Daloy DC Dancer Spotlight: the stunning Deborah Lemuel shares her love for collaboration and more!

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

Photo by Mitch Conzon, taken at KONDWI

Daloy DC’s company member, Deborah Lemuel shares her background and her insights on contemporary dance. After several guestings with Daloy DC, her magnetic stage presence and commendable dance technique is what prompted Artistic Director, Ea Torrado to invite her to the company this season, upon seeing her perform in WIFI Body Choreographers Festival at The CCP last year, dancing lead in Buboy Raquitico’s Mano:Fracture.

Meet Deborah Lemuel in person at on February 14 6pm at KONDWI for our event——‘Transcendance‘ - A Daloy Movement Jam, with opening performance by Filipinx performance artist, K.Go from Brooklyn, NYC.

How did the passion for dance begin?

It all started with curiosity at first sight. During my early years as a child, my sister and I have been constantly exposed by our parents especially my mom to all forms of art through summer workshops, shows, exhibits, and even old films and musicals. But it was only when I saw a live ballet technical dress rehearsal that I got hooked into dancing. After that, I asked my mom if she could enroll me to t. Ava’s ballet classes. And then we went with that.

It was a combination of great amounts of inspiration and constant encouragement from my teacher and my mom that helped me turn my deep interest into passion

How has your passion changed in the meantime?

I’m still all about dance and the arts in general since forever but after high school (the time when I realized that there’s a bigger world beyond ballet and its demands), I learned that my interest (and maybe calling) went beyond working hard to look good on stage. I wanted to look beyond myself and towards other people and how I affect my community with my chosen career.

So I went from performance to relevance. I was still training hard to be the best dancer I can be but I added a lot of concerns on my plate when I hit college. I sang, I wrote, I studied, I volunteered, I even sold a few things.

I was hungry to know how much of everything can I do.

When and how did you become interested in contemporary dance?

I got exposed to modern and contemporary dance early when I started dancing under t. Ava’s tutelage. After my first class at 10 years old, I was told that I had flair for it and I felt good dancing it.

Photos c/o Deborah Lemuel’s FB Account

What do you do in your spare time?

Aside from dancing and teaching dance at the Victor G Ursabia Dance Studio? Not that much, really.

I try to do some stuff because that’s how I learn best and become productive (or maybe I just think I am).

I do dance gigs whenever my schedule permits.

I am a Barre fitness instructor at Plana Forma and dance fitness coach at The Dance Lab.

I have my own channel and brand, Deborah Lemuel, that I’m working on both as a platform for my works and service provider for artistic output specifically online dance videos.

I also practice writing with journals, blogs, research work and write-ups. I enjoy planning a lot whether for daily tasks or monthly to yearly goals.

I sing in church. I paint my bedrooms walls. I take pictures to summarize my days and I would also tweek some stuff in Photoshop to get my graphics skills up a step.

My most recent addition to self-improvement is post-grad study at Thames International where I’m taking a new course entitled Innovation and Creative Entrepreneurship.

If you refer to spare time as free time wherein I don’t seem busy, you might not see me around because I’m sleeping or just chilling at home. But if you refer to it as vacant time, then I would fill the white spots in my calendar with errands, work-outs or catch up sessions with significant people

Yeah, not that much really.

Which choreographers inspire you?

Local (most of them I grew up with and have seen the human side of their genuis): Erl Sorilla, Elena Laniog-Alvarez, JM Cabling, Al Garcia, Sarah Samaniego, Ea Torrado (nhuks!), Dingdong Selga, Michael Que, Buboy Raquitico and all the young emerging (and may I say driven!) artist whom I have encountered at some point in my life

International (most of them I read about or saw online): Keone and Mari Madrid, Agnes de Mille, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, and a lot more.

I’m actually not good with names. The ones I mentioned are not my constants. I remember their works or style or philosophies affected me more than their labels. And that, for me, was how they inspired me.

Photos by Jovell Bon Llanza, feat. Ea Torrado in collab with Leeroy New’s Aliens of Manila

How do you see your future as a dancer?

As long as I want and I am able to, I will keep on dancing whether onstage or not. I will keep teaching and moving with people. I will constantly find peace and connection with the Divine through this [art/ tool/ gift/way] that is given to all of humankind.

What role does the dance artist have in society?

I won’t get much into technical stuff about economy or influence or even politics. Just the basic stuff.

A dance artist is definitely more than just the label, more than just the expected performer or the radical hipster. He/she is the strong reminder of embodiment and the fact that humans are created to be mobile creatures— brain and body as equals. Our brains work to move us and life is in constant motion. The dance artist will work for this way of thinking

But with how humankind has evolved, the dance artist will continue to struggle in the society moving past modernization, industrialization, and high levels of individualism. A true mover that he/she is, the dance artist will stand (and move) in with ancient practice but in the context of the present. I guess you can call it faith (because I believe that dance is a gift and connection to the Divine). Many will try to understand but will fail. More will throw skepticism as if rejecting religion. Then the world will change faster than it can handle.

When humans eventually realize that they’ve been machines and detached far too long, the dancer will still be present with the body, waiting for those who will want to go back to basics, back to nature, back to creation.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the Philippine dance community?

More of myself as a tool to use and a hungry soul to feed. I would like to learn more to be more and to do more for this community and to our neighbors as well.

Photos grabbed from Deborah Lemuel’s FB Account

Is there anything you would like to share with the future generation of dancers?

Myself as a collaborator and a few words of advice taken from experience:

Work hard and excellently but know first why you have to. Know it for yourself and not for the expectations of others. Learn how to focus. It’s such an important skill especially during this time of fast-paced multi-faceted things and people. Choose to FOCUS on one step at a time.There is relevance in math and logic subjects but you won’t find them in school. Try to study about cashflow and self-management on your own or with your friends and family. Even business schools will not teach you ALL the things that you need to learn to make it into adulthood successfully.Improve yourself constantly because you want to share what you have to those who need. Being too self-centered can be very damaging and deceiving. With the many people I’ve met, I learned that giving (without truly expecting much in return) is the long-term way to fruitfulness and security.Believe in the Divine. There is always someone greater than us and all the great people we know. And that someone truly knows and loves beyond what we know wisdom and love to be. It would always bring me comfort whenever I’m in the middle of great struggle that I can only see a small portion of the greater picture that I am a part of. No matter what happens, things will have to turn out for the better (whether we understand it or not).

I repeat: I am available for collaboration as long as we coordinate and align our schedules :)

Photos by Jojo Mamangun in Neo-Filipino at The Cultural Center of the Philippines for Ea Torrado’s HOWL

In which ways did dancing with Daloy enrich you?

Focusing on teaching and working after I graduated from college, I almost lost the feeling of just dancing simply. Though I was still working within the realm of dance, I wasn’t really serving as a dancer but more of as a mentor and sometimes, working professional. I loved how it was different from what I used to do back when I was a student. I felt a different sense of freedom and independence. But it also caused me a lot of burn out seasons. I got drained inside and out because would always give my all in the many things that I did.

It was when Daloy invited me to become a guest artist for one featured work that I slowly got back to how nice it actually felt to get tired while dancing. I wasn’t burnt out. Then eventually, I was back with my groove! It was also with ate Ea’s example and words that I’m learning more about the hassles of the dance community and keeping a company alive and kicking (literally at some point).

Now that I am a member of the company, I am blessed to still be able to learn from everyone around me: the scholars and apprentices, my co-members, ate Ea and the many new people who join us every Saturday in our classes and jams. I am constantly being fed with new good stuff that somehow revives me despite the weekly freelance hustle that I do.

Photo by Mitch Conzon, taken at KONDWI

Meet Deborah Lemuel in person at on February 14 6pm at KONDWI for our event——‘Transcendance‘ - A Daloy Movement Jam, with opening performance by Filipinx performance artist, K.Go from Brooklyn, NYC.

Transcendance is co-presented by Fringe Manila Arts Festival, KONDWI, Daloy Dance Company and 10 Days of Art by Art Fair PH.

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