In Portero, Malabon, a man slowly gyrating through the most titillating of poses can be seen on the side street, gathering a small crowd of onlookers as an upbeat yet despondent love song can be heard in the background. That man is none other than Dante Gulapa, who has recently become known as the “Big Daddy” of Philippine social media.
The seemingly mild-mannered Dante skyrocketed to fame earlier this year when he participated in the viral social media challenge entitled “#KahitAyawMoNaChallenge,” wherein the song by local group This Band began to make its way across the airwaves. As people started recording themselves interpretatively dancing along to the song, Big Daddy Dante decided to join in on the fun as well—thus, the “Eagle Pose” was birthed into existence and became Dante’s signature dance move.
The 39-year-old husband and father filmed himself dancing fluidly and steadily to the music like a majestic eagle, and people had high praises for his superior dance moves. All across the nation, Gulapanatics began popping up one by one as fans of Dante tried their best to recreate his smooth moves.
For the first time ever due to popular demand, Dante has recently agreed to teach a dance class to impart his knowledge and skills to the next generation—that dance class will be taught at none other than De La Salle University.
Let’s get physical
At DLSU, all undergraduate students are required to take up FTDANCE, a physical education course focusing on dance as exercise. Batch 118, the University’s current frosh, were given a short survey regarding the types of dance that they want to learn from the master himself once Dante starts teaching at the University next term. Unsurprisingly enough, an overwhelming number of these respondents seemed eager to become one with the Big Daddy Eagle himself.
“I just said I wanted to learn how to pull off the Eagle Pose without falling,” answers Robyn Agila (I, BS-DNT) when asked how she responded to the University’s survey. She then explains that she has her sights set on securing a spot in the highly acclaimed dance organization, LSDC-Street, and she believes that integrating Dante’s signature dance move into her audition piece would give her the edge she needs to get in.
Bellie Sayaw (II, AB-ANTE), on the other hand, is not interested in learning any specific move of Dante’s. “It’s all about how his dancing makes people feel,” he explains, adding that “Dante Gulapa is making history by revolutionizing how dance affects us in our hearts.” From the cha-cha to the tango, FTDANCE is currently designed to only teach the basics and, as Bellie puts it, “impertinent” types of dance. The Big Daddy’s new style has a modern edge that resonates with today’s youth; integrating it into the curriculum would make sense given DLSU’s forward-thinking nature.
We’re soaring, flying
Despite his sudden rise to fame, Dante Gulapa himself took time out his busy schedule for an interview about his plans for the future with The LaSallian.
“Nung kinontact po ako ng DLSU, ‘kala ko po scam,” Gulapa laughingly recalls, explaining that he never expected he would one day be asked to teach at a premier university and work among highly esteemed professors and other professionals. He shares that several of his new Lasallian colleagues have already approached him in the faculty center and asked him to teach them some of his moves. “Marunong na buong faculty sa PE Department mag-Eagle Dance!” he exclaims.
(When I was first contacted by DLSU, I thought it was a scam. All the faculty members in the PE Department know how to do the Eagle Dance now!)
In terms of lesson plans, Gulapa says he has some interesting changes in mind. “Balak ko po gamitin yung kantang ‘Kahit Ayaw Mo Na’ pang warm-up,” he shares. The song is a nod to his first viral video, and Gulapa plans on teaching the exact dance in the video on the first day of class. He also plans to make his final requirement for the course a paper on the movie Magic Mike. “Marami po kasi akong natutunan sa pelikulang ‘yun,” he explains. There is no doubt though that Big Daddy Dante is clearly more impressive than all the male dancers in Magic Mike—even if one combined the skills and hard work of all the characters in the movie, it still wouldn’t come close to the sheer magnificence that is Dante Gulapa.
(I plan on using the song “Kahit Ayaw Mo Na” for warm-ups. I learned so much from that movie.)
With a full lineup of new era dances, styles, and techniques, it seems the incoming frosh will not be taking up FTDANCE after all; they will be taking up FTDANTE instead.