What I have found in the past as I’ve done clubs and service is that I find creativity the easiest of the three to complete. Despite not taking any of the fine arts, I still enjoy participating in creative clubs to continue being able to have creativity in my school life. While I have already picked a year long creative club to join, I thought that participating in CultuRama would be a really special event that would just happen to count for creativity and action again. As a new student, it was really surprising to me that the school participated so heavily in dance, and that one of the largest events was a massive showcase of student led dances. One of my favorite activities is dancing, so I immediately wanted to participate.
But I was scared. Everyone described it to me as a massive wonderful performance, but very intensive to prepare for and time consuming. Some of my friends were even able to show me some of the dances from the previous years, and they all looked very challenging, albeit beautiful. But I watched the audition videos and decided to take a leap and sign up for Egypt, a style completely opposite to my favored style, and one I hadn’t often seen before. Another friend who wanted to audition as well practiced with me, and we worked on the steps together. At the end, I think we both felt much more prepared than when we first started, and we waited for the audition day, anticipation mixed with dread.
There were approximately 30 to 40 girls auditioning for Egypt, and most of them also came well prepared, but the audition went well enough, and I finished it as best I could and waited.
I didn’t get it, but my friend who I practiced with did. While I was slightly disappointed, I was very excited to see her perform, she’s a wonderful dancer and I think she deserves the spot in the final selection. But by chance, several groups requested to have re-auditions, and I decided to try something new. I chose to try India Ghoomar, a complicated, intricate traditional dance from Rajasthan led by two of my friends, and one that I didn’t think I would be able to learn in time for the deadline, the next day. I spent a few hours trying to decide if I really wanted to audition again, but my friends prodded me ahead.
The next day, I went to the Ghoomar audition, along with less than 8 other girls, and learned the steps to audition with. Similarly to the first Egyptian audition, it went rather smoothly, and I wasn’t sure of the outcome. Exhausted as I was, I re-auditioned for Egypt. There were far less girls this time, and I knew the dance better. While I knew it better, the outcome didn’t change. I didn’t get in.
But I did get in to Ghoomar, and I was extremely surprised by it. Not only was I surprised, I was uncertain. I don’t know much about Indian culture, and my experiences with dance could clash. I didn’t want to make mistakes while surrounded by people who identify with being a part of this culture.
I’m scared of culture appropriation, but this isn’t. This is appreciation for art. And I’m glad to be a part of it.