By Katherine Ng
Jay Arcilla, a 22-year old dancer majoring in physical therapy and minoring in dance, got bullied before he was able to speak fluent English.
“It’s a little getaway,” Arcilla said. “As an Asian, to be honest, our parents are intense and they would tell you to do this and they would tell you to do that. But you don’t want to. I’ll listen to them, but let me vent myself into something else physically. That’s why dancing is there for me.”
He fell in love with dancing when he first moved from the Philippines to America seven years ago.
Arcilla said other dancers are not great because of their techniques, but because of their passion. “It’s the matter of wanting it. You compare yourself the one from yesterday to the one today,” Arcilla said.
“Every time I hear the music, I start dancing,” Arcilla said, after doing over splits on the grass against a tree.
Dancers are not robots. When they learn new dance moves and go home with that piece of dance, they dance differently in the following days.
“You marinate it in your body and your head. We call it marination,” Arcilla said.
He got selected as a dancer to learn the pieces and perform at the big showcase in East Los Angeles College, the 10th Repertoire Dance Concert, presented by the Let’s Dance Company.
Last year he got the opportunity to perform several dances such as ballet, jazz, contemporary jazz, modern dance, salsa, hip hop and lyrical jazz. “You are breathing out of energy! We literally change in front of each other. My professor sees me in my underwear because that’s part of the costume,” Arcilla said, describing how he did the quick change in and out of the backstage.
He got scholarships at International Dance Academy Hollywood (IDA). “Trust me, I’m not that good,” Arcilla said. “I just put 200 percent into it.”
When it comes to dancing in front of the mirror or people to learn the pieces, he zones everybody out. “It’s just me and the teacher in the room.”
His Russian professor Kimberly Rabin’s intense teaching style never stops him from striving to be a better dancer. “If you have a weak heart when it comes to dance, your self-esteem will become lower. She is perfectionist. I love her. I’m not going to lie,” Arcilla said about his professor.
When he is deep into performing, he makes faces. “I stick my tongue out,” Arcilla said.
There is a sense of accomplishment in dance. “It’s very rewarding when you know you did an amazing job. You send the message that the choreographer wants to send and people feel it. You feel attached to the audience. You and the audience are one person,” Arcilla said.