ dancing, singing, and modeling skills, among others.
Dance STEP has indeed come a long way and is sure to go further./PN