Yassi Pressman: We dance to express, not to impress | Inquirer Entertainment

Yassi Pressman: We dance to express, not to impress

By: - Reporter
/ 08:23 PM January 02, 2014

The hip-hop-dance movie “Kaleidoscope World” had little publicity prior to the opening of the annual Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). And with unheralded actors leading its cast, the Francis Magalona-inspired production is arguably one of the underdogs in this year’s showcase of Filipino movies, usually dominated by industry giants and their stables of popular stars.

But there’s nothing to be ashamed of, stressed lead actress Yassi Pressman. If anything, she is just grateful that the movie was given the chance to be part of the MMFF. “I don’t feel sad at all. It’s actually something that I’m very proud of,” she said in a recent interview.

Yassi was part of last year’s MMFF fantasy-action entry, “Si Agimat, Si Enteng Kabisote at Si Ako,” which starred Vic Sotto. This time, the young actress’ movie is up against Vic’s “My Little Bossings” at the box office.


“Working with veterans like Vic Sotto was amazing. Now, competing against them is surreal. We still can’t absorb that this is happening,” said Yassi, who plays “Kaleidoscope’s” lead female role, Elsa.


Shooting stopped

Directed and produced by Liza Cornejo, “Kaleidoscope” was initially set to be released in 2012. Unfortunately, shooting was halted because of budget problems. Yassi felt dejected, thinking that the movie wouldn’t be completed, let alone shown in theaters.

The movie wasn’t even in the original roster of movies competing in this year’s MMFF. But with a stroke of luck, producers of the silver screen adaptation of the TV series “Be Careful with My Heart” backed out, giving way to “Kaleidoscope.”

“The movie didn’t push through last year and we were sad because we thought that it wasn’t meant to be,” said the Filipino-British talent. “Now I think the movie getting stalled was a blessing in disguise because we got to be part of the MMFF in exchange. That gave us the extra push to work double-time and finish the film.”

“Kaleidoscope” tells the story of a rich girl, Elsa (Yassi), and a poor boy, Lando, portrayed by Yassi’s ex-boyfriend, Sef Cadayona. The two fall in love after meeting in an open audition for a local dance crew, hoping to compete in an international contest.

“It’s a typical teen tale, but along the way my character, who grew up in the United States, learns more about the way of living in the Philippines,” Yassi related. “It’s super Pinoy and relatable. Not just because of the music, but also because of all the family and barkada experiences being shown.”


Asked if she felt pressured about headlining a movie—the success of which will most likely depend on her and Sef—the 18-year-old actress said, “The pressure is immense because we are the lead actors, and of course there are expectations.”

According to her, the only thing she and Sef could guarantee viewers is their passion for acting and dancing. “As many dance groups and communities would always say, we dance to express; not to impress,” Yassi pointed out.

No formal training

Aside from dances, other aspects of the hip-hop culture like rapping and graffiti are featured in the movie. And while they worked with various renowned dance troupes such as the Philippine All-Stars, the Maneuvers, the Crew and the UP Streetdance Club, Yassi said she and Sef didn’t really have formal training.

“I had learned a lot from dancing in GMA 7 variety shows. I danced with Ad Lib, Philippine Island Assassin, and other dancing celebs like Mark Herras, Julian Trono and Winwyn Marquez,” she said. “We all helped each other.”

Yassi believes the enduring music of the late rap artist Francis Magalona is what separates the movie from the other entries this year. “His wife Pia and daughter Maxene were both very excited about the movie. Every so often, during shooting, they would check how we were doing,” she related.

More than being one of the few locally-produced dance films, “Kaleidoscope” is a tribute to the “Master Rapper” and all the lives he had touched. “Sir Francis M inspired a lot of people, especially those in the hip-hop community,” Yassi said. “His songs were empowering, and I’m sure a lot of fans still miss him.”

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TAGS: Dancing, Francis Magalona, Kaleidoscope World, MMFF, Movies, Sef Cadayona, Showbiz, Yassi Pessman

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