The Passionate Folk Dancer Who Wants to be An Educator

PIO Department


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Nicole Clavel, 21, has been a folk dancer since he was in Grade 3. Through the years, he has mastered the art of dancing such popular folk dances as Tinikling, Pandango Sa Ilaw and Binasoan.

His passion for folk dancing helps him earn money that pays for some of his school needs such as books, supplies, uniform. But given his father’s income of P500 a day, whatever he earns from performing and teaching folk dances will not be enough to pay for his P4,000 a semester tuition at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina (PLMar).

Good thing that Mayor Marcy Teodoro has moved heaven and earth so that tuition at PLMar will be free. Students only have to pay P300 a semester for miscellaneous fees.

“My parents are able to save a lot because of the free tuition fee. I have another brother who is studying here and he also enjoys free tuition,” says Nicole, whose name should have been spelled the more masculine Nickol, but the nurse at the hospital where he was born thought he was a baby girl thus the feminine spelling. Not that it matters though.

Stopped Schooling for a Year

The 21-year old Physical Education student is now in his junior year, though he could have graduated last year if he did not stop for a year and transferred from another school. He used to study at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, but because his parents could no longer afford the higher tuition, he was forced to skip school for two semesters and then transfer to PLMar.

Last summer, he worked as a facilitator at the Summer Arts Workshop given by the city hall’s tourism and arts office and earned P12,000. He saved the money so that he could pay for his school expenses when classes opened. He even gave some of it to his mother, a stay at home mom.

This early, Nicole is looking forward to 2019, when his younger brother, who is a junior Criminology student also at PLMar, will hopefully graduate alongside with him. Their graduation will be a big relief to their parents because it would mean they could already get decent jobs and help in the family expenses.

Despite the difficulties in life, he is optimistic about the future. He hopes to teach high school students after graduation and then do some research about folk dances in the Philippines. He even plans to write a book about the subject, which is very close to his heart.

“When I graduate, I also want to do some research on undiscovered folk dances. For example, the Sulod tribe in Iloilo has its own folk dance. Here in Malanday, I heard that there were also some folk dances, including one where the performers used huge circular baskets,” Nicole, the eldest among four children, says.

Asked if the spelling of his name bothers him, Nicole simply smiles. He has no plans at the moment to have the spelling of his name changed, saying he has other more urgent concerns such as balancing school, performing and teaching folk dances to both students and teachers of Marikina and doing some volunteer works at PLMar.

At the recently concluded Arts Month celebration in Marikina, he was among those who performed at the Sayaw Pinoy Concert as part of the Marikina Dance Guild.

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