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'Brothers' in dance

Shayal Devi
Monday, January 21, 2013

The Burning West is home to some of the finest talents in the country and Simla Lost Boys, or SLB as they are more commonly known, is an example.

Made up of young men who use dance as a way to bind friendship, the group consists of four members — Rogiemar Macalinao, Kim Macalinao, Glen Macalinao and Ashwal Kumar.

It has been five wonderful years for the group which still has the three founding members, brothers Rogiemar, Kim and Glen.

Sevuloni Lule and Emmanuel Iyarabura, who were part of the first generation SLB have since left the group.

Integral team member, Glen pointed out their inspiration was the JabbaWokeeZ, who were Season 1 winners on the popular American reality TV Show, America's Best Dance Crew.

"That is how we got started in 2008. We saw them win, and it was pretty awesome. Since all three brothers were in high school in 2008, Rogiemar in Form Seven, Kim in Form Four and I was in Form Three, the talent show for Natabua High School was coming up, and we decided to perform.

"We won best choreography for our performance," he said.

Big brother Kim echoed his sentiments.

"It made the most sense for us to dance, not just because we love to keep fit, but dancing allows us to share our feelings with others," he said

Undeterred by the departure of Sevuloni and Emmanuel, the brothers saw change as an opportunity for exciting new possibilities.

They soon found themselves with two new members, Arthur Thomas and John Borando.

"Naturally, we were amazed that there was so much talent with the two. It was a good journey," Glen Macalinao said.

Over time John and Arthur also bade farewell, but the brothers banded together. Not alone for long, though, as close friend Ashwal Kumar decided to join the group.

Ashwal said being in the group made him feel truly special. He said he was inspired by the brothers themselves.

"I saw them when I was in Form Three, and I was blown away by their performance. I thought to myself, 'Wow, they are really good'. I joined in 2012 and since then, it has been quite a ride," he added

Glen says they just have a passion for dancing.

"I quit sports to dedicate time for training. If that doesn't show people how much I love dancing, I don't know what will."

Dance and music go together quite nicely, and so the boys have a profound love for music.

"We perform to different genres of music. Funk, Break Beats, Hip Hop, and occasionally Fiji Style music, like Bollywood and songs native to Fiji," Glen said.

The boys love training, socialising, clubbing and hanging out with friends and family. They each have individual talents as well, with Glen being an avid comic reader, loves drawing and listening to music.

Kim plays the guitar, he is a movie buff and loves reading whereas Rogiemar, the oldest, is a huge video game enthusiast. He is in charge of watching his younger siblings. Ashwal says that he loves to spread the word that he is associated to this brotherhood.

Their practice routines are taken very seriously.

"We try to cover all the bases in the timeframe that we have," Rogiemar said.

The Macalinao brothers were born in Fiji, but their parents, arrived here from the Phillipines. The brothers also have two younger siblings, sister Maryrone and brother Caleb Gabriel.

"My parents are from Calumpit Bulacan, to be exact," Glen stated.

Ashwal Kumar is from Lautoka. His parents are Shabnam and Kailesh Kumar and has an older sister, Bethnilza.

The boys say that financial support is provided by their parents.

With high school now over, Glen will head to the University of the South Pacific for a course in electrical and electronic engineering, while Ashwal will pursue a major in automotive engineering at USP.

Kim and Rogiemar are already at the University of Fiji, both brothers planning to get an MBBS and graduate as doctors.

Their greatest achievements include winning the Mix FM's "Bring It On" competition at the Digicel Sugar Festival 2009, and then going on to win the Mai TV Dance Invasion. The group also took part in the Fiji's Got Talent competition in 2010 and also the Battle Zone in 2009. They won second place at the Fiji's Got Talent competition in 2011.

The group shares a common idea.

"We dance with our heart and let our soul speak.

"Dancing for us is about expressing ourselves to what we face in life and how we encounter them. It's not what we do, it's how it's done," Glen said on behalf of the group.

The future of the group remains bright as all members look to preserve this legacy created by one of the finest talents that the west has put on show.

* Shayal Devi was one of four Kaila! 2012 DYON best student writer award winners.

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