With senatorial aspirant Harry Roque wrapping up his tenure as a swimming professor at De La Salle University (DLSU), a recent career change did not prevent him from discovering a newfound passion in his life: dancing.
Also known for his viral TikTok videos, the former presidential spokesperson decided to take his unforeseen talent to an even bigger stage with DLSU’s Department of Physical Education. Roque was given the opportunity to teach Physical Fitness and Wellness in Dance or GEDANCE starting next academic year to encourage students to groove like him.
Since the big announcement, Roque has been very vocal with his goals as a professor for the University. Through GEDANCE, he aims to push students and the entire Lasallian community to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle through the spatial art form. This also served as an avenue for Roque to reveal a more timid side of himself, “By dancing, I can show them that I’m not the ferocious figure who was once the presidential spokesperson”.
Amid all the backlash circulating in social media, questioning De La Salle University’s continued adoption of Roque, the newly minted dance professor is unfazed, and vows to keep dancing until the end of the world. “Ito na talaga ang passion ko. In fact, yes, I will keep dancing, I can’t stop. Masaya ako eh, bakit ba?”
(This is my true passion. In fact, yes, I will keep dancing, I can’t stop. It makes me happy, what’s wrong with that?)
Once students are more trained under him in GEDANCE, Roque believes that he can bring out the best from students and provide achievable goals for them. “Hintayin nyo, dadalhin ko ang mga estudyante ko sa United States (US) para sa America’s Got Talent at mananalo sila. Kukuha kami supporta sa gobyerno para sa paggastos ng aming airfare and hotel—just like old times.”
(Just you wait, I will bring my students to the US to compete in America’s Got Talent and they will win. We will get support from the government to pay for the airfare and hotel—just like old times.)
Roque and roll
Roque admits that dancing was not easy at first, but after a few practice sessions with his choreographers, he eventually mastered the entire routine, flawlessly nailing the rhythm and beat of the music. He even compliments his staff for being a solid support system, “Magagaling itong mga kasama kong bata, permanente ko na silang kasama! Pero bawal silang tilian.”
(These kids I work with are really good, they are going to stay with me permanently! But they cannot be squealed at!)
He insists that dancing is absolutely “effortless” to learn. “Madali lang naman, close open, side, side, one, two, three, may konting talon at kembot,” he explains while laughing. Also having plans to widen his dance styles, he aims to learn break and tap dancing in order to capture the hearts of a wider audience. It is clear that Roque considers his newfound passion as a gift, as he is ecstatic to share his talent with others.
(It’s easy…with a little jump and a bunch of hip movements!)
Among the dance moves he plans to teach during GEDANCE is the limbo roque—pronounced at “rock”—which is composed of three main movements: the cross arms, the side to side, and the raise & jump. “You need to grab the attention of the people and that’s what I’m doing. It is a very unique type of dance, so I want my students and I stand out,” Roque remarks.
In order to reach the level of finesse and elegance of dancers, a lot of dedication is required. Different moves that involve a lot of coordination like toprock, downrock, twists and turns are still out of his reach. But, Roque is confident that he can execute these routines in no time. At this point in his career, nothing can stop his beaming confidence, “I can assure you I always ask the audience if you still want me to dance and they all clamor for it, so I do.”
Excited for Roque’s first official term, members of the Lasallian community has been clamoring to learn more about his background in dancing. Succumbing to public demand, Roque reveals, “Alam niyo, ‘yung pagsasayaw nakakawalang stress ‘yan. Nung umpisa ng pandemic, nakisama ako sa mga kaibigan at kamag-anak ko na gumagamit ng TikTok at naging addict na ako sa pagsasyaw,” Roque laments.
(You know dancing relieves stress. In the beginning of the pandemic, I joined my friends and relatives who use TikTok, then I got addicted to it, too.)
With eyes focused on Roque, waiting for him to bust a move and to grace the 10th floor of the Enrique M. Razon Sports Center, Maricon Carnie (II, MKT) expresses, “Narinig ko kasi na idol niya ‘yung mga sumasayaw sa Wowowee dati at tsaka si Mocha Uson—gusto ko maging katulad nila kaya kukunin ko talaga ‘yung klase niya.”
(I heard that his idols are the Wowowee dancers and Mocha Uson—I want to be like them as well so I’ll surely take his class.)
Meanwhile, Davey Rizal y Alonzo Villareal (I, OCM) supports Carnie’s sentiments, claiming, “Sa tingin ko mas-masaya ‘pag si Roque na ‘yung professor kasi nakakahawa ang mataas niyang energy.”
(I believe it’s more fun if Roque is our professor because his high energy is infectious.)
The decision could possibly receive backlash and criticism from the DLSU community, but Roque guarantees, “Alam ko marami natatawa sa ginagawa ko, pero bleh sino ba nakikinabang sa ginagawa ko—ako din naman.” He asserts that the dedication and effort he allots to his craft should be admired, not undermined. “Pagdating ko sa La Salle, mapapansin niyo na mas maraming excited na pumasok sa GEDANCE. Baka nga mamaya magtanong pa sila tungkol sa private dancing classes.”
(I know a lot of people laugh at what I do, but who benefits from these? Me. When I announced my new position in La Salle, students were more excited to attend GEDANCE. They might even ask me for private dancing classes.)
With the University and its students looking forward to what the former presidential spokesperson has to offer—or what dance moves he has to show off—Roque reveals that he will be making his presence known during the opening of next school year, September 5, through a dance presentation with DLSU’s very own La Salle Dance Company (LSDC) Street, LSDC Contemporary, and LSDC Folk.