Thursday, 18 August 2011

Life after Rag

(Yes, this post is way overdue given that Rag ended more than a week ago but getting my life back in order took some time. Better late than never =D)

So yes, Rag is finally over. Brief history for those who do not know what Rag is. Rag, which stands for 'Receive and Give', is Chingay-like parade which is held by NUS every year in conjunction with Flag Day. So basically every faculty and hall will build a float and put up a dance performance. For the School of Computing, I was given the task of being the dance choreographer, tasked with choreographing the performance and overseeing the teaching and execution of the item. I should have you know that prior to this, I have never choreographed a full performance (my only choreographing experience being a 2 minute item which eventually got scrapped) and now I was tasked with putting together a 6 minute performance, which is considered uber long by dance performance standards.

The whole choreographing journey started at the beginning of the year when the first design of the float came out. The main reason why I had to wait till the initial float design to come out was because we wanted to ensure that the float and the dance to complement each other (which was not quite the case for last year's rag when the float was an armoured whale and the dance was about war and peace...). So with float design in mind, I went about roughly sketching out the rough storyline and specific effects and moments I wanted in the dance. After that was done, the dance was left to sit at the back of my head till May >.<

May arrives. I start fleshing out all the filler bits and I finally have an idea of how many dancers I have to work with after our recruitment drive during the Freshman Orientation Camp (our main source of manpower). After that, the rest was history. The next three months was essentially just teaching, training and cleaning up till show day alongside National Day.

Of course, to leave those three months at just that would not do justice to the hell of a journey those three months were. I had one dancer tell me he got chicken pox a month before show. My lead dancer gave me the scare of my life when she was suspected to have appendicitis just 2 days before showtime (luckily of course, it turned out to be a false alarm and she performed). Tempers flared as my freshies were torn between Rag commitments and orientation, made only worse by the fact that I had some dancers go missing for weeks on end and come back like nothing happened. If my stress levels were plotted against time till performance, it'll be an exponential curve hitting infinity as time left tends to 0.

Despite all the sleep-deprived nights and all the loss of what little hair I have left, I do not regret being a part of this epic journey. In spite of the numerous failed stunts and dropped steps during showtime, I still believe that we managed to put up a show that we can be proud of and at the end of it all, I believe that's what matters most. For me at very least, I have learnt A LOT from being this year's Rag choreographer, things that I would never have been exposed to otherwise, like cheerleading =P

Videos of SoC Rag 2011:-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osvRSVY873I ('official' video)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjHLwzW2y-M&feature=share (audience video 1)
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150254339070814&comments (audience video 2)

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