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Dance champion Gela Atayde starts new chapter in showbiz

August 26 ------ While Gela Atayde hails from a showbiz family with mom Sylvia Sanchez and siblings Arjo and Ria Atayde all respected in the field of acting she is determined to carve her own path by first following her passion for dance.

Her dedication and hard work paid off as the 21-year-old and her dance crew, Legit Status, clinched the top spot in the MegaCrew division at the World Hip Hop Dance Championship held in Phoenix, Arizona earlier this month. "From all the sleepless training nights, injuries, heartaches, and doubts to the great runs, good laughs, happy tears, great memories, and this championship. This is the hardest thing I've ever had to go through in my life so far but I am so grateful for how it turned out," said Atayde in a media conference. "I guess what made us win is our eagerness to get there and the perseverance with everything we put into, the work, the thought process, even in just making the piece and all the drafts because there are a lot of revisions up until the last day for finals," she continued.

Before entering hip hop, however, Atayde revealed she had a brief encounter with ballet. "Actually when I was way younger, I first started in ballet but funny story is I stopped ballet because I didn't like the outfits and it's tight fitting. I was so big as a child so I didn't like it," she recalled. It was her older brother, Arjo, who ignited her interest in dancing and led her to explore hip hop. "I saw Kuya Arjo, who was also under coach Vimi [Rivera] for La Salle Green Hills Airforce. I guess the music and watching him dance, watching them compete, the passion, I just really like the craft in general just by seeing it. From there, I got inspired to try it out. I started when I was 12 or 13 years old," she shared.

New chapter

Following her triumphant return from the dancing competition, the young Atayde is set to embark on another stage of her career: acting. "One of the big reasons why I wanted to enter showbiz was to introduce dance in the scene. As a dancer, I realized that it's not as appreciated as we hope or wanted it to be," she said. "I guess I was given the opportunity to explore dance and to show everyone what dance is actually about – not just hip-hop but different styles just so it can be talked about more. My main goal is to be able to at least make a movie or a series about dance or anything related to dance," Atayde added.

The Star Magic talent acknowledged that while she's pursuing a different genre, she will still have her family's shadow in doing showbiz projects. "I think the shadow will always be there, especially now that I am starting to act. There will always be circumstances that we'll be compared. I am not scared with that because I think I will deliver and that's because I want to. I think I'm lucky because I have dance that sets me apart from my siblings and my mom. "At first, I am scared because as I've said if my brother had one wall to break, my sister had two walls, I have three since it's three of them. But I don't feel any pressure especially from them. I guess I feel like I don't have anything to prove," she continued.

In going into showbiz full-time, Atayde kept valuable advice from her family. "My mom is one of the people that really supported me all the way through. If anything, she just kept telling me, 'kaya mo yan, 'nak' and I think for me it went a long way because my mom has a certain way of motivating me and my siblings, and my dad, too, actually. My dad is a man of few words so when they talk to us it's like, 'man, okay, I'm going to do it,'" said Atayde. "But the best advice from my mom is always 'puso.' She always tells me to use my heart in everything that I do and for as long as I use my heart, I will succeed – especially in acting. We always see that in her, she always uses her heart with all the roles that she does. So I think because of that, I have the heart to fight and persevere in everything I am doing because of my mom," she added. On the other hand, from her brother, Arjo, she imbibed the wisdom to withstand external criticisms. "With my Kuya Arjo, what he always tells me was to not let anyone's criticism affect me. That helped me a lot because a lot of people would compare us and my Ate Ria. I would get that a lot but then again because of my siblings, they always reassure me that I'm different and I can always do what they can do and so much more," she said.

The new Kapamilya star will apply these advices as she makes her starring role in "Senior High" — ABS-CBN and Dreamscape's TV series teen series — together with Andrea Brillantes, Elijah Canlas, Zaijan Jaranilla, Xyriel Manabat, Juan Karlos, Daniela Stranner, Miggy Jimenez, and Tommy Alejandrino. Atayde expressed her enthusiasm for her upcoming role as it is very close to her personality. "I am really grateful to all those who paved the way for me to tick another goal off of my bucket list. 'Senior High' is really gonna be special for me, not only because it's my first acting gig but also because I'm sharing the camera with my mom and my best friend, Kyle Echarri," she finally said.



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