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.

Riding for the Disabled Association: Sessions 1-3

For the past three sessions at RDA, I have been working with the same rider and horse, but with three different partners. The first week, I was with a partner who was from a different school but had worked at RDA before, the second time I was with someone from UWCSEA, and the last time I was with a partner who used to work at RDA when they were in high school. All in all, while it is definitely important to be able to work with different people, the whole situation is so new that working with constantly changing partners makes the dynamics of the session harder than it could be. It makes it harder to work together because we first have to get to know each other and also to know the rider and horse.

I wouldn’t say that it was necessarily easier to work with someone from UWCSEA because I also did not know many of the people from school that well. It was easier to work with the two partners who hadn’t come from school because they both had previous experience with the facilities and with other riders. Each time, I did need my partner to various extents, but I could have never done it alone. Having a partner allows for better support of both the rider and the side walkers, and is more safe. I still think safety is a huge concern. The goal is to push the rider to improve as much as they can, but I don’t really want to let go (Physically, as we stand on either size and support their legs). It’s really important to individually focus on how you can help the rider, but still be aware and responsive to the horse, your partner, the person leading the horse, and the instructors. You have to plan and initiate but also pay attention and listen.

The third session was difficult because my partner and I found that our rider was quickly getting tired and unhappy, and was rather unwilling to do the exercises. The lead instructor was getting angry with us because we could not convince her to do the activities as well as some of the other riders. This was slightly frustrating, because I think both my partner and I were trying very hard but also know that the rider themselves was tired with the activity. I don’t think either of us wanted to be pushy or mean. So it took patience, a lot of coaxing and praising: we both had to try new things for different outcomes. We had to try some new things and experiment to see what could work best for everyone.

Overall, it’s really important to challenge yourself and the rider, and try new things to meet a goal. You have to work together with everyone, but also be able to focus on yourself and your contributions.  




HS Sonos: Introduction to Choir

For my main aspect of Creativity, I chose to participate in HS Sonos, one of the two main UWCSEA choirs, despite there being no requirement to have a year long creativity commitment. I previously participated in choir in two schools, and really wanted to continue with it when I moved here. Even though I take two sciences, and therefore do not have the ability to take any of the fine arts, I enjoy visual arts and music and wanted to be able to continue some form of art in addition to my studies. One of my friends in HS Bersama recommended that I try HS Sonos if I was interested in doing choir throughout the year.

Choir for me is really fun, an opportunity to sing together with friends and share that passion with others. Through choir, I’ve improved in not only singing, but in also working together and getting to know the different choir members to produce even better music. I hope to do that here as well, because it is an unfamiliar choir. This will be one of the challenges for me, my choir was much smaller, and comprised of many of my friends even outside of choir.

Collaboration is a really key part of choir that differentiates it from solo singing because the sound produced still needs to sound like it comes from “one” person even though there are many. You need to find a singing group within the choir (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass) which then split into further groups. Once you find the group that you are in, you need to apply that to the individual people in that section, because each person has a different voice, and some voices complement each other better than others. This makes being new or unfamiliar a little bit difficult. I met the other girls in the Soprano section, and was able to talk with them a little bit about the way that things were done in this choir. I’m hoping that I’ll soon find my place with them and the other members, and that we’ll start learning some songs.

Goals for the Year:

  • A smaller scale goal: Get to know the other girls in the Soprano section and some of the other people in choir.
  • Another small goal: Have fun and practice singing.
  • A bigger goal: Learn new music and be able to perform the music from memory.
  • A big goal: Participate in a major choir performance/workshop/event, such as High School AMIS Choir.


Ladakh GC – Introduction and Goal Setting

What is Ladakh GC?

I chose to do Ladakh GC because I feel that education is something that is really important to me, especially as someone who gets the opportunity to experience a high quality education in numerous different schools around the world. Because I have this privilege, I really want to share the experience of education with others who may not have the same opportunities or lifestyle.

Ladakh GC is located in Ladakh, India, and supports the communities of the Lamdon school and its affiliated satellite schools. The Lamdon School focuses on both academic curriculum and cultural foundations such as history, language, and song and dance traditions of the Ladakh community. The Ladakh GC primarily raises funds here at UWCSEA to help support the upgrade of school facilities (teaching and housing). The Ladakh GC aims to attain the UN Sustainable Development Goal #4 of Quality Education.

The first session, we split into 4 smaller groups to read and discuss the information in the links below to help us this of the main ideas of the GC and of the schools in Ladakh. This was done to help us come us with a goal we feel really strongly about.

We had discussions on the different links that we looked at and what we found interesting and important before going up to the board to write some goals and ideas for the next year. These goals were then analyzed for their strengths and weaknesses, which we compiled to make a new group goal.

What is the goal that we decided on?

In 2018-2019, Ladakh GC aims to promote Ladakhi culture whilst aiding the efforts of Lamdon school; this will be by providing necessary classroom materials and organizing 1 key event that we will raise majority of our funds by.