THE popular 11-man Philippine dance crew bearing a storied past that could be traced back from a poor neighborhood in Sampaloc, Manila is back to further their skills in Los Angeles.
Last year, the dance crew was hailed here as the “Grand champion performer of the world” during the annual World Championships of the Performing Arts (WCOPA) in Long Beach.
No longer dirt poor and now seen as mini-celebrities in their God-forsaken neighborhood, the members of the Junior New System are set to linger in Hollywood for a month or so to train at the Millennium Dance Company, a dance studio known for it’s A-list clientele.
Gerry Mercado, national director of WCOPA-Philippine team, said the opportunity was part of the prize package that JNS won last year.
“They will be trained as dance instructors and that would give them more opportunities to earn a living back home,” Mercado said.
JNS performs in various shows and corporate events in the Philippines at least four times each week.
While praising the success of JNS, Mercado pointed out that winning at the WCOPA is not a guaranteed path to fame and fortune.
“Success is not a destination, it is a journey,” Mercado said, adding that artists need to keep on working on their respective crafts and to take the right paths for their careers as they move on.
What WCOPA can obviously guarantee, Mercado added, was the opportunity to compete and perform in an international stage.
The opportunity to come to the US and perform, Mercado said, was huge for these kids — many of whom came from small towns in provinces.
“That by itself is a dream come true for some of them,” he added.
But before the kids even get on board the team, Mercado intimated, they were already taught to tame their expectations, adding that he didn’t want the kids to come home with their spirits and hearts broken.
So far, the most prominent Filipino celebrity who previously won in the WCOPA was Jed Madela. The incredibly talented singer has been accompanying the Philippine team without fail since winning as “grand champion performer of the world” in 2005.
During the “Philippine night” at WCOPA last Wednesday (July 5) at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Madela performed with the JNS and other selected competitors.
Despite the absence of support from Philippine agencies here in Los Angeles, the “More Fun in the Philippines” promotional video was continuously played during the Philippine show that was watched by competitors from 50 countries.