In Their Own Words: Rissa May Camaclang on handling the pressures of performing a dream role
In their own words, the artists of Ballet Manila share their thoughts and experiences on not merely surviving but flourishing in the very challenging world of dance. This series is a collection of personal anecdotes, as well as words of wisdom that can be heartwarming, funny or dramatic, but always inspiring regardless of what field one is pursuing.
I am always doubting myself. I am a girl of doubt. I always restrain myself so easily. If I can’t do something na nasa isip ko na dapat ganyan tapos di ko magagawa, I get frustrated. I feel down. I always cry but nobody sees that. I’m afraid too because I’m living the dream. I’m on that path. To think na hindi na siya madali sa akin technique-wise tapos kailangan ko pang i-tune in ‘yung sarili ko to be that kind of person. It was really a challenge for me. Every time na nagre-rehearse kami, kinakabahan ako. I remember the first time na mag-run ako ng full na Carmen, kabadong-kabado ako na baka ma-sprain na naman ako tapos tapos na! Hindi ko na magagawa ‘yung Carmen. At the same time, takot din ako ma-disappoint sila: “Akala ko ba dream role mo? Eh bakit ganyan-ganyan ka?” Kasi nga I’m used to that kind of judgment: “Ay! Hindi mo pala kaya!” Siguro that molded me na kung ida-doubt ako ng isang tao, I shouldn’t be affected at all kasi nga I know myself eh. I know my capabilities. Nu’ng malapit na malapit na sa actual show, sabi ko, “Ngayon ka pa ba kakabahan? Eh nagawa mo nga kahapon! Na-survive mo kahapon! Bukas na lang tayo mag-give up!” Nu’ng actual day, kinabahan ako ng slight kasi nga I’ve been waiting for it so much na nag-o-overflow na ‘yung excitement. Thrilled na ko na gusto ko nang matapos at the same time gusto ko nang malaman kung okay ba ‘yung magagawa ko. ‘Yung moment na naririnig ko na ‘yung pasok ni Carmen, para akong may bag na sobrang bigat na tinanggal ko na lang. Sige na. Heto na. Let go! Kaya natin ito!
(I am always doubting myself. I am a girl of doubt. I always restrain myself so easily. If I can’t do something that in my mind should be done in a certain way, I get frustrated. I feel down. I always cry but nobody sees that. I’m afraid too because I’m living the dream. I’m on that path. To think it’s not easy for me technique-wise then I have to tune myself into becoming that kind of person. It was really a challenge for me. Every time we rehearsed, I’d get nervous. I remember the first time we had a full run of Carmen. I was so scared that I would sprain my ankle again and that would be it! I won’t be able to dance Carmen anymore! At the same time, I was also afraid to disappoint them: “I thought this was your dream role! Why are you acting this way?” I’ve gotten used to that kind of judgment: “Ah! So you’re really not capable.” Maybe that molded me to think that if a person will doubt me, I shouldn’t be affected at all because I know myself. I know my capabilities. When the actual show was nearing, I told myself, “Why be nervous now? You were able to do this yesterday! You survived yesterday! We can give up tomorrow when it’s done!” On the actual day, I was slightly nervous because I’d been waiting for it so much that the excitement was overflowing. I was so thrilled, I wanted this to be done, and at the same time I wanted to know if what I would do would be good enough. The moment I heard the cue for Carmen, it was like I was carrying a very heavy bag that I just got rid of. This is it. It’s time. Let go! We can do this!)
Top photo by Mark Sumaylo