The Week of CultuRama

This week is going to be extremely busy. The schedule has been released and it’s very full; There is rehearsal on Monday and Wednesday from 4 to 9 pm, a dress rehearsal performance with an audience on Wednesday, and two full performances on Thursday. I’m worried about the long hours and managing other work at the same time, and I hope that everything will go as planned.


Monday: We’ve been modifying choreography and changing the music to the full version with a longer introduction than we have used before. We’ve changing the entrance of the dance along with the end formation, and we have to run through the show two times today. We also have to combine with India Garba at the beginning and end of their dance, which is uncomfortable and confusing for everyone. We only have around 15 minutes to figure out this new choreography before we have to head to the auditorium to begin the main rehearsal for the day. We practice one time before the official start on the stage, and there are mistakes from everyone. I’m really worried that we won’t be together, even though the new choreo is supposed to help with this.We switched the placement of the dupatta (scarf) so that it’s further towards the crown of the head, it sort of gets in the way of my arms when I’m turning. It’s a really long day and we ended much later than supposed to.

Extra notes: The other dances were amazing to see, I’ve never seen some of these dance styles before, and everyone is so synchronized and energetic. Seeing all the dances with the full lights and costume, and ours with India Garba, is really beautiful. It mimics the performance so well, the anticipation is building.


Wednesday: We have an audience today during the second rehearsal!! Very exciting but also extremely nerve wracking, we’ve practiced a lot individually and as a group: I listen to the music and watch the videos of the rehearsals on my way to school in the morning, and I feel like the music is really internalized to the point I know all the melodies and even some words. The first rehearsal went well but some minor mistakes, but we’ve fixed the entrance and the exit/entrance mix with Garba. Us reentering into their dance is still a bit messy with the turns but it’s much better than on Thursday. We’ve fixed the dupatta to be much further back over the bun, and everyone already knows what makeup/jewelry/hair needs to be done. No issues with the costume luckily, and much more synchronized. I still think of today as an actual performance even though it isn’t classified as one. Very late night again but more fulfilling to do.

Extra notes: Lots of congratulations from people watching the performance who said it went really well. Helps all of us to feel proud about what we’ve achieved in so short a time, but the real performances are tomorrow.


Thursday: Show Day!! We immediately have to start getting ready from after school onwards because there is only a few hours until the first show. We’re all running around very busy with hair and makeup, and all helping each other and helping the Garba girls as well. We don’t have any costume malfunctions luckily, although using the candles are stressful and some begin to burn out. We fit in a short practice of the end formation outside the auditorium while waiting for out turn, we’re nearly the last dance and have a lot of time. Poorvi and Mansi are very stressed, but we all are. Now is the time for fixing small mistakes that can make or break the dance. My candle placement is on the clear opposite side from where I need to be next, and I’m running across the stage every time to make it before the lights turn on again. It’s very hard to not be obvious side stage when holding bright lights. We’re all very tense but while dancing it is very freeing, it’s exhilarating for everyone when we finish our dance and wait to reenter with Garba. The circle was in the center and the ending was sharp, there were no large mistakes with formation or movement and the turning was synchronized. Poorvi begins the dance extremely well and we all end together, the ending with Garba is also very sharp even though there are a lot of us on stage dancing different things.

Extra notes: Many of my friends came today, and my parents watched the first show. A short break in between where there was food from different cultures, many things that I recognize. There was even pepernoten, a flashback towards being home.

After the Show: Celebration from everyone in the dressing rooms and scrambling to clean up before we all cram into a conference room to hear thank yous and to gives cards and flowers to the organizers and the dance leaders. Lots of cheering and clapping from everyone for a wonderful show with such a variety of dances.


In the end, it was such an amazing experience, and a very unique one that I would have never gotten the opportunity to do other wise. I met girls in different grades and different backgrounds that all worked together with me to produce an amazing dance. I learned a new style of dancing that I had never heard or seen before, and danced for the largest audience I’ve ever danced for.

The biggest takeaway of all? I would do it all over again.

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