On twinkle toes’ posts about me

I don’t choose to look back on this memory, it’s been more than one year since I left and i really wanted to move on from leaving this place i called another home for a year or so. I don’t want to post hate online but i believe people are not dumb, and everyone we be better knowing my side of things as well. I will just allow this post, and my actions from here on, to speak for myself.

Im making this a public post unlike my former employer Ms. Cherrie May Umbalin who chose to hide her posts from me or my family so i would not be able to see them. Thanks to your hateful and snarking posts, people i don’t even know, and who don’t even know me, hate me. Though I try to avoid trouble, I still think that when something wrong is being said about you, I have to defend myself tactfully and honestly. I am aware of every single thing I had done. I even have all of her emails to show everyone involved, as she has decided to post about me, seeking for affirmation from her friends to wish ill on me. She was a really close person to me, until she wasn’t. I felt like I left on good terms when I started my own ballet program because I had sent her my resignation letter (before which I had already talked to her about leaving) which will be included under this post. I even sent it a month before leaving and yet I still taught at her school afterwards.

Now, I get people from other schools saying that I am stealing students. I never did drag anyone to my school or force them to come. They came and paid at their own will. Stealing or Poaching people is a funny term to be used. I mean, if a person tries and ends up preferring my training to yours, that’s on him or her, not me. And if a person decides to leave my ballet program and join your school then no problem –that only reflects on her preferences. I will tell you all though, since I left twinkle toes ballet and music academy, in Fairview, I have had only 5 of her students come and join me at their own will, wiith them messaging me first and not the other way around.

This ia a post that she recently shared online: It was sent in to me by a friend of mine since I obviously would not have seen it.

The third photo caught my attention, because this photo is actually of my current assistant Sophie. She allowed me to use the photo in this post.

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Sophie actually was the one who approached me, expressed her dislike for the school and how she was treated. She expressed to me that she wanted to work with me after as my assistant and that the only reason why she stayed at twinkle toes was because of me. It was of course her decision to come and not mine, and so I would like to clarify that, since she used this photo to show that I was inviting people.  (I will get to the schools system after this)

REASON 1: HOW THE SCHOOL IS RUN 

When I first got there, there was no system at all. I remember my first year, there even wasn’t a schedule. I was just told to come in from a given time and there was no specified ending time, which I found weird. I was the one who made the ballet schedule, being a person who actually runs on a schedule. I was really keen on setting up one. I wanted to help the school because I saw a lot of talent among the students there. I think every parent who was there really knows how much work I put into the school.

The school owner, Ms. Cherrie, and I would talk a lot after ballet because I would encourage her to set up more shows or more events for the kids or things to look forward to so that they could get better and more exposure. She did so and followed through, but the system of the school, or lack thereof remained the same. She would charge the parents extra PER MINUTE for going overtime. She always encouraged me to extend their training so that they could be charged more. I never knew that a school would charge a per minute fee of overtime. Talk about ethics. So I’m sorry to those parents who paid overtime per minute, but rest assured I only got paid per hour and wasn’t privy to her schemes.

Now, I’m not sure if that has changed or not but I’m hoping it has.

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REASON 2: HONG KONG COMPETITION TRIP

I went to hong kong with her daughter and another student of twinkle toes. As their coach, I wasn’t asked to go to Hong Kong with her and the school. I found that to be a bit saddening and I really wanted to come because you trained the kids and your presence would be beneficial for them. I didn’t push it but when the other parent expressed that they wanted to pay for me to be there, I opened it up with Ms. Cherrie. The parents expressed to me that they wanted me, the coach, to be there and not Ms. Cherrie. They knew that they wouldn’t be taken care of because her daughter would be competing too.

We enjoyed our time in Hong Kong regardless of Ms. Cherrie. I got to talk to my student and have coffee with her and her parents. We had a long talk about leaving the school, as they were not satisfied with the way things were.

In the end Ms. Cherrie told me that she wanted to discuss my payment but I told her in a message maybe we could discuss it in person. I never got a meeting to discuss it, i found that really unprofessional on her part. She then told me that she would pay me partially every month for my fee and all other expenses but we never really got to discuss the rate. I don’t know how things like this work and I was just too tired and I didn’t want to see her anymore. If she really did want to pay me she really would have paid me already. The parents on the other hand were very clear on the intent of me being there with them in Hong Kong and we constantly were with each other.

If you go to these competitions, you would not be paid for being there to support the students. Sometimes you couldn’t even watch if you didn’t have a ticket. It would be an ordeal from 7am-9pm and it was really no fun at all. On top of that, not getting paid for your time might be fun at the start because you would think, hey, it’s an experience. I was happy the first time, because that was the first time we joined and that was my first competition where I coached my students (Which i guess are her students under the school, technically). It was nice seeing the kids improve and I loved that feeling. But when it starts to feel like work and you’re not getting paid, things can get sad.

FINALLY: RECITAL

As for twinkle toes’ recital many people know that I did almost everything for them last 2017. I was backstage, i did the kids make up, most of the choreography, the program set up, i was the PA backstage, i had the headset and was even the one on the microphone announcing intermissions. But I was only paid as a teacher, and none of those other roles. That day was utter chaos and just one of the worst days of my life. I was paid but i feel like doing all of that was not part of my obligations. But If I didn’t do those things who would have? She had no sound director, lighting head, she had no trained assistants. Of course I knew how it worked, I’ve been living in the theatre for almost 14 years of my life.

That was the last straw for me, i couldn’t stay in a job where I knew I couldn’t soar any higher. I knew I could really do so much more than that. I felt useless that I got so frustrated but then I had an opportunity to go to Latvia. It felt like a chance to start fresh before coming back.

To get one thing completely straight. I absolutely loved my students at twinkle toes. Everyone knows I would spend my Sundays there or even make time beyond what was agreed upon. If you are or used to be a parent with twinkle toes you would probably know she always does this.

I posted a video of our student (her school, but my coaching) because I was proud of her. The parents of that student trusted me with her training and they were the ones who wanted me to be in Hong Kong. Now, Ms. Cherrie has and entire issue with the video, as if it’s completely hers and the student has no say in it. The student is in my program now.

Another issue was that one of her students wanted to come with me. I offered this girl a scholarship since her mom asked. If you knew this girl, she was and is really gifted. I wasn’t aware that she was on “partial” scholarship under NO CONTRACT with Twinkle Toes. It became a really big issue and I told Ms. Cherrie that under her contract, I would not allow the student to come to my program without settling her fees with twinkle toes first. I felt as though this wasn’t an issue with me, as it was ultimately the decision of the parent to pull her out, and settle her dues. I also included at first that as a scholar, the mom needs to bring in 2 students, The mom did eventually invite 2 people for me even if it did take a little while. I was informed in a text message from Ms. Cherrie later on that I was lying because she knows someone who joined my program and said that there were no other students. How would this person know? Since she only came a few times. We all can’t just run on these assumptions and allegations and post angrily online.

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So think what you will, but i really think we should just move on with our lives. That’s what I’m doing. I am so happy with the current dance program im putting up but i know i have to do this first to put this issue to rest. I am still inviting anyone who wants to learn ballet the proper way from someone who thinks that ballet is an art, beautiful and brilliant and not only business. Im crazy about it —my eyes are set on my students falling madly in love with ballet just as much as me.

I’m not someone who jokes around when it comes to ballet because just like any good teacher, we acknowledge that our community is one of tradition. Insulting me would be an insult to all of the teachers who has ever taught me. Of course, people who have not been through the training and the culture that I and many other individuals have been through, would never understand, as she does not.

Stuck in a dance plateau?

Do you feel like you’re not improving at all? Don’t worry we’ve all been there. Its normal, even in life sometimes to feel like, something is missing or something is not right. There will be days when you feel different and days when you feel like everything is in perfect place. But life is always about a good balance of everything and about overcoming these times when we feel like we’re stuck somewhere in our dance lives.

So here are my personal tips, and I also made a video to explain something about being in your dance plateau. Hope that these help you improve and help you gain more understanding to your dancing and your thinking too. Most of your dancing actually comes from your willpower to keep on going.

  1. Step out of your comfort zone
    There are different reasons of being in your dance plateau. You have to do the assessment yourself, are you putting enough hours? Are you getting enough time to practice? If you are, then maybe you just need to try something new. Sometimes, its okay to take a short break to destress and to do something different from what you usually do. Learn to get out of your comfort zone, in and out of class.

    You can try taking a new style of dance maybe? Or maybe try going to a new teacher just to bring out some new ideas and give your mind some more.

  2. Talk to your teacher 
    Sometimes your teacher doesn’t tell you up front in class, because she doesn’t want you to get hurt in front of your classmates. But the more you ask, the more you will find out. Maybe your teacher has somethings she wants to say, or maybe you also have things you want to clarify. Learn to communicate with your teacher, create a good relationship with him/her. If she gives you some constructive criticism, learn to accept it and learn from the new information.
  3. Go back to your basics 
    Maybe you’re missing something? Maybe you are not. But it is always good to go back to your basics. Try a slower class maybe to help you break down all the steps again. Slow classes are always good for all of us.
  4. Find your own identity and focus on your own body
    Maybe you feel like you are stuck because you are comparing yourself to the girls around or beside you. Not everything in life is a competition, most especially ballet. This is why I love ballet, you can be good at something that someone is not. Someone can be better but you can be better at other things. Find your niche, find you own identity and focus on your own body.
  5. Set GOALS
    Go to class with a goal in mind, I encourage every dancer to keep a notebook of their goals and dreams. It is always better to write things down than to type them on your computer. When you write things, they process better in your head. Set a goal every week, and talk with your teacher, and ask her to help you note your concerns and the thing you would still like to improve.
  6. Enjoy the process

    I will always finish my blogs with, Enjoying the process. Because that after all is what will keep you sane. The only thing you can control is how you can react to things, so enjoy each and every step and problem you encounter with you dancing.

    Its not everyday that you feel this way. Your dancing may be feeling like it is plateauing, but remember there is always a spike up in improvement every now and then. Just keep on going and keep your mind set farsighted on your goals. Hope these tips help! and you can catch my VLOG on the same topic too, on YouTube.

 

Finding your inner dancer and brining it out

DSC05889Unless you were born with beautiful hyperextended long legs and arms, a small head and beautifully high arched feet, its much harder to imagine yourself into a beautiful ballerina. Especially now more so with the influence of social media, as an owner of a dance brand and a dance teacher, I can see how people react when they see girls with beautiful lines as compared to those who don’t. I myself guilty, get excited when I see someone who is talented, but as a teacher I also want them to understand that being talented comes with responsibility too.

Some teachers might tellyou straight up, “look you’re not cut out to be a dancer”. Which is what I was told when I was 13 years old. Despite having long legs, I was far from a perfect ballerina, bad knees, not so good arched feet, but the only good attribute I saw in myself was having long arms and legs also I knew I had really good musicality, and not saying this to brag but I could jump really high. But if you lived in a country, where majority of the dancers average height would be 5’3 and you were 5’7 by the age of 15. You can only imagine how much criticism I had to deal with, before learning to accept what I had and to develop the strengths, rather than focus on my weaknesses.

Despite all the physical limitations I had, from watching plenty of ballets, I slowly learned that our physical attributes alone is not what makes you a memorable artist. I learned that, even physicalimperfections can look beautiful too. This is what makes ballet so subjective, not everyone will really like what I say too. Some people will really just say, its just not for everyone, but this is also what makes ballet an art and not a sport.

Of course not to disregard good technique and improving yourself. You will still have to put in more hours than those who are gifted with those beautiful lines, but discovering who I was as an artist was far more exciting than focusing on my weaknesses. I slowly had to learn to work hard everyday, double of those dancers who already “had it” and worked on cleaning my technique.

  1. Learn what your strengths are

It takes a while to find out what you are good at, but I’m sure there is something you are bestat that you can use to your advantage. For example, I knew I was really good in Jumps, that was what I was so good at, I knew I would get noticed for my good jumps. But of course a variation cannot just be jumping, there are other things involved. I still had to focus on my technique, but Jumping was my most favorite, and those were the variations that I got.

I remember coming into the dance studio, not even knowing how to do proper fouettes. I cried every time I could not do something. But I had to tell myself everyday, that It was going to happen, this is when i put my visualization into practice, I imagined being able to do them perfectly, I videoed myself so I could correct myself when I got home and I practiced to get them right.

  1. Practice

I remember someone telling me once that sports and anything that require practice is 1% theory and 99% practice. I still believe this, I may read plenty of books on dance every month, but thats just to add to my knowledge. Remember to feed your brain too, not just your muscles. My mom used to say, “Beautiful dancers are smart dancers”, What she meant was if you have nothing in your brain you will dance like you have nothing in your brain too. But if you don’t practice, you will also dance like you do not practice, and smart dancers do BOTH.

I still love scrolling around the internet, looking for every dance related article I can get my hands on to learn at. But what good is reading if I cannot apply everything that I am learning? Every story, every dance learning and non dance biography i read, can teach you something that you can apply in your dancing.

So keep on practicing, even if it means not going out with your friends sometimes, or sacrificing family time for your dance practice. If dance is something you love, you will get that family time and the break you need in the future. Later on, you will face other problems, but while you are young and your obligations aren’t so tough yet, practice with every chance you have. Your parents and your family should be happy for you and your new found focus for your passions.

  1. Observe what’s around you and experience things

Besides practicing everyday, of course sometimes you will need a break too. So if you are going through a phase where you feel stuck, go out, experience life. It is what will make your dancing  beautiful. What good is dancing if it makes you sad? Dancing is supposed to give a spark into you.

  1. Don’t forget to do everything with a smile

Many of us forget that, dance being our passion, we are supposed to be doing it because we love it, not because we had no other option to our lives. We choose how we live our lives, and although the current trend seems to come from a lot of hate. It should not be what defines our personality and our thoughts.

The next time you think about another one of your insecurities, take a breath, and remember why you started dancing in the first place. I would suggest writing this down on a notebook, give it some time and some thought. I myself always ask my students to keep writing down their corrections, their dreams on a notebook. This way you can read back to them, so you are always inspired to continue. And if it doesn’t inspire you anymore, keep on writing anyway. There is always something new to learn and something to be happy about.

Remember, dance is life, but not your whole life. A lot of things make up your life, its good to have dance in life, but don’t get carried away to the point it gets you crazy. Have friends, in and out of your dance life and your dancing will come out very beautiful too.

WHAT I THINK MAKES A GOOD DANCE TEACHER, THE KIND I ASPIRE TO BE:


Anyone can be a dancer but not everyone has the skills to be an effective and good dance teacher. It takes so much skill and patience for a teacher to be able to mold a beginner into what they visualise someday for their dancers. Theres so much more to teaching than a lot of people think of it, even more than just choreographing steps, its an art.
We all of course differ in our opinions of what makes a good dance teacher. Some would prefer a more relaxed and happy teacher as others might prefer a more strict teacher. I don’t think theres just one way of teaching, each teacher has something to offer. But regardless of that I think there are certain qualities that A eacher should possess.

1. Professionalism:  A good teacher respects her students. I think a teacher should be someone you will respect no matter what situation. They can handle situations effectively, in the way they speak, talk and dress. Its really important that the teacher for me interacts well with students.

2. Experience and Reputation: Although i don’t believe that a dance teachers educational background matters or is directly related to their way of teaching, as I have had plenty of amazing dance teachers who didn’t even take dance as a course. I think reputation and experience speaks for them. Plenty of dancers, even without any certification such as retired professionals can be amazing dance teachers. I think its important to consider how long they have been teaching and observe their class before enrolling too.

3. Patience and Organisation: A good teacher, knows how to organise his or her lessons. And and effective teacher knows that it takes time to master a step and choreography. A good teacher puts emphasis on the simple steps, rather than jumping straight to the difficult ones.

4. Punctuality: A good dance teacher is always a good example. Being Punctual means he or is a responsible teacher, if your teacher is more than 10 mins late to class with no apparent reason all the time then i think you should consider changing your school.

5. Dedication: A good teacher is completely dedicated to teaching you the best things they know.

6. Constantly learning: A good teacher is also someone who constantly strives to be better, and to give you the best dance education.

7. Passion: And finally a good dance teacher is passionate about what she or he does. Good dance teachers, inspire and they share. They are constantly giving and learning for you. A teacher is also a student, A teacher learns new things and adapts them for you in class. This is what i aim to be, to generate dancers who want to dance and to inspire them to aspire to become the best in an artistic and technical way.

if you have a teacher like this then good for you! REMEMBER: At the end say that a good teacher deserves an equally good student, so do your best and do them justice. Tag your favourite dance teachers and tell them how much you love them. ❤

That’s d pointe dance shop, Manila

Hello Dancers and Dance lovers,

As you are now well aware of, I’ve been fixing my website and sharing YouTube videos revolving around my life and ballet. Today I want to feature another ballet store in the Philippines called, thats d’ pointe dance shop. This shop owned by Ms. Charmaine, is located in Metrowalk, Ortigas ave. and in Fisher mall, Quezon City. The Shop is very much complete with the basic things and they have an ample amount of stocks, of course if you need special sizes you may also request that with them. They are very accommodating. I will be attaching our new video blog to this post.

If you are ever in need of dancewear, you may visit them today, and you can also check out their online store on this link, That’s d pointe dance shop

TUTU DANCE STORE, TAIWAN


DANCE STORES IN TAIWAN: TUTU DANCE, TAIWAN
Welcome to Taiwan! Besides my VLOG which i posted on my new youtube page, I’ll be writing more about Tutu dance, in Taipei Taiwan.
HOW TO GET THERE: 
From the main station, or from any train station. Take the train to Zhongshan Elementary school ( TAKE EXIT C ) or you can also take the bus. Cross underneath the big highway and go straight, about a 2 min walk until you see the 7-11 to your right, turn right to the small street.
You will see an entrance to your right as you can see in the video and go up to the 7th floor, you will find TUTU DANCE showroom.
ABOUT TUTU DANCE STORE:
What I love about Tutu Dance store, is that it is probably one of the most complete dance stores that I’ve been to. Even compared to Chacott in Japan, i really love their selection of leotards, shoes and warmers. They have all kinds of selections, styles and all brands! Including online shops such as myself. In terms of shoes and pointe shoes, they also have all selections of sizes, including the new kinds of fits and the rare to find styles and sizes.
They even require all their staff to take ballet once or twice a week, which is why I love them because all their staff are knowledgeable on what to recommend and they are also very quick to follow in new trends. They are a very hands on shop and they definitely know how to take care of their dancers.
If you’re ever in Taipei, go check them out! I’ll leave you their address here under this blog and a map to their store. Enjoy Dancers!
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Dancing with the heart, not the bones.

Today I woke up and as usual checking the hundreds of notifications I now get daily, I got a special message from someone who is now a good friend of mine, and a very loyal customer to me. Anna, 51 years and still dancing despite suffering from osteoporosis. The woman who broke her bones but still continues to inspire us, I am often amazed at what she can do and what she continues to do even at her age.

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When I first met her Anna was very kind, although we have had plenty of misunderstandings with her costumes. I continue to provide them for her because she has been a good challenge for me, I never really take costume orders anymore because I don’t like dealing with the stress but with Anna I really wanted to help. Often times when we would meet, she would not be okay and she would be in so much pain. Yet when she would dance, you could see that she wouldn’t show you that. I saw a very strong and kind god fearing woman.

Her spirit continues to inspire me to teach and to share to my students her story. I hope that someday when I am as old as her I could would still also be dancing just as much as her. A costume I worked on last month for her was featured today on the Philippine daily inquirer newspaper along with her story, i hope that you could all grab a copy of our local newspaper to inspire you somehow. Weather it be about dancing or about life, I am sure you will love reading more about her, just as much as I have loved to have gotten to know her more too.

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