Mysterious posters have been appearing all over campus for the last few weeks with the heading “Urban Dance Workshop.” Miles Dumanig, a freshman pre-nursing student, is the mastermind behind them.
Dumanig says he has been asked several times what urban dance is, and he defines it as “a style of dance and community, revolved around choreographed pieces by a dancer or a group of dancers. The choreography is influenced by several different styles but is ultimately based on the choreographers own interpretation.”
“So essentially, it is dancing to the form for myself and others to convey how I feel when I listen to this music,” said Dumanig. “I listen to the musicality, the beat and the rhythm, and I move my body in the ways of the styles I know. I use it to express how I feel about the music.”
With some of the mystery cleared up, Dumanig went on to explain that it is a workshop, not a class, and the difference is a workshop is a one-time event. This means that students will learn something different at each workshop, but it is not a continuous learning experience like one has in a class. It is more relaxed and free-flowing.
Dumanig said that his history with dance culminated in urban dance. It started with watching Youtube tutorials in seventh and eighth grade. On his own, with the inspiration from the videos, he started to learn styles like “popping, locking, arm waves and gliding. It is like dubstep dancing, if you want to put it in a nutshell,” said Dumanig.
Two of the channels on Youtube that served as inspiration for Dumanig were TheRussianTiger and WHZGUD2. He watched these tutorials on and off for the next two years, with one video by WHZGUD2 standing out as a catalyst for his love of dance. It was dubstep done to “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People. “I was inspired by this video to do something cool like that,” said Dumanig.
By the time he started high school, Dumanig had completely stopped this style of dance. He felt he didn’t have a community to encourage or motivate him. But not long after, he joined a Filipino Folk dance group called Mabuhay Bayanihan Club. Even though it was a very different style of dance, it still encouraged his love for dance. By his second year with the club, he was in charge of choreography for all the dances.
The folk dancing was very different from the dubstep he had been doing before, but shortly after, he also started doing Hip-Hop dancing. “It started to rekindle what I had loved back in seventh grade,” said Dumanig. Around this time Dumanig choreographed his first urban dance one night when he was feeling incredibly inspired. He danced to Justin Bieber’s song “Sorry.” This sparked his interest, and he started to do more urban dance choreography. He was also a part of a junior dance league called Syndicate. This league greatly impacted his dancing style as well as his fondness for dance.
Dumanig was with Syndicate for only half a season, but it was “a huge eye-opener to what you can do in dance,” he said.
In the group, he learned about the fluidity of dance. It was the group, along with the five dance directors, that really encouraged Dumanig on his journey with dance. This culminated in the junior league of Syndicate representing the adult team of the group in a dance competition called Evolution 2017. It was an amazing experience for the whole group, and Dumanig remembers that “the community that was there during the whole competition was so encouraging.”
Now with this experience under his belt, Dumanig wants to spread this culture of urban dance he has grown to love so much with Franciscan. He loves the teaching aspect of dancing and showing others how to express themselves in this way.
When he first came to Franciscan in fall 2017 and learned that there was not an urban dance group, Dumanig immediately started to ask around if he could start one. “Through these workshops, I feel I can bring a new culture to Franciscan, and start really getting them ( the students) to start to appreciate the music … to have a better foundation for dance, instead of just moving their arms around,” said Dumanig.
“My passion for dance and wanting to bring the culture of urban dance to Franciscan that wasn’t there initially is the reason I want to teach the workshops,” said Dumanig.
He also encouraged people to just come to the workshops, see if they are interested. The workshops are on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 6 p.m. in the Aerobics room. He said the songs at the start will be at a beginner’s level.
“I can see how this could be intimidating to come to, especially with something so vague as urban dance, but just come to have fun,” said Dumanig.