Fierce Competition: Lalau, Lagua Compete with The Lab

Chloe Kitsu, Copy Editor

     From Jan. 25 to Feb. 12, Juniors Jeiley Lalau and Bailey Lagua were invited to compete with The Lab at the Vibe JRS dance competition in California. After many long and grueling practices, The Lab placed third at competition.

    “It was honestly one of my — it was a really good trip that I took and it was because, well one they’re really good dancers, but just the people and the vibe, no pun intended, for like practices and stuff, they’re always encouraging. It wasn’t if you messed up you’d feel bad about it, it was a, ‘You messed up, okay let’s do better.’ And it was just the environment that the people up there painted and it made me just want to be around them even more. So that and the good dancing and just the good people it just made it really memorable,” said Lalau. Lagua added, “It was the best experience of my life. Training and competing with the best in the world was both humbling and exciting. Initially, I had a lot to consider before flying up, but just going for it was definitely the best decision I’ve made.”

    Through the two and a half weeks that Lalau and Lagua spent at The Lab, they endured 10 to 12 hour practices. Their routine was about five minutes long with many different components. “I was out of breath, we did conditioning, I had to learn all the pieces that I was put in, so I learned all of that, that day. One of my friends came with me too, his name is Bailey so we were both struggling together, it was really hard,” said Lalau. Lagua added, “A major challenge for me was definitely keeping up with the insane talent and skill at The Lab. All of the dancers there are far beyond what I’m used to being surrounded by, and trying my best to measure up to these hard workers was a struggle but a struggle that I need to grow.”

    Both Lalau and Lagua spent many hours working hard in preparation for the competition. One of the key elements that The Lab instilled in its dancers was cooperation. They all learned to work and dance as one instead of individuals. “I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is probably teamwork and I think it’s teamwork because they stress that a lot in practices and just in general because we worked with — there were 84 dancers on that stage so it was a lot of people and with that there is room for a lot of mistakes, room for lots of errors to happen. So we needed to be prepared that if anyone were to mess up, it’s a team effort, it’s not just that one person, it’s not just that group of people, it’s the whole team itself. So I think that’s one thing I took away from this trip,” said Lalau. Lagua added, “During the entire experience, I learned the importance of the process over the product. People tend to glorify the product and only emphasize the end result to a journey. A lot of the time we fail to recognize the steps and sequences it took to reach the top. The Lab opened my eyes to the process and helped me realize that work ethic, effort and mindset are crucial factors to success.”

    Lalau’s older sister, Sienna Lalau has honed a dance career of her own. Sienna Lalau has taught numerous classes around the world, choreographs and dances with The Lab and immaBeast. However, it hasn’t always been easy for her to break away from her sister’s shadow. “Well I grew up with my sister Sienna, she used to go here. Right now she does dance for her living so she travels the world and she teaches classes. I kind of grew up comparing myself to her sometimes, so I would get discouraged about dancing if I wasn’t put in the front or if I wasn’t in the same part as her. In middle school I stopped dancing because of that and because I just didn’t like going to practice anymore. I always wanted to do what she did, so when she started dancing, I told my mom, I wanted to start dancing. So that’s how I got into it at first and she was taking classes and then my mom would be like, ‘Jeiley, you wanna take too?’ So I’d be like, ‘Okay, since Sienna is taking it.’ So that’s how it’s kind of been growing up, so whatever she did, I basically did. From there I kind of branched off into being my own person, so I found what kind of interests me in dance,” said Lalau.

    Even though The Lab did not place first, this did not serve as a loss in their eyes. The memories and learning experiences that they had at The Lab made placing third just as worthwhile. “To be honest, even if we did win first, I don’t think I would really care about that. The fact that we placed third — and I’m really happy that I took this trip because it’s something that’s kind of shocking. I really enjoyed, like I said, the people up there and I made so many new friends and I was able to meet new people. ‘Cause I went up in the summer of last year and I was still kind of new so I didn’t know anybody but this time around I felt like I really made friends and I was able to get to know people and actually dance for once in awhile,” said Lalau.

    In the future, Lalau plans to continue dancing and will return with The Lab in the summer. Lagua hopes to get accepted to a college in California and take classes at various studios. He hopes to return with The Lab soon.