Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wa-ter!!!! Keep that Water Level Up!!!

Panda Panda(Every water drop wasted matters!)

The theme that my group, Panda Panda and I decided to do for our carnival performance was initially going to be Go Green! This topic has recently been advocated by many people because of global warming. It includes things like recycling, saving power energy and water, as well as minimizing contamination. Then we decide to make it more specific and a stronger argument by just concentrating on water conservation. As you might know California gets its water from the Sacramento and Central valleys and the Colorado River. For some people, water can be seen as limitless because here in Californian have water to the tip of their hand with a turn of a water fossett. The truth is that the water will not last if people continue to waste it. For this reason, my group and I decided that it is an important issue to convey in our parade. I believe we successfully communicated our theme through our performance. We incorporated as many elements as we could, such as props, singing, music significant according to the situation, and chants.

We first decided to determine the most common ways in which people tend to waste water. With the help of some radio and television commercials, we came up with the following: taking long showers, washing their driveway, leaving the water running while brushing their teeth, not finishing water bottles, using the hose to wash their cars, and leaving sprinklers on for a long time or letting them hit the pavement instead of the grass. My job, the choreography was suppose to illustrate these different situations. Since we did not want to simply say what people are doing wrong, the group got separated in two groups, one being the side that showed the ways people waste water and the second one being the thing we should do instead, for each situation. The order in which each set performed was determined by the amount of water being wasted according to our judgment. Each set had a one-on-one face off. The reason for the bad side to go first was to show what people are currently doing. By using the thrust move (umbigada), we learned in class, the bad side passed the performance to the good side in order to make the change.

Our walk was the introduction to our theme; therefore we tried to do something that reflected water in some way. Our walk consisted of simple movements of our hands and feet as if we were swimming ending with a clap. Before we arrived to where the judges were waiting for us, we had two basic chants. In one of them our parade leaders would say whistle to which we responded by screaming out WA-TER! The purpose of this was to basically keep people’s attention. In our second chant, Depika would yell out "Keep keep keep it up", and the whole group would respond by saying: "Keep that water level up!" I think this chant summed up our main point which was conserving water to keep our water reserves high. Once we were in our positions, both parade leader sang a song describing every situation in which people waste water.
Water levels were also included in our costumes. They were individually assigned to each person. The bad side wore red shirts, which would lead to the lowest level of reserves, while the good side wore green shirts, which signifies the highest level of water. Each person then had something on their shirts reflecting the action they were representing. For example, I was the good car wash in the parade. Our interpretation of a good car wash was to use a bucket and a sponge to wash the car. I had sponges sowed on my shirt that made a happy face.

The dance that each group member performed included gestures of certain Orishas such as Oxum, Lansa, Ogum, Oxumare, Nana, Xongo, and Omulu. Some of the songs to which we each danced also had to do with whatever we were doing. For example, I used some of Lansa and Xongo’s gesture to the dance to a slow version of the song Car Wash. On the other hand, the bad car wash used the faster crazy version of the same song. While the two people were having their confrontation, the rest of the group was communicating the story in the background. We used the sowing movement from Yemanja as a way to tie everything together. A person might only be responsible for one of the situations we were presenting, but everyone’s actions affect the same planet we all live on. Once we finished with the rounds we all got in a circle as a unified group to call the "Water God". For this, we used gestures from Oxum. She is the Orisha of everything beautiful and her element is waterfalls and rivers. To finalize the summoning we went into the center of the circle with our rain sticks and yelled "Axe", which we learned in class meant power. The significance of this was the power we all have if we worked together to try to conserve water.
Overall, I feel that we did a good job in communicating our theme in our parade. We also used important elements like gestures and music from the Orishas. As the choreographer I help my group member with parts of their dance. I tried to take some of the gesture that the professor showed in class and fit them to each role we were focusing on. Because our main argument was for people to begin to make a positive change in the benefit of our Earth, I decided to use Oxum’s gestures to call the “Rain God” at the end of our performance. She is the Orisha that has to do with water and beautiful thing, therefore it serve as symbol for our attempt to make thing better and conserving water. The one thing I would probably work on more is the walk before our performance. I felt that it was very simple and that we could have made it more fun and interesting. It was the part that most felt like a parade, therefore I felt that it could have been really improved.

I learned many things by taking this class. My only prior knowledge of Brazil was the scantily clad women dancing samba, or Carnival in Rio de Janeiro where everyone is jumping around. I thought it was very interesting how the Condomblé religion works and how they tell a whole story through dance. I was clearly incorrect in that dance can only be done for fun. I learned that we can use dance to make a statement. In a dance, every movement can have its own meaning that is relating a whole other concept. This was a very nice experience for me and I enjoyed working with my group memeber. I am really proud of what we were able to accomplised with our hard work.
Post Written by Sindy Gardea

"Keep, keep, keep it up..."

The theme we decided to use for our parade was water conservation. In the beginning we started with “going green” but after talking to Ryan about it we decided that the topic was too vast and decided to go for something a little specific thus we chose water conservation. At first our main focus was on water conservation at UCR. As we all have noticed there are several ways that UCR wastes water. The first thing that came to our minds when we thought about water wastage at UCR was the sprinklers that water the sidewalks more than the grass and are always broken. Another major wastage of water is the showers in the dorms, by having water efficient shower heads we could save a generous amount of water and money. As the group met more and more we started to drift away from just UCR and to water conservation in general.

Our parade consisted of three major parts; the walk, our 15 second solo, and the final rain dance. Then the most important part came in, making that all connect and make sense to the viewer who may not be familiar with this sort of parade or the Orishas. The most difficulty and disagreements were about how the walk should work; what movements we needed, how to synchronize everyone, how to not make the walk just a plain march and many others. When working with a group there are points where disagreements arise, but when compromises are made everything comes together. In the end everyone in the group worked hard and we reached a point where everyone was completely satisfied with the end results of this parade.

Our parade was organized into the good and bad of 5 things that we thought wasted the most water. They were: water bottles, car washes, drive way clean up, showers, and sprinklers. The order of these was decided by with wasted the least water to the most. Also each of these was paired with a person who represented a less wasteful alternative to each one. My part in this parade was as the good water bottle.

With the whole bottled water craze landfills are being filled with empty plastic water bottles that people do not recycle or re-use. In the parade we had the person that used plastic water bottles and the one who used a reusable one. My part was the one with the reusable water bottle. Each person had an Orisha and mine was Oxossi. I used his bow and arrow movements to hold my water bottle and moved my hands in a drinking motion. I also had circular movements to symbolize the water bottles. The trouble we came across with this was, with what dance we would best represent the reusable water bottle. So we decided that I carry only one bottle, a reusable one, and use Oxossi’s bow and arrow movement to represent me drinking the water.

The music used for each person reflected the part they had. For example, the bad shower used “Rubber Ducky” as her song to symbolize baths and the water wasted with those baths. For the bad car wash we used “Car Wash.” The props were the thing a person would use in each situation. Some examples of these are the hose used by the car washes, the reusable water bottle by the good water bottle, a broom for good driveway, and so on. We tried to use the least amount of props so that the parade and our solos were not dependent on the props but on the dances we did. The basic theme for costumes was that the people that represented the good wore green and the people representing the bad wore red. We decided on these because green is lowest level of water wastage and red is the highest. Along with the colors the costume designer came up with ideas for each theme in order to make it clear to the audience of what each person represented.

The first reaction to this assignment was shock, disbelief and distress. The thoughts running through my head were “oh gosh how is this going to work, how am I going to do this,” but when we got to figuring things out some of that anxiety started to disappear and it became enjoyable. After all the hard work and time put in, for the parade was a success. This parade was a very interesting experience for me because I never thought I would do something like this. It was interesting to know that the Orishas are not just used for parades in Brazil or only for the “normal” purposes; Orishas can actually be applied to our lives and the things we believe in. After the long practices, meetings and stress the result made it all worth it.

I found this course to be very interesting. We did things that I never thought I would in CHASS Connect or even in UCR. From Twitter to FriendFeed to dancing our butts off to the parade the course helped me learn more about a culture that was completely foreign to me. As a very bad dancer, I never could see myself dancing like I did for this class and the parade.

"....keep that water level up!"

Review by Avneet Gill

Parade Reflections

When I learned that I was going to be in a dance class for my spring quarter of college, I was very excited. Because I have taken part in the performing arts ever since I was a child, when I heard we were going to partake in a parade a jolt of nervousness and excitement came over me. I was nervous because we were going to come up with our own everything! Our own theme, moves, costumes, practice dates and times, and specific jobs. Usually, in previous years, one person, mainly the dance coach or teacher, is in charge of everything, but this time it was split. Some people were the choreographers, some were costume designers and we even had a “props person”. It worked out very well because although we didn’t know what to expect of our group members and our audience, everything turned out according to plan.
We chose water conservation as our theme. At first, it seemed like it was going to be overwhelming because we didn’t know in what direction to go in. But after the choreographers had some great ideas that seemed to go with our theme very well. I was assigned the role of a “bad water bottle”. In order to demonstrate how unfortunate it is to have disposable water bottles I played Ogum. Because he has a machete, and swings it around in a crazy manner, I used those movements with a water bottle in my hands. This demonstrated being wasteful with the water by moving my arms in the same machete-like movements and disposing of water bottles that are not completely empty. The music I used for my part was called “Skulls and Crossbones” from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean which was suggested by one of the group members. It reflected the havoc and craziness that was much needed for my part. Because our parade was set up as a dance off between the good and bad, my good counterpart who was played by Avneet, utilized a reusable water bottle to demonstrate conserving and using all the water that is allotted to you.
The costume designers decided to have the “bad” people wear red, and the “good” people wear green. The contrast of colors represented the severity of this issue. The red stood out as a bad harsh color and the green represented the more peaceful and calming conservation side. There were different props used in the parade which included water bottles, hoses, sponges, and even rubber duckies. These added to our parade and helped demonstrate our theme of water conservation.
When it comes to having group projects, I’m usually the one in charge because I cannot handle being told what to do or I worry too much about if the other people are completing their tasks. It was kind of hard to not to try to take over and make it my own. I think the people that were in charge of this project did a very good job of making sure that this project didn’t go down the drain. When I was in high school I was always on a dance team so I know all about eight counts and ripples and a little bit on how to explain how to do dance moves. This gave me a big advantage on learning the dance moves for our performance and this previously acquired knowledge also helped me put together my own routine for my solo part in the parade. I learned that sometimes it’s okay for other people to take over and manage things. Trust is the ultimate factor that holds me back. This performance is a major part of our grade in this class and at first I didn’t know if I could trust my group members to have the same seriousness I did about this situation. I was very lucky to be in a group that also thought failure was not an option and the entire group made the effort to make it their best.
Overall I was very satisfied with the parade and really the class as a whole. It was very interesting to learn about different dances in Brazil and which moves represent what. This class was a stress reliever; the dancing was fun and took my mind off of the pressures of college and a lot of other things that are going on in the world and in my life. I learned that sometimes it is good to let go and dance the stress away.
written by Arazely Montano


Although our group had its ups and downs being part of this great experience was certainly unforgettable. The performance consisted of Brazilian orixa dances which have been commonly practiced in the Afro-Brazilian communities in Brazil since the beginning of the colonial period. This tradition was brought over by the African slaves during the early 16th century as a way to keep their African roots and culture alive in the New World. Although our dance was not one of the most elaborate and well constructed it was with no doubt very interesting and relevant to our theme and subject-matter. Our dance consisted of ten oriza dances and even though most of our group used American music to dance and incorporate our theme into the parade, our dances dealt with the way the deities moved and what their moves actually represented. Orixa is the word for spirits that reflects ones manifestations in the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomble. Our parade intertwined Orixa movements with pop culture music and or movements. The theme of our project was water conservation and we used 5 different ways good and bad that we can either preserve water or show how much we are wasting it and how we are doing it.

Water conservation sis something that now-a-days is one of the greatest concerns dealt with in international meetings and gatherings by the superpowers and scientists. Water is the base of life and without enough water, we simply just could not live the way we would need to. In order to show how wasteful humans are, the group came up with five different ways to show how we waste water carelessly. One of the five is the waste of water while drinking water from a water bottle. Most of time, water left in a bottle, in other words, and a water bottle left unfinished is just tossed out or simply played around with especially during the summer. We incorporated the Orixa of Yemanja which has movements similar to the movements portrayed by the waves of the ocean and water in general. We not only performed the actions when water is being wasted but also found a way to include something we could do to try and stop being so wasteful. The second orixa dance was the dance of Ogum which was portrayed through the car wash section. The car wash is something that most people do; often leaving out the water hose running when in fact one could simply get a bucket of water and wash it step by step without wasting so much water. The third way people are so wasteful is the way people water their driveways. Driveways should definitely never be watered, why one should water the driveway when one can simply scoop up the dirt with a broom and/or mop and clean it then. There is no rightful reason to water the driveway when by the next morning, dirt, dust, leaves and other debris will be on it again.

The fourth way people are so water wasteful is by showering; showering usually takes no more than 15 minutes. 15 minutes is more than enough to rub all that dirt off of you. Although we can shower in about average 15 minutes, people shower for hours, playing with their toys, relaxing in the tub, etc. We portrayed this through using a rubber ducky while one showers while another person, the average person would take about 5 minutes showering and coming out quickly. Finally the last way people waste so much water is by using sprinklers. Sprinklers used to water the lawn, especially in UC Riverside create a dilemma. Although they are used to water the plants, many sprinklers here in UCR have gotten broken and by the time they are programmed to go off, they simply soot up or begin watering the cement rather than the plants and grass. So our theme is basically determining and trying to help out our society as well as trying to educate them and teaching them to use water carefully and wisely as well as moderately. The group consisted of 12 people, two leaders which eventually became the singers during the performance whom were Yaheema and her friend. Then came the people who portrayed the scenarios in a good and the bad way, which followed Aracely and Avneet. After then came Evelyn and Sindy for good and bad, then came Diana Jonathan and Depika, followed by Diana and Monique and finally Carol and I at the end of the parade followed by Noeh which was the rain God of Axe.

Our jobs were divided up into choreographer, person in charge of scheduling, props and costumes, photography and recording, director and assistant director and last but not least, the person in charge of the music. The music was my duty as a group member. I was told to find songs for each orixa dance to try to incorporate the song into the dance and the movements for the performance. I had to download songs in order to get them to work on the laptop. The songs used for the performance were, “car wash,” “smoke on the water”, two random orixa dance songs, “skull and crossbones”, “the clean up” song, the “rubber duckie” song, “samba de janeiro” and “mas que nada.” The music was finally mixed into one entire song and played over and over until finally combined with a Michael Jackson intermission which gave the next dancer a chance to step and get ready for their own dance following the dancers before them. Being part of this project helped me realize how badly we are wasting water without taking an instance to look back and determine what could happen if we really do lose water. The performance over all was lovely, I had never performed in something so special to me and not just to me but to the entire group. Water is something we must all treasure, as well as friendship and even though some of us had some arguments, we pulled out of it and kept working on something which had become all there was to our lives during these past few weeks. The performance as well as the class was fun, exciting and as hard to say, interesting. The professor and Ryan’s advice was truly helpful and without them we simply could just not have made it to the point of finishing the performance let alone having me write this evaluation. Keep! Keep! keep it up! Keep that water level up! As annoying as that sounds and sounded all those two weeks of hard work follow it and live up to it. Samba was out of the ordinary for me, if it was not for the CHASS connect class, I would just not have ever touched this dance or subject in my life.

posted by DAVID GARCIA


Looking back at the events of last week, and the weeks leading up to it, I believe that our group did an amazing job of interpreting our theme through dance. Our theme of course was water conservation. We chose this specific theme because it does not only affect one small group; it has an impact on the whole world. This idea was inspired by the commercials telling Californians to limit their use of water since our reserves are low. We constantly see people wasting water, and do it ourselves, but never stop to think of the repercussions. Through our performance, we hoped to bring awareness to this very important topic of water conservation.
For the performance, the group decided that the dance would revolve around the different aspects of water conservation. We wanted to demonstrate the good and the bad sides of water conservation. Therefore, for the performance, group members were split up into two opposing sides, one side representing how to conserve water and the other side showing how we constantly waste water. The group was lead by Yahema, and I trailed behind, representing the water levels.
The costumes of our groups consisted of different color shirts representing what side you were on. Red represented low water levels and green was for high water levels. In order for there to be some unity, we each wore a raindrop hat. The group had props that tied into what they were representing, such as water hoes, rubber ducks, and water bottles. We also carried rain sticks for us to keep up a rhythm. My costume consisted of a large water level clock. It represented the different states of water reserves that there are, and our need to start conserving water.
For the choreography, we wanted to integrate various amounts of gestures representing water. During the parade walk, our choreography consisted of us walking at a normal pace, and made hand gestures as though we were swimming, with a clap at the end. As we walked, we would chant “water” and “keep, keep, keep it up, keep that water level up” every time Yahema gave the signal. Once we got to the main performance area, we set up the same way in which we had walked. Yahema stood in the front, the opposing sides lined up next to each other and I stood in the back. The first part of the performance, Yahema and her friend sang a song that introduced the performances of the group members. Then it was time for each of the members “dance-off”. Each person would go up and perform a dance that represented their side of water conservation, or lack of. This included a good and bad way of washing your car, taking a shower, or watering your lawn. For the choreography of each dance, the performers tried to incorporate a variety of orixa dance moves that represented the idea they were trying to convey. During their own dance, each person had their own music selection playing in the background. While each person did their dance, the people standing in the lines did a sewing motion. This was a way of showing that we were weaving a story together. At the end, the group came together in a circle around me, and did a rain dance for the orixa Oxum.
Our group performance was great, but it does not mean that it was perfect. We did encounter many problems through the process. For one, it was hard getting everyone to meet up for practice. It was especially hard for me since I live off campus, which made it difficult for me to attend. Luckily for me, I had a wonderful group who would keep me updated. We also ran into problems with the music, and performance itself. After the test run, we realized it was too long. The group was able to work together and shorten it down by cutting down the music time. Despite all of these problems, the group was able to keep it all together and in the end, give an excellent performance.
As for myself, there is much that I learned during the process. At first, I was very opposed to having to do a performance. Being a rather shy person, who is not very outgoing, it was hard for me to come to terms with having to dance in front of others. I was in marching band, and I am used to being in parades, but it is very different when you are in a 12 member group, instead of a 100+ member group. I thought I would have a very hard time doing his performance, but once it happened, it was not as bas as I thought it would be. If we could continue this piece, I wish that I could have been more involved in the process. I would give some input into the group whenever I could, but like I said before, I was not able to attend most meetings since I live off campus. Other than that, it is thanks to my group, who was very understanding and helpful, that I got through this performance. I hope that everyone enjoyed watching our performance, just as much as I enjoyed being part of it, and that our message was clear. Save the water, save our world.
-Noe Soria

Parade Reflection and Analysis by Carol Aguilar

During the parade I did not know what feedback to expect from the audience. I was kind of relieved to hear them laugh and enjoy the music, as well as the dance that went along with it. As each one of my team members performed their solo, I began to get more confidence. Even though I always doubt myself in whatever I do, my motivation for this was to get a good grade and pass the class. However, I must admit that I had fun at the same time that I was feeling a little nervous.
I think that the symbolism put in for the dance worked out really well. The research with the different colors that represented the different level of severity was very effective. For my 15 seconds of fame solo, my God was Omolu. He spread small pox through random crazy movement. I spread water in different directions where it was unneeded. The arm movement interpreted the movement of the actual sprinkler shooting water. Since I was the bad sprinkler I watered where there was no grass and no sense of direction or watered too much and for a long time. We were trying to promote the conservation of water and preventing the misuse of whatever is left; perhaps Omolu would throw diseases like there was no more an so I threw water the same. Our explanation of water shortage prevention was effective in that we showed the different situations in which human beings waste water and gave a solution. Although, I think that maybe if the bad side had a longer solo than the good side instead of equal time, the scenario would have been more realistic. The sprinkler and the shower would take a long time letting the water run, while the solution is quick showers and water the lawn quickly also.
For my costume, as a bad side group we had to wear red shirt and props that told the story of the water shortage. While many of my peers had many props, my pros were just my hands. My hands represented the hand of the sprinkler that shoots water to the direction it points at. I thought that my song did not really fit my bad sprinkler script. I think that if I had a fast and low beat tune it would have suited me better. However, I thought that having a transition song in between the song of the next solo was a great idea, it helped us to know when each solos time was up so the next one would go. The transition move, the umbigada, signaled the partner that it was there turn. As our parade was kind of a battle between the good and the bad, the two people performing the solo had to look mean and determined that the way that they were doing it was the correct way. For the most part the bad side had to look down on the good side’s solo and I think that worked well. It kind of reminded me of the two conscious that cartoons describe as the two little people, one on each shoulder of the person deciding what to do. One side would have red attire and horns and the other white with a halo.
During the processes of creating our parade, I learned that I have become more open, both open-minded and brought ideas to the table. I think I also figured something about me, I think that I am very realistic. Many time we wanted to be extravagant but we must realized that we had a short amount of time and did not have the money either. Even though many of my peers did have a lot of great ideas, we have to see that the simpler we keep it the more meaning it has and easier it is for us to perform smoothly. Still, simple, it was created through a lot of thought.
After performing, I saw a commercial on TV where they were explaining water shortage and how to prevent it. I thought it was funny to see that it was the same basic idea and they had the same solos we had, the shower, the driveways and sprinklers. It was as if they went to see the parade and got the idea off of us.
I think that what I would suggest to do differently would be to have a story. Maybe have a person be the observer who is undecided of how to use water appropriately. Something like a dream, where the good and the bad perform for the observer and then the observer must pick one that is the correct way of using water. Then, the observer would wake up and follow that road of appropriately using water.
Overall, it was a great experience working through the process to have a successful parade. And do not forget to “Keep that water level up!”

Water Conservation is the way to go

Water conservation is an issue facing the people of California everyday, especially in parts of Southern California. In June 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency because water reservoir levels had reached an all time low. With that in mind my parade group, “Panda Panda”, decided to focus on water conservancy instead of the broader idea of “going green” because it was a great message to convey to the public. Deciding how we were going to portray the idea of water conservation however, was a long process.
Having to incorporate different elements from lectures and readings also proved to be a challenge because we didn’t know how to use different orixa dances and music while still portraying water conservation. The first step we took after deciding what topic we wanted to base our parade on was to assign different jobs to group members. The original job that I was assigned to was locations person. As locations person my job was to find a location to hold our parade in that was on campus and that would worked well with our theme. The location we finally decided on was the field by the A&I dorms, it had a clear open space, and it was big enough to hold our entire parade. We also chose it as our parade location because it had a dried up pond by it and we thought that would be a good representation on decreasing water levels. After we had the location of the parade selected, the choreographers met up to decide how to incorporate dances and different walks into our parade.

Deciding on how to arrange the parade was not as hard as other parts of the parade. We decided to divide the group into two different groups; one group would portray the good conservation methods while the opposing group would portray bad water conservation methods. We also decided on portraying 5 different water conservation methods: water bottles, car wash, cleaning driveways, showers, and sprinklers. Each different group portrayed either a good way to conserve water through these different methods or a bad method in which you waste water instead of conserving it.
Water levels in California are based on a colored chart that ranges from high water levels to extremely low levels of water. The colors in the chart are green, the highest level; yellow; orange; and red, which is the lowest level. Based on this our group decide that the good group would wear green costumes and the bad group would wear red costumes. The costumes were kept fairly simple with each pair of good and bad method having different props to distinct them from other groups. We also decided that we would all wear blue jeans to unify our group and headbands that displayed water drops to represent our theme.
The basis of our parade was a “dance off” between the good methods and the bad methods; each person had a ten to fifteen second solo where they would portray an orixa dance that represented either bad water conservation or good water conservation. Each person based their dance off of different orixa moves, many of those moves came from Oxum because she is the orixa that symbolizes fresh water. For example, the role that I played was a bad method of showering, where I would take my time in the shower and in the end waste water. So in my dance I performed the move that symbolized Oxum looking into the mirror because that represented me taking a long shower, looking in the mirror and singing to my rubber ducky. My costume consisted of a red shirt, blue jeans, a bathrobe, and of course, a rubber ducky. Each person also had a specific song clip that went along with their dance, in my case it was Sesame Street’s “Rubber Ducky” song, which is more slow paced song to go along with my elongated shower.
During the dance off, the two groups of good and bad methods were lined up side by side. The dance off started with one member of our group and her friend singing a song about water conservation and the different methods one can use to approach it. After that each pair performed their dance, starting off with the bad water conservation method in each case. The order in which each pair performed also had significance in our parade. We started off with the method that wasted the least amount of water, water bottles, then car washes, then driveway cleaning methods, showers, and lastly sprinklers which can waste many gallons of water in a day.

After the last pair performed we came together as a group and formed a circle and proceeded to perform a rain dance, which I personally enjoyed the most. The way our group entered and walked out of parade was the same walk; we formed two lines which consisted of the good and bad methods and would perform different hand gestures, swimming and clapping. To pump up onlookers as well as our group, different member would yell out sayings that would signal the group as a whole to yell out a cheer about water and water levels.
Looking back at our performance, I can say that all the time and effort that was put into it ended in a satisfying result and an overall great performance. In preparation for our final parade, our group met up several times during the week; either to practice dance routines or to go over costumes and props. Unfortunately it was that case that not every member was present in one meeting because of conflicting schedules. One thing that did change over the course of our preparation was that our parade was no longer going to take place in the original location that had been chosen. Instead a route around our classroom was laid out, and in return ended up changing my job as locations person. After the location of our parade changed, I started to help out the members in charge of props. Because we decide to perform a rain dance to finish off our parade, we were in need of rain sticks to make the appearance of the rain dance more realistic. I helped out the props people by making rain sticks for everyone in the group; making green ones for the good group and red rain sticks for the bad group. I personally think that this parade was an on-going learning experience because it not only taught me about the water conservation issues that face us everyday but it also taught me how to work better with others to pull off something as big as a parade. Being part of this group also taught me to overcome my nerves about performing in front of a crowd of people in a silly costume. Even though it took quiet awhile for everyone to come together and decide on the best dance moves, songs, and costumes, I believe that all our hard work paid off because we were able to pull off the parade and hopefully encouraged onlookers to consider better ways to conserve our water.

Reflections on a Parade by Evelynn Amabeoku

First Impressions
At first, the idea of being in a parade sent sensations of shock, anxiety, and utter disbelief when the syllabus was confirmed. Yet, several weeks later when “go” time approached, I was pumped, confident, and realizing that all of Panda’s hard work came down to this moment. Professor Anna B. Scott’s rendition of a parade was unlike anything I have ever experienced before and I was delighted by the finished product. To put it lightly, the end justified the means and we came a long way from Tuesday’s exasperating rehearsal. Just as I suspected, it took hard work, consistent effort, and a lot of communication to plan the intricate details of the parade.
Keep, Keep, Keep It Up
In the early stages of group discussion we had wanted to parade for UCR to “Go Green”, further brainstorming and consensus led us to promote conserving water. Water conservation is an important issue which is quite understated in Riverside right now. The current situation is in dire need of recognition which is why the Panda group chose to compare and contrast how we use water locally. This was demonstrated through the reenactment (dance-off) of the good and bad ways to utilize the diminishing water source in water bottles, carwashes, driveway cleaning, sprinklers for the lawn, and personal hygiene in the form of shower/bath. Everywhere I look, I see ways in which people waste water. For example, in my dorm’s lounge I see abandoned half-full/empty Aquafina bottles that no one bothers to take responsibility for and when I visit my cousin’s house I watch the never-ending trail of soapy water meander down the curb each Sunday when neighbors wash their cars. Call me OCD, but the sight and sound of a faucet that is not properly turned off bothers me to the point where I will spend time to find the spout’s “sweet-spot.” Since very few public announcements are made frequently enough to hold the attention of Californians, we wanted to make urge people to consciously use water in order to cut down the amount wasted.
Keep That Water Level Up
Our parade required participation from all our group members since we organized ourselves in set pairs. For the walk the group was arranged in to two lines and was headed by Yaheema and her friend and tailed by Noe. Yaheema set the pace of our procession during the parade and created an original introductory song for each of the Panda’s roles. The rest of us were split into two lines according to whether we represented the correct water usage or the wasteful usage. Noe was at the end of our two lines playing the water level meter with dial consisting of the four colors: red (lowest), orange, yellow, and green (high supply).
Costumes worn coincided with the members’ portrayal in the parade and were designed by Yaheema. She, her friend, and Noe put on blue shirts to signify water. The four members of the conserving water group donned green shirts for good correct usage and the other four (including myself) dressed in bright red shirts to show the spectators that we use water in a strikingly bad way. My shirt had black road strips painted on it because I played the role of the bad carwash. All of us donned water droplet head dresses to show our common need for water.
Music selections were varied and needed to convey the person’s assigned role in at least one way. I selected my song “Carwash” by Christina Aguilera and suggested the older version of the song for my good counterpart, Sindy, and gave it to the music director David. I also brought in my music collection for the group to sift through and ultimately contributed more songs such as “Smoke on the Water”, and “Skull and Crossbones”. Getting the music to playback proved frustrating, like during Tuesday’s run-through, and ultimately we utilized Garage Band.
Choreography consisted of four main parts: the walk, our fifteen seconds of fame, connecting the different parts together, and the final rain dance. Coming up with our parade walk was actually the part we spent the most time on and the source of much dispute. I worked with the choreographers to help organize and alter the walk until it achieved what we performed, our arms swimming through the needed water ending in a clap that I personally interpreted as a thunderclap . It kept changing because it was difficult to stay synchronized, rhythmically shake the rain sticks, balance props and keep up while shouting our chant “Keep, Keep, Keep it Up, Keep That Water Level Up” and the outbursts of “WAhh-TER” in response to Yaheema’s “whistle!” Next, came our individual time in the spotlight in a dance-off against the dancer who acted out the opposing use of water. I was the bad carwash and used a garden hose as a prop to illustrate how one would waste water by spraying a car haphazardly in an effort to clean it. We tried to incorporate specific orixá dances in to our parade; rather than staying true to the actual dance, my dance was inspired by the serpentine striking motions of Oxumaré and his/her natural role of carrying water from the sea to the sky so that rain forms. Periodically I pointed up to the heavens with the hose and back down to the earth to show this connection. My prop, at first, was difficult to work with because the hose was stiff and hard to maneuver gracefully, but eventually it loosened up and I could have fun with it. Additionally, a connecting move was needed to keep the group rhythm while each person performed his/her individual dance. I came up with the idea to use the sewing motion from the water associated orixá to tie the pieces together. The rain dance at the end was for Oxum to make it rain and replenish California’s water supply and we yelled “AXE” for the power of water. Many discussions arose about whether or not we should turn twice, and in which direction, and how many cycles, but when the entire Panda group got it together right, I got goosebumps of excitement and was so proud of the group for working together towards a common goal.
(Don’t?) Rain on My Parade
The challenges to pull this parade together were plenty, but I learned that I need some kind of control on projects because my group nominated me as group leader. When working in a group, you get out what you put in and I like to believe that I helped my members in anyway that they needed and motivated them to put in the effort. Success would be if we enlightened the UC Riverside campus about the limited fresh water sources in California and convinced them to conserve water. Additional excitement would have played out if our ending rain dance had brought rain down on our parade, but at least we had clouds!

Blog Final written by Evelynn Amabeoku

Water Conservation Write Up by Depika Narewatt

Water Works
“Keep, keep, keep it up! Keep that water level up!” Yes, indeed that was our theme, water conservation. At first we were planning on focusing entirely on the concept of “Going Green,” but Ryan told us that it was too broad and that we would have too much information to cover in a single parade. To be honest, I am not entirely sure how we stumbled upon our theme of water conversation; I just remember agreeing to it. When giving it some thought, I realized that it really did bother me how there were so many broken sprinklers just at UCR that did nothing but water the cement for hours and hours everyday. It took a while for the group to get started with everything, but once we began, we did not take any breaks until the final day of the performance.
We started by having several meeting. Most of them consisted of the choreographers, the musician, the props person, and our blogger/ video man. At the very first meeting we came up with the idea that the performance would be like a dance competition and we stuck to it. We wanted to present different scenarios that showed how water was being wasted and how one can prevent it from happening. The parade started off with a walk. Everyone walked in a line besides their partners while making a swimming notion with their hands and then bringing them together for a sync clap. We did this just to show one of the many ways we use water in our lives, by swimming. While we walked, every now and then I would shot out, “Keep, keep, keep it up!” The group would follow by saying, “Keep that water level up!” This is where the research part of the project came in. Carol looked up that there were different levels of water and various colors that represent how much water we had. Red means that we are in a drought, and green meant that we were doing well and had plenty of water. We wanted the water level to stay up (meaning green on the charts) so that is what we were shouting to keep it up. Also Yaheema would shout “Whistle” and the group would reply by saying “Wa-ter.” This was done simply to get everyone excited.
The parade started of with Yaheema and her friend singing about ways to conserve water, while introducing the five water scenarios at the same time. The first two people to perform were Arzely and Avneet. Their topic was water bottles. Arzley acted like the devil because she drank out of multiple plastic water bottles while wasting away half of the water in them and tossing them to the ground when she was done. She danced like Ogum throughout her performance. Avneet was the like the angel who drank out of just one reusable water bottle while dancing like Yemanja. The next couple was Evelyn and Sindy and their topic was car wash. Evelyn was the bad car washer who used a hose and wasted gallons of waters just to clean a vehicle. Sindy on the other hand used just a pail and sponge to clean the car. They danced like Lansa and Oxumare during the performance. Next, came Jonathan and I and our topic was cleaning driveways. Jonathon used a hose to get rid of the leaves while I used a broom and a bag. Our dances consisted of moves from Oxumare and Nana. After us, came Monique and Diana and they showed different ways of taking showers while mimicking the dance moves of Oshum. Diana took a very slow shower while dancing away with her rubber ducky, while Monique showered very quickly. Lastly, came David and Carol and their topic was water sprinklers. David danced like Xongo while acting like a very good sprinkler who watered the grass appropriately. Carol, on the other hand, was an example of a broken sprinkler who watered everything, but the grass. She danced like Omulu throughout her performance. The performance ended up with the entire group doing the rain dance, while shaking their rain sticks (made by Diana). We were attempting to call the Orisha that most related to water, Oxum, so that she would help “keep, keep, keep the water level up!”
As for the music, I helped David and Jonathon come up with a track list. We had decided to give everyone his or her own song; after all, it was a dance off. Some of the songs related to water such as “Smoke on the Water, “ but most of them were just what we felt sounded right and went with the particular dances. At first, this gave us problem because we had single tracks and we were confused as to how to turn it into just one piece. I came up with the idea of have a transition sound in between each track and eventually we just used Apple’s wonderful feature Garage Band to turn it into one track.
The costumes for our parade were quite simple. Yaheema and Carol were in charge and they decided to give the water conservationists green shirts. According to the scale, that is the color and level that we should be at when water is being saved. The water wasters wore red shirts because that is the worst level to be on, meaning that water is not being used as it should be. Each particular shirt had something special on it, relating it to each person’s individual topic. I decided to sew leaves on to my shirt because I was supposed to be raking leaves in my scenario. Also everyone was to wear blue jeans as well as a raindrop on their heads. This was just so that we looked somewhat in uniform.
Since I decided to take the leadership role in the group, it seemed to me as if we encountered many problems. If everything was not as close to perfect as it could be, something was wrong. We were and did focus on our theme of water conservation a lot and I felt like it was well presented. It was shown through our walk, parade, costumes, props, and even some of the music. However, the group came across quite a few other problems. Like mentioned before, we were having a hard time figuring out how to make multiple tracks into one, then we could not decided on one particular walk, but probably the biggest and most annoying problem was getting everyone together. I took it upon myself to give everyone multiple phone calls a day to meet up and many times members of the group did not show, making it difficult to get work done.
It was not an easy task to guide twelve-college-students everyday for two weeks, but I am very proud to say that I did. This project for me was more than just a parade. It gave me an opportunity to do something I love and that is to be apart of something while directing it. It became my baby for a while. Honestly, sometimes I feel like I have a lot of time on my hands and it gave me something to do and worry about. I am not a shy person and I do not mind getting up in front of a crowd, so it only helped me better my performance skills. Also there is the education part of it. I learned so much about this whole other culture that believes in multiple Gods, just like my culture, Hinduism. I also learned many different dances that were done by the Orisha, my main focus being on Nana. I learned how do dance like a hunched over old lady racking leaves and it was quite enjoyable. Also I learned that not everyone is going to act like a team player, I learned that when taking the authoritative role, one will not be liked by all members for various reasons. I learned to just “suck it up” and do what needed to be done. Lastly, I learned about the topic of water conservation. I do admit that the broken water sprinklers were bothering me, but that was pretty much it. I never thought about half drunken water bottles or hosing down driveways. It is funny because as soon as I started working on this project, I became concerned about the amount of water I was wasting. When I now wash dishes, I do not let the water run. It is just one more way to Keep, keep, keep it up!
By: Depika Narewatt

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hurray...Water Conservation!!!

by Yaheema Alfonso

My group’s parade, I feel was a total success. My group, Panda, worked extremely hard trying to make our parade the best parade it could have possibly been. I am extremely happy with the finished product of the parade. All of us worked so hard, and it showed in the end.
The main theme of our parade was “Go Green!”, however with a little more depth; the main theme was then specifically transformed into the crucial problem affecting our planet, especially the city of Riverside, Water Conservation. To represent are theme of water conservation, my group members became characters, characters that personified the variations of water shortages facing our world. The different characters represented in our parade were water bottles, driveways, car washes, showers, and water sprinklers. We used these different scenarios because they each contribute to water shortage conflict. For instance, the representation of the water bottle was used because many choose to leave their water bottles half full, and do not recycle. The shower representation was used because it depicted many who refute to take quick showers, therefore, waste water that could have been beneficial in another instant. The water sprinkler was represented through one of my group members to depict the thousands who waste water by leaving their water sprinklers on longer than what is necessary. The driveway and car wash almost had the same setup, washing your car for an unnecessary amount of time, yet the storyline behind the representation was particularly different. Each water conservation character had a story, and each character shared either the bad or the good outlook on water conservation. For example, the bad aspect for the representation of showering was depicting the population who choose to waste water by taking unbelievably long showers. For the water bottle the bad interpretation was not recycling and not finishing up the water, and the good interpretation was drinking up all of the water and recycling the bottle.
All the water conservation characters were categorized with a specific Orisha that they felt would represent their character the best. For example, one of the shower characters used the orisha “Yemanja” to depict her role. One of the driveways used the orisha god “Nana” to depict her scenario. The list goes on and on from then. Each water conservation dancer had fifteen seconds to do their little jig. When the fifteen seconds were over, a transition song played, and the opposing character or the next group of characters performed their routine. I did not really have a routine. I, with the help of my friend basically introduced my group’s parade with a couple of short songs that introduced all the characters in our water conservation parade. It was a cute introduction in my opinion, very subtle, yet an attention grabber. However, the original plan for the parade was to sing each specific characters introduction song before they performed, one by one. Unfortunately, our parade went a little over the six minutes, so the introduction song had to be shortened. My friend and I in order to make the introduction song shorter compiled all the different lyrics together, and sang everything in the beginning. When my group members knew that my friend and I were singing their characters part, they swayed their hands with their part of the song, to demonstrate the role they played in the parade, as it may have not been distinctly obvious. Once the short introduction was done, the dancing began. The first dancers up were the two water bottle representations, followed by the car wash characters, the driveway, the shower, and finally the sprinklers. Once all the water conservation characters were done with their individual dances, all of us moved into a circle with the transition song playing in the background. We ended with a rain dance in the honor of the Orisha “Oxum”, the deity that provides rain. All the group members gathered up in a circle, lifted our arms, and began to sway to the right. While we swayed to the right, we moved our hands in a wavy motion, very graceful in fact. At the count of eight, one of the group members yelled “Eh!” and we all did two turns, with the fast tempo. We would sway to the right, then again at the count of eight, the group member yelled “Eh!” and the two turns proceeded. After the two turns, all the group members piled into the middle of the circle, shook are rain sticks, and yelled “Axe!” at the count of three.
Aside from creating the song lyrics, I also designed the costumes for the parade. Since our theme was Water Conservation, the shirts each person wore were either green to depict the good volume of water conservation, or red to express the severity of each water characters situation. Aside from the shirts, all the group members wore little head-dresses of a water drop attached to a blue streamer. The head-dresses, although they were cute, were also a problem. Not a huge problem, but it was tiresome. Some of the head-dresses fit some of my group member a little too big, or a little too small. So I would have to cut new pieces of streamer, and re-attach the water drop onto the new streamer bands. The process was a bit tiresome; however it was all worth it, because the outcome was exceptional.
I feel that my groups’ parade turned out extremely well. I believe that all of us gave it our all, and showed so much energy and dedication for the performance. We each incorporated a little bit of our flavor to produce a parade that was based on a matter that is affecting our nation today, water shortage. If I could do this assignment again, I would absolutely do it with no hesitation. Performing was so much fun. When we would practice during the week, I remembered feeling embarrassed, because of the looks we would get. Yet, once the big day came, the inner-diva came out, and the energy was there. I embraced the looks and performed all the way. The parade aside from it being an assignment was also a great experience. A lot was learned, and memories were cherished.

Water Conservation!!!!

The theme that we chose to do our performance on was “water conservation”. We chose this because we believe that this topic is a very interesting and important topic to talk about. Everyday lots of water is wasted, here in school you can see sprinklers around the dorms for example at the dorms, Pentland Hills the sprinklers go on twice during the day, watering the sidewalk instead of the grass, and over half of them are broken wasting dozens gallons of water.
For our actual performance, I believe that we did a successful job in demonstrating our topic to the public. We set all of the scenarios in two different rows, one being the bad way of performing a task, and the other that shows the alternate way that we should perform what we usually do. For my part, which was about watering a driveway, I was portraying what people do for instance using a hose to wash down a driveway. My opponent/partner on the other hand used a broom to demonstrate the alternate way that we should clean a driveway to reduce the waste of water. We demonstrated how low the actually water reserve level is by the colorful clock in the back, green was for the safe zone, yellow and orange for moderate, and red for critical low water levels.
For choreography, the only things that we shared in common with each other were the walk, and the ending which was the calling of the rain god. Then during the actual dance, we all had out own “15 seconds of fame” we called it which was where we would dance to our own music at our own dance moves that we individually created. Choreography was divided in two; one was where the main choreographers helped out in creating the walk and dance, while the other part of the choreography was where we would have to create our own.
Music was a little different than the choreography in the way that it is a little bit more difficult to demonstrate what you’re trying to demonstrate. For some of the dances it was obvious what we were trying to demonstrate such as for good and bad carwashes and the bad shower by taking her sweet time with a rubber duck. But for the majority of the other members including myself, it was pretty difficult to find a song suitable so instead we went with how the song sounded. If the song was peaceful and slow, we would direct it towards the good side whereas if the song is fast and loud, we would consider that to be a bad one.
Some of the gestures that we incorporated with our parade were during the walk, by making our hands go in a swimming motion to demonstrate that our parade involved water. Along with this gesture we made up chants that Depika would scream out loud “keep keep keep it up” and everyone else would scream out “keep that water level up” which related to the “color level clock” that demonstrates what current level we are on, which right now is relatively low. Another chant that we had was one much simpler which just consisted of the word “wa-ter” just to show what we were all about
The costumes that we wore were created by Yaheema, and Carol. They each either attached or painted some type of symbol to our shirts. The left row consisted of the bad ways to do stuff, wearing red. The right side consisted of the rather better alternate way to do something, which wore an environmentally “friendly” color green. For my shirt, bad driveway my shirt had tire tracks and real tire marks to make it seem like a driveway, along with cooking oil spots to make it seem real. We also used different types of props. For my part I used a hose to represent the watering of a driveway and to incorporate an orixa, Oxumare, who is the serpent orixa. During our call for the rain god, we all had props which were “rain sticks” that assisted in helping call out the water god and make us seem all unified.
As the blogger and camera conductor, I created the blog where all these write ups will be posted. Created a new post where the deities write-ups will be left at the bottom and all the reports will come up on top of the other stuff. I videotaped all the meetings so those who absolutely could not attend the meetings could catch up on what we did by posting the videos on YouTube and forwarding them through friend feed in our “PandaPanda” group.
At the beginning of the class I thought that Orixas were silly myths from the past and people just danced to them. As we kept going on in the course, I learned that they are deities of religions. There are several interesting Orixas, Iemanja and Oxumare I would say are the two that grasped my attention the most.
If I was to be able to work on this some most I would like to work on the whole walking part. We spent two whole practice days trying to come up with a walk rather than our simple “swimming motion” walk but we simply could not get it working. We would concentrate too much on our hand movements or shaking of rain sticks that the steps would not be coordinated with each other. I would have liked having a better organized walk but I guess that takes much more time than we had with just a couple of weeks to come up with it.
During this fascinating group project I learned that it is pretty difficult to work as a group and make something look good. Being my first college project I noticed that the biggest conflict would be working with different schedules, people being late or not showing up at all. I noticed something that at the beginning I thought I was not going to do. At first I told myself “I’ am not doing that” but in the end, I learned not to be embarrassed, I gave it all I could and did not care of what people around me would say or do because if we were doing it all as a group, there is nothing to be scared about because you are not the only one standing out, it is a whole group behind you.

Parade Blog Write Up

Overall, I felt that our finished parade turned out great, and that all of our hard work paided off in the end. The main theme of our parade was "go green", but the specific focus was on water conservation. We tried to incorporate a different orixa for each individual dance. For our parade dance, we wanted to show the good and bad sides of water conservation. The bad side represented the water being wasted while doing various activities, and the good side represented the various ways to use less water. The different activities that we used in are parade to show the different sides of using water were: showering, using water bottles, cleaning the driveway, watering the lawn with sprinklers, and washing the car. I was the good shower, and my dance showed someone who was taking a quick shower, whereas the bad shower was showing someone who takes long showers or baths which use more water. The sprinklers showed good sprinklers that just water the grass, and bad sprinklers that water the grass along with the sidewalk and other places that are not supposed to get wet. The good car wash washed the car only using the water needed, where the bad car wash is washing the car but using water to do other things that would use more water than needed. We also addressed the water used to clean the driveway which symbolized the bad driveway, in which the good driveway was someone who cleaned the driveway with a broom. The bad water bottle symbolized someone drinking from a water bottle and not finishing the whole bottle, but throwing the water bottle away wasting water in general. The good water bottle was someone who uses a reusable water bottle. Each person got fifteen seconds to do a dance to represent their side. For my dance I incorporated some gestures from Oshun to show water. My dance was really fast pace because I had to be showing someone who is taking a fast shower, therefore saving water. The music was one of the big challenges we had because we started off with eleven different songs. Since each person had something different to dance about, along with the fact that some peoples dances were more slow and peaceful, while others dance were more upbeat and fast paced everybody needed their own song to best present their dance. The rehearsal for the parade on Tuesday, caught us by surprise because we were going to have someone carrying a boom box controlling the music. Since, we weren’t using our own person to control the music; we encountered some problems because everybody had their own song which meant that we had special directions for how each person was going to transition. During our rehearsal we also learned that our parade was over the time limit, but we figured it was because we had to keep stopping to adjust the music. The person who was in charge of the music, along with other people condensed the music into one song which made the time shorter and the control easier. They also added a transition song in between each main song so everyone could be aware that there was going to be a change in dancers. The music really came together in the end, and the person in charge of the music did a really good job because the music was a difficult task. We also had problems coming up with a walk that we could all be in synced throughout the whole dance. We started off with an eight count, where we would do spins and make wave like movements with are hands, but we had problems staying together. The problem mostly came from people spinning at different times, and doing the wave movements at different times. We noticed during the rehearsal that we were really out of sync with each other, so we decided to change the whole walk. The walk that we ended up with for the final was a swim like motion with a clap at the end, so if everybody clapped at the same time we knew that we had the same beat. We felt that walk would be better for us because it was something that was simple and most importantly everyone could stay together. To add to our walk, we also had some chants about water to bring our walk more to life. One of the chants we had was “keep keep keep it up, keep that water level up”. One of my responsibilities was to make a water reserve level clock for one of my group members to wear. The colors that were on the water reserve level clock were green being the best, yellow and orange in between, and red being the worst. With California’s level being on the brink of red, we used the chant to keep the water level up to show how we need to get the water level to go up towards green. Since green and red were the primary colors, the good people wore green and the bad people wore red. Every person had their own special detail on each of their shirts, but the green and red shirts gave us unity. The narrators for the parade wore blue shirts, so the three main colors were blue, green, and red. The whole experience was great because our end parade came out really good despite the many obstacles we faced. I actually realized more that the way I use water would fall under the bad side, so I have to improve the way I use water. I felt that I personally gained a little more confidence because in the beginning I was overly shy about dancing in front of people. By the time of the final parade, I think I was not as self conscious about doing my dance. I think our parade got a good response because I noticed a few people laughing at the music that went along with our dances. Looking back at the parade, I really had a lot of fun, and I could honestly do it all over again.