Thursday, June 11, 2009

"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

1 comment:

  1. Avneet, Congrats on conquering your fear! Doing a an old thing (taking class) in a completely new way (using social media, dancing and putting on a show) is usually a major challenge, but very exciting. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself.

    Your group had a lot of reworking to get done and managed a good deal of it, but a lot of the ideas that I am reading in these write ups were not clear in performance. This is due to a lack of enough rehearsal and discussion. Big ideas take a LOT of time to distill into a coherent performance. I wish you guys had managed to work a bit longer on the piece. That way, when you came to my office, I would have been able to give more useful feedback. There were a lot of big general ideas, so you got general comments. So sorry!

    Your writing is clear; your excitement shines through. Keep it up!
    parade: √