By Daniel Infante Tuaño
SPAIN – The world’s dancing arena has no boundaries, especially for international dancesport athlete Rodel Espinosa.
After migrating to Barcelona two years ago, the former Philippine representative and finalist in world´s Ballroom Dancing Olympics has continued to bring pride to the country as he shows Spanish and Catalan audience that Filipinos can also dance, and can even teach them how to dance.
Espinosa works as a dance instructor at Buena Vida Escola de Ball, a dance school in the Catalan province of Girona.
Not knowing Spanish or Catalan when he arrived in Barcelona, he recounted that at first it was difficult to communicate with the students. But he soon found it wasn’t a hindrance since “dancing is a universal language.”
His international reputation helped him pursue his passion and profession in Spain and gained the admiration and respect of his students and colleagues.
Espinosa competed in numerous dancing championships in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, United States, and in Blackpool, UK, dubbed as the Olympics of Ballroom Dancing where he and his dance partner Marinette Alarilla placed fifth among 90 couples from around the world.
Espinosa, a member of Federació Catalana de Ball Esportiu, is the only Filipino in local dancesport groups such as Team Dynamik and Avança and the only Asian competing in local tournaments.
Despite his years of experience in professional dancing, Espinosa keeps on learning new techniques from dance camps all over Europe.
And despite being a celebrity dance instructor, he would rather keep his feet on the ground and dance. He used to teach dance steps to Filipino celebrities Assunta da Rossi and Lucy Torres-Gomez. He even once appeared on the hit reality TV show Pinoy Big Brother.
Espinosa, who hails from Angeles City, Pampanga, hopes to establish a Filipino dancesport team in Barcelona especially among the youth. In the Philippines, he was able to produce child Dancesport athletes who dominated national dance competitions.
To realize this, he opened a dance school in Barcelona called Barcelona Dance Athlete, where he teaches Latin dances such as rumba, jive, cha-cha, samba and pasodoble to Filipinos of all ages.
“Dancesport is an athletic side of social dancing. It needs a lot of discipline and focus. It deals more with technicalities to improve the body and make it physically fit so one can go beyond one’s physical limitation,” he said.
Even individuals in wheelchairs can dance and compete in a type of dancesport called wheelchair dancesport, which he also teaches.
Espinosa wants to promote dancesport in Barcelona knowing the social and health benefits one can get from it.
“Unang makukuha mo sa pagsasayaw ay ang (correct) posture, endurance, at the more na pinapawisan ka, lumalabas ang mga toxins sa katawan mo, lalo kang sume-sexy, ika nga ay fountain of youth, lalo kang bumabata,” Espinosa said.
One of his students, Victor Domingo agrees, saying dancesport is a good way of bonding with his wife and daughter who also attend Espinosa’s newly opened dance academy.
“Dati wala akong interes na magsayaw… Nagustuhan ko yung pagtuturo nya kaya sumali kaming mag-anak…yung exercise talagang napakaganda, nangangayat na nga ako eh”
Dancesport competitions are also a good way of boosting one’s self confidence and socializing with people of different cultures and nationalities.
Another student Karen Joy Salvador said that it’s a good way of relieving stress.
“Mas na-improve yung patience ko since dancing nga requires a lot of technique, requires a lot of discipline, at the same time stress-reliever siya kasi physical activity nga siya,” she said.
Espinosa will hold a dance show on March 9 at Sala Ouverture, Via Tripoli 22, Rome, Italy. ABS-CBNnews.com