by Daniel Grigore

Ceasar Dayahan and Michael Sales, cofounders of PUC’s hip hop group, Lumanis, were not always sensational dancers. Both confessed their humble beginnings required much practice before they could be where they are now. But, with this honed skill, the two have managed to start a group that, as of late, is beginning to catch fire.

Michael and Ceasar had several goals when they first decided to start Lumanis. The most important was to revive/ start a real dance community on campus. There was a small group of enthusiasts when they first arrived at PUC, but nothing recognized as an official club. So, three years ago, Lumanis began as an organized group of four friends. Now, they have more than doubled their size and boast about 10 permanent members with others who come and go. The two credit growing up in a dance-infused culture as their impetus for wanting to “shape the foundations of a dance community while breaking down misconceptions.” Ceasar and Michael are dedicated to the idea that urban dance and hip hop are not all about thrusting pelvises.
Both describe dance as a form of self-expression, a form of art that requires discipline and practice. Michael said, “I enjoy the creative process, even if it is hard.” Ceasar added this thought: “We, as dancers, are always learning. Nothing is original and there are always levels [of skill and improvement] to dancing.”

Very few people start off exceptionally gifted at dance, and both Michael and Ceasar agree that it takes some awkward flailing before true progress results. But the benefits outweigh the initial ineptness. “[Dance] builds confidence as you grow more comfortable with your body,” says Michael. It also builds bonds between dancers as they learn from each other.

Although the boys have done a good job of providing a comfortable space for creativity, they have not always had comfortable times outside the studio. When asked about difficulties regarding their club, Ceasar said: “For one, the stereotype of hip hop’s raunchy and sexual nature does not help [with conservative views of dance]. And two, the music nowadays continues this generalization and makes it difficult to find songs that are appropriate and still catchy.” An additional consequence of this conservative view is lack of exposure. Lumanis has had a hard time showcasing its talent outside of Mabuhay Filipino Club’s Fall Fest extravaganza and the annual talent show. This has kept numbers small.

In previous years, the group has had difficulty getting admin approval for promotional projects. However, this year has seen an increase in connections and interest as Lumanis has agreed to work on some projects with SA.

Ceasar and Michael are dedicated to increasing awareness about urban dance/hip hop and definitely encourage you to try it out. “We are always open to new members and hope to conduct month-long workshops with classes twice a week in the near future,” said Ceasar. If you are interested in learning more or joining the group right now, please contact either of the boys at cadayahan@puc.edu or mepsales@puc. edu.