Instead of only participating in the Pas de Quatre dance, I was also drawn to doing a style of dance that I had never done before, which is a more modern hip-hop style of dancing. Even during Culturama, Kahaani, and last years showcase, I had always been in more traditional or lyrical styles of dancing that were easier for me to learn and incorporate with my previous dancing knowledge.
Despite this, I chose to do Bring it On, which is a cheer and hiphop dance, much faster and more technically different than I am used to dancing. I thought it would be an interesting challenge to set myself, but perhaps I didn’t consider the various factors that would go into being a part of this dance. I am curious to see where it will take us, as there are many new challenges along the way, but I already know most of the people in the dance, and it becomes a fun activity for all of us to do together.
Although I have gotten the opportunity to do 5 dance performances at UWC, none of them have been Ballet-related, which is an unfortunate downfall of doing a dance style that is typically considered rather boring to watch. However, dance showcase this year has the theme of “Night at the Movies” which actually contains some ballet movies featuring classic stories and variations.
This year, there is a ballet dance called “Pas de Quatre”, which is the dance of the cygnets in the ballet Swan Lake, used in the movie “Black Swan”. I’m really excited to do this variation, as Swan Lake is truly one of the most class ballets there is, and the music for the piece is very iconic. The downfall is that we are following the real variation almost exactly, and while we all are ballet dancers, the choreography is designed for far more experienced dancers than we are.
So far, we have managed to learn the choreography at a slower rate, but much of the difficulty relies in the stamina and speed, the head movements, and the fact that you must dance while holding each others hands. I enjoy the dance because it is truly beautiful, but it is painful and difficult to dance. I don’t think any of us mind, but it is quite the challenge to learn.
I have high hopes for the performance though, to finally have the opportunity to show my favorite style of dancing and because it is rarely done.
Kahaani this year was arranged slightly differently than last year, as the theme was related to “A day in the life of a student at Voice for World”. This meant that the various dances were all more closely tied to the service itself. While I enjoyed having a storyline to follow last year, I think that performing pieces that the students at Voice for World can directly relate to is a more fulfilling experience.
My dance this year was called Durga Puja, after the goddess Durga who is worshipped at the destroyer of evil in the fight of goodness and evil. The dance is heavily prayer oriented, and is a key festival in Kolkata, where Voice for World is located. Before our dance, there was a short clip with two young children performing their own dance back at the NGO.
I find myself participating in Indian cultural experiences more and more. In the one and a half years in this school, I have done at least four different Indian cultural events. I find it interesting to immerse myself in part of the local culture, as I already have a stronger Chinese background. Therefore, I welcome the experience to learn new types of dancing, new types of music, and interact with others to support NGOs like Voice for World. It is well in my capacity to dedicate some of my time each week to preparing for a performance that can earn enough money and raise enough awareness to support the students at Voice for World, and that means far more to them I am sure, than anyone here can realize.
Participating in Kahaani for two years in a row has been such an enjoyable experience. I have met new people, created memories, learned how to dance differently, and supported something I feel passionate about. I am thankful UWC has given me the ability to combine my passions of dancing and helping others into one successful event.
This year, Ladakh GC decided that we wanted to begin expanding our horizons and working together to further the GC as a whole by raising more funds and awareness for our cause. Last year, we organized and held Run for Rights at Bedok Reservoir, which was one of the main ways in which we were able to raise funds towards our goal. While Run for Rights was successful, it was organized along with two other GCs, Daraja and ACE, and Ladakh this year was hoping to be able to do an event that can be distinctly branded as Ladakh GC’s.
It was a late opportunity, but the service department informed us that we would be able to hold a sort of bake sale at the grade 12 drama production of Behind the Beautiful Forevers. In particular, as Behind the Beautiful Forevers is set in Mumbai, India and revolves around under-privileged individuals who lack the opportunity to leave the life they are currently living, there is a resonance with Ladakh as we work in Ladakh, India, and help a school in order to support children out of their current lives through education.
We were not able to directly sell food or drinks at the event, but we worked together with the Parent Association to bake and cook various food items that would be given for free but with a plea of donation. Especially after explaining what Ladakh GC is and what we aim to do, many people wanted to support our cause and donated money to us. Over the course of two nights of “selling”, we were able to earn 382.30 dollars, which will go into part of our overall earnings that will later be used for the Lamdon School. Everyone was really proud of us earning this amount, because we didn’t have a large amount of preparation time and also because of the difficulty with not being able to sell the food directly. While Ladakh GC may be rather small, we are hoping that other small projects like this will add up and help us improve and grow together, and also for future members, so that we may better support the Lamdom School and their goal.
I cried like 10 times this week and none of it was in happiness.
10/10 would not recommend.
As I have done since 6th grade, I joined choir for my last year of high school. For me, choir has always been about exploring my voice along with a groups of others who all shared the same passion and curiosity for singing. The learning always came implicitly. Over the course of six years, I’ve greatly developed both my vocal range and my ability to read sheet music. I can sing much more complex songs than I could when I started, and I enjoy the challenge rather than fear it.
Wavelengths may be my last high school choir performance, and there only remains three seniors in the choir: me, Georgia, and Tony. For Wavelengths, as it is very close to the holidays, we performed “Carol of the Bells”, a traditional holiday song that I have performed a few years ago for another holiday performance. We also performed “Glow”. by Eric Whitacre, who I have previously sung some songs from. Both pieces are very beautful, albeit rather short. We also sang both pieces with a mix of Bersama and the accompanying orchestra. The final performance was very amazing, filled with many talented performances from the different music groups across middle school and high school. I found it to be a successful show, perhaps a last one as well, and I think it was a complete ending. From grade 6 all the way to grade 12, I hope to continue choir in the future, if this is the way that it will always be for me.
I decided to continue with ballet at the same dance school, Dance Arts, that I began at during grade 11. While the class I was in is both in a different classical style and a much lower level than my original skills, I still find it to be an enjoyable class, as well as a good source of light exercise. It is also much more flexible than many other dance studios, allowing me to miss classes if school demands come first.
For the past few months, the girls in my ballet class and I have been working towards a small dance showcase for our family and friends.
I actually restarted ballet rather late, only beginning at the start of the school year instead of continuing throughout summer like many of the other girls in my class. I was actually a bit behind on learning the choreography because of this. Ultimately, this ended up being a large personal setback, because the time I had to learn the whole dance was significantly shorter than I would have hoped. The choreography was very interesting: a mix between classical ballet and more contemporary lyrical movements, and was heavily focused on small sets of complex footwork and arm movement rather than jumps or turns. I particularly enjoyed the music, but I found the steps very unfamiliar at times to pick up.
I wouldn’t say that the performance was the best possible that we could have all done, despite the work we put into the final product. I know that many of the other girls would also agree with me on this point, but I didn’t find us discouraged. It could be due to the fact that we are quite tight-knit as a class, but also because we understand that we are all at different levels, and that the performance had lower stakes, and as a result was more for our own confidence and our own fun than anything else. Was it challenging? A fair bit. But did I enjoy it? Naturally.