14 November 2009

Homeschooling Part 2

Saturday, November 14, 2009 by Chelo · 0 comments
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How Do I Begin With Homeschooling?

1 Write down your reason for homeschooling. This way, when you get immersed in the process, you can go back and review the reason why you decided to homeschool in the first place. Talk to your child, too, so that you are on the same page with the decision to homeschool, especially if the child is being pulled out of the traditional school system.

2 Take the steps one at a time. Do not concern yourself with the entire elementary or high school level. Use the first year as the determining year whether you will do homeschooling for the long haul or not.

3 Choose the curriculum. (Separate essay on that later.) I suggest you use one publisher for your first year so that you see the scope and coverage as a whole.

4 Contact your homeschool institutional covering. There are schools who accept homeschoolers. Bible-believing Christian churches will be able to point you to them. You may want to do this for record-keeping and official report cards.

5 Set-up your homeschool area at home. It can be as simple as the bedroom or the dining room or the living room. The important thing is to have some semblance of order so that the physical environment fosters learning.

6 Study the curriculum. There is no better way to prepare than this.

These steps are simplistic, of course. You will want to talk to homeschooling parents to glean from their experiences, too. However way you go, homeschool can be fun, fulfilling, and rewarding for those who brave the move. Happy homeschooling!

08 November 2009

Why Every Mom Should be a Stage Mom

Sunday, November 08, 2009 by Chelo · 3 comments
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One of the toughest challenges an Artistic Director faces is handling stage mothers. Often, the most talented artists are those with the "most" stage moms. Understandably so. Stage moms gain their names because of their very high-level involvement in their children's artistic endeavors or careers. The connotation, however, has become sorely negative because many have overstepped the bounds. And the Artistic Director has no choice but to deal with them.

Despite the stigma to the name, there is merit to being a stage mom. In my ballet school, for example, the dancers who have made it to the international stage are those whose moms are very involved in their daughters' dance careers. They are there almost every class, every rehearsal, and certainly every performance. They do not only offer their physical presence; they also offer their two cents' worth on everything! Name the country's ballerinas, and you can be sure they have a stage mom right next to them.

Personally, I like stage moms. It makes it easier for me when the parent understands the dynamics and demands of our extremely competitive art. When parents have that kind of understanding, the terms become clearer and the procedure of rising to the top becomes defined. Oftentimes, I get parents who are highly involved with their kids when they are very young. Then, they start letting go when the children reach pre-teens, which is probably the most critical time when the parents are most needed.

My colleagues will agree that it is easy to promise the stars when the parents are right behind their children, especially in this art called ballet where costs are high and training/rehearsal schedules are painfully rigorous. Conversely, I have also seen much talent go to waste because parents let the reins go at some point.

As a Mom, I, too, am unashamedly a stage mom. Not to worry, I know the boundaries. But if this term means getting involved in my sons' lives as called for, whether they are 5 or 25, I will play the part.

And all the stage moms say, Amen!

21 October 2009

Am I Too Old To Dance Ballet?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 by Chelo · 6 comments
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Regrets always come in the end. Some regrets we can rectify and still act upon; others come just a trifle bit late. For instance, is there such a thing as being too late to dance ballet?

In truth, ballet is age-bound. We start training very young so that the bones (or cartilages) are still pliant and the classes are rigorous, especially for those who envision a professional career at the end of the road. In Russia, children aged 9 (or 8 if exceptionally gifted) enter the ballet academy and train everyday, along with academic classes. They graduate at 16 or 17 and embark on a professional dancing career in one of Russia's professional companies like the Kirov or Boshoi. It is a similar scenario at the Paris Opera. In most parts of the world, children start ballet training much younger, say 4 to 6, but with less frequency during the week, often interspersing the classes with other co-curricular activities to academic lessons. It is the serious student who pursues dance, later on, to a higher discipline until he or she reaches the professional stage.

As true as that might all be, it is never too late to dance ballet especially if we just want to do so for the pleasure of it, for the love of it, or for the passion of dance. There are schools that offer adult ballet and make less demands of their students than professional environments. For as long as our goals are realistic, we can enjoy the tip of the iceberg that ballet offers. Taking actual lessons also gives us a greater depth of appreciation when we watch performances.

Whether 6 or 36, the dance floor beckons. For those who make it to the stage, be it as fairy or queen or wili or court lady, the experience is breathtakingly beautiful.

19 October 2009

Dancing with the Pros

Monday, October 19, 2009 by Chelo · 4 comments
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I knew it would take a lot of work to bring my dancers to Meralco Theatre to rehearse with Philippine Ballet Theatre. We come all the way from International Christian Academy Sucat, Paranaque. Permits, car pools, schedules, etc all had to be arranged for it to work. It wasn't like we had to go there everyday. But, still, joining the show meant a lot of sacrifice - for me, for the dancers, for their parents.

Still and all, we braved it. I knew that it would take more than taking classes and the sparse performances a school affords, albeit in prestigious theatres, in order to polish even technically brilliant dancers. Something just clicks when a dancer is thrust into the arena of the pros and they actually "see" seasoned dancers take class, rehearse, sweat it out, perform, et al. It was all part of raising the bar.

The same is true with life. I realize that the quest for greatness necessitates that I constantly follow the footsteps of those greater than I or those who have trekked life ahead of me, and learn from them. It takes a genuine humility to do so perennially. The gems culled from what pans before me are lessons I can't pick up from school institutions, at least, not to the degree I will glean as when I immerse myself in the field.

Dancing with the pros.

My dancers are tired. So am I, hoarse voice for a week and all. But, we are the richer for having taken the challenge. I'd like to think that our dancing got better, our character more solid.

Thank you, Philippine Ballet Theatre!

Chelo B. Gemina, Artistic Director, Acts Manila

23 July 2009

Homeschooling Part 1

Thursday, July 23, 2009 by Chelo · 0 comments
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What is home-schooling? Is it just doing schoolwork at home? What is the spirit behind home-schooling? Why home-school? What does it take to home-school? What about socialization? What about accreditation? Is this less expensive than going to regular school? And the list of questions goes on.

I will attempt to answer some frequently-asked-questions about this controversial topic, albeit in bits and pieces. I do so because of the many phone calls I receive from interested parents from different socio-economic & religious backgrounds. I home-schooled my older son, Michael Joshua, who landed a full college scholarship in Music Production at the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde and graduated this year. He is now taking a 5-week summer course at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. He was home-schooled from grade 2 up to 4th year high school. Michael is the youngest male black-belt holder in Aikido in Asia, trained under Sensei Xavier Baylon. I home-school my younger son, Nathan Samuel, age 11, now in 6th grade and taking piano lessons under Ms. Joanne Lorico and soccer training under Coach Jojo Durian.

What Is Home-Schooling?
To start, home-schooling is being educated at home, simply stated. Often, it is the parent who serves as the teacher although in some cases, a hired tutor can do the teaching. This means that subjects, normally studied in traditional school, are all taught at home. Each home-school is different because the reasons why families go into home-schooling vary, too. Some home-schooling families purchase a complete curriculum while others purchase here and there and adapt their own. The decision re: which curriculum to use depends largely on the goals of the home-schooling family and considers the strengths & weaknesses of the child(ren) being home-schooled.

Why Do Families Home-school?
There are different reasons why families home-school. Some do so because of special needs of children. Others home-school because of religious convictions. Still others do because the parents feel that they are able to impart their values alongside academics better than hired teachers can. There are those who travel frequently and only the home-school parameters can accommodate the uniqueness of their circumstances. Many young people who are either in show business or arts or sports are home-schooled in order to cope with the demands of shootings, specialty classes or training. Both the gifted and children whose learning styles are not in sync with traditional education also go the route of home-schooling because of greater flexibility.

What Does It Take to Home-school?
I wish everyone could home-school, but the reality is: home-schooling is not for everybody. Home-schooling entails a lot of time and commitment that not everyone is willing to make. While it helps to have some educational attainment, what is more important is the heart to impart to the child. There are successful home-schoolers who never finished college. The availability of a wealth of curricula - complete from teacher's guide to worksheets to answer keys - makes it tons easier to do the job. It does take some degree of organization because the home-school teacher needs to plot what he/she will teach for the school year & allow adjustments for variables like delays. Depending on the age of the child & the learning style, patience is a virtue especially when home-schooling younger children.

To be Continued

14 July 2009

How To Be a Better Listener

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 by Chelo · 2 comments
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It was my Dad who taught me how to be a good listener. I must have been in grade 7 when I experimented with a classmate after ballet class and I just sat there and listened to my friend relate stories about how her day went & episodes about her boyfriend. I could not really relate to everything she was saying but I mustered strength to listen and give her encouragement to talk. At the end of the conversation, or what seemed more like a monologue, she said, "Boy, it was really great talking to you!" I hardly said anything! She really did all the talking.

I don't think I gained much from the content of what she said. But, that day, I discovered the secret of making another human being feel important and valued simply by listening well. I listened not only with my ears but also with my eyes, my gestures, and my heart. I knew my friend considered me a friend for life. More importantly, I gained the priceless lesson of learning how to empathize with others and enter into their hurts. Because of that, I also gained the right to speak into her life because she knew I cared.

People can tell when our lines are lip service. People can read between the lines. People can feel when the sympathy is real. People can also hear what we're not saying.

If we all listen, really listen, we would certainly have a less-wounded world.

08 April 2009

The Michael for Berklee PayPal donate button is up!

The Michael for Berklee (michaelgemina.com) PayPal donate button is here!

In response to everybody's questions about my son...

My son, Michael Gemina, is a 20 year-old drummer who was accepted at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA for their 5-week summer performance program. Just last month, Michael finished his 3-year Music Production & Sound Engineering course at the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde on Full Scholarship. Michael won in 3 different inter-band competitions here in Manila, one in which he was awarded Best Drummer. His band, Private Publiko, recently launched an album which hit the radio this month. He has been a part of our church worship team as drummer (Victory, known as Every Nation worldwide) for the last 7 years. As an aside, he is the youngest male black-belter in Aikido in Asia.

We feel that this gift in Music is God-given and we are moving heaven and earth to make this dream come true. Michael has had his heart set on Berklee even before he entered college.

Coming from his home-school background of 10 years, Michael was disheartened at how young people his age live either aimlessly or in mediocrity. His vision is to excel in what he does so that he can make an impact in his generation and inspire others to live excellent lives that will honor God and affect society for the better. By God's grace, when he returns, he would like to share what he will have learned with other young people by teaching part-time in his alma mater and going full blast as a drum artist.

Our means are limited. We look to family, friends, and patrons who will help him run with his vision. My former ballet student & godfather of musicians, Paul Pajo, help set up his fan page and we are rallying 1000 true fans (friends) to give $10 USD each (about P500) to raise approximately P500,000 to cover the cost of tuition, plane fare & accommodations.

We brave this move, in humility, because we, too, have sown our own financial seeds in the area of education in the past. We applied for scholarship, but, Berklee grants this only to high school graduates. Michael is above the age limit.

If you wish to help, please click on the donate button below

Those in the Philippines may deposit at:
Bank: Banco De Oro
Account Name: Maria Lucia B. Gemina or Gerry Gemina
Account Number: 1470000871

Our family wishes to thank the following patrons: my mentor Mary, Eileen De Matta, Stephan & Mish Suarez, Jojo & Divi Malolos, Ayessa Balat, Joan Crisanto, Mona Gonzalez, Rean & Tes Tirol, Toops & Jan Manlapig, Fred & Ashley Magbanua, Lawrence Laureta, Miel & Mash Maguigad, Jun/Mina/Aaron Yap, Irma Bringas Aguado, Liza Aldaba, John & Chotto Go, & Botond and Binky Bognar, Alvin & Liezl Borromeo, Tanya Aritao, Cliff & Cres Logan, Caleb Galaraga, Ichet Lacsina, Miguel Calayan, Grace Marci, Michael & Pia Paderes and an anonymous donor.

We also wish to thank those who have done liaison work on our behalf between the US and Manila: Pastor Steve Murrell, Pastor Jun & Mabel Lee and Mrs. Binky Bognar. Special thanks to Paul Pajo, godfather of musicians who conceived of the Michael-for-Berklee campaign. Thank you all for lending us wings when ours can't seem to fly. We will always be grateful.

To honor God and advance His kingdom in the performing arts. Thank you. :-)

23 March 2009

The Company of Acts Manila Dancers

Monday, March 23, 2009 by Chelo · 0 comments
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The Company of Acts Manila (TCOA) goes onstage for its conglomerate schools annual ballet performance at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (Little Theater) on May 30 & 31, 2009.

The show, "Noah's Ark" features animals two by two in pretty ballet costumes weaved by the creative choreographies of Jun Saagundo, Jan Manlapig, Pia Paderes, Beth Ciudad, Johanna Sotto, & Producer Chelo B. Gemina.

Participating schools: International Christian Academy, STI Academy, VCS Ballet, International British Academy, Palms Country Club, and Shekinah Ballet School.

Featured in photo are TCOA members (from left to right): Angel Pastores, Bea Perez, Angeli Patino, Christine Saavedra, Uriel Lastrilla and Jiselle Magbanua.

Enrollment for ballet is open all year round.

Filipino Drummer's Beat is Berklee

Monday, March 23, 2009 by Chelo · 0 comments
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20 year-old Filipino drummer, Michael Gemina, is elated with his acceptance to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA for their 5-week summer workshop. Michael, who is graduating as a Music Production Major & Scholar at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde this term says it is his big dream.

"When I entered Benilde 3 years ago, I was determined to learn all I could to contribute my part in raising the standard of excellence & professionalism in the Philippine music industry. I am thankful for the excellent education I received from professors who were industry practitioners as well. If granted a U.S. visa & with God's provision for the course, I am even more determined to learn from the best of the best in order to take it back to our country and put the Philippines at the helm of the contemporary music scene. I want my life to count and inspire other young people my age to fulfill their destiny in God. As I go to Berklee, I want to be a blessing to that school, too. I am doing this not just for me but for others who will follow after me. I can't do it alone. Next to God and my family, I need my countrymen behind me, too."

Get to know Michael: www.michaelgemina.com

17 January 2009

Life 101 Corner: Ballerina Princess

Saturday, January 17, 2009 by Chelo · 3 comments
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She started dancing ballet in her primary years. Quiet girl with sleepy eyes. Consistent honor student. Never missed a class except during exams, and always, with permission. Ballet-wise, her technique was clean. Beautiful dancer, inside & out. Her admirers are countless. Children adore her.

The terror that I am as a ballet director, it was she who composed the text messages to say that she & her classmates would miss my class for this or that-related school requirement. They all knew that with her, I would acquiesce.

There was something about this girl: everything was proper, everything was in place. Her love for God most especially striking: she lived the Word and still does. I told her that her destiny was to sit with kings - the halls of high-level leadership. I was not surprised that out of hundreds who applied for the United World Colleges scholarships last year, she was awarded the post for New Mexico, USA. And when she finally flew off last September, her dorm turned out to be, prophetically, a literal castle!

In my last ballet recital, she played the role of ESTHER, the biblical queen who came to royal position for such a time as the Jews needed a voice to plead their lives to the King. Today, we have a young Esther training in the halls of UWC and we await the fulfillment of her destiny to be the voice for God's people in her future place of assignment. And, who knows, she might just marry into royal lineage?

Laura Angeline Pastores. Daughter of the King. Destined for greatness.

01 January 2009

Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 01, 2009 by Chelo · 4 comments
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I like New Year. First, it allows me to leave behind all the disappointments, failures, and hurts of the past year and face the new one with hope, excitement, and faith. Second, I like things that are new - new seasons, new goals, new plans.... They take on a deeper meaning because they are "new" in the sense that they come forth from the lessons of the past. And third, the festive air welcomes my soul into a vast avenue of endless possibilities.

Despite the bleakness that the newspapers and television offer day in & day out, I look forward to a great 2009. No matter how daunting it gets, I am challenged to rise to the occasion. I am just about ready for the bite.


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