Professor Anna Scott
The team that I was a part of was named Brazil, and we decided our theme would be pro-immigration. Throughout our performance, we incorporated many Orishas and their respective movements when we believed they would help emphasize the statement or experience we were trying to enact. We all took an active role in our group, and each of us was in charge of things such as choreography, music, costumes, props, and in my case, I was the director. With each of our roles in the team, we included elements that supported out theme throughout our presentation. For this reason, I believe our theme was successfully interrogated by our performance.
The choreography was the most important element in our performance because it made our theme of pro-immigration clear but also told a story. In our presentation, we included Orishas such as Omolu and Lemanja. At the beginning of our performance, the guys in our group moved their arms to represent machetes and walked off before the girls, to represent them leaving and working. The girls, who began walking afterwards, began sewing, a gesture of Lemanja, to represent them working back home. When we got to the pavement, we began chanting “immigrants united for justice” and we began swinging our arms and walking in a single file. We incorporated movements like mirrors, by using our hands, because this symbolized what the immigrants are at the moment and what they dream of becoming in the future. We decided to include a “border” created by Yesenia and I, and this was one of the most symbolic elements in our performance. This was when the immigrants would actually cross and we incorporated gestures of Omolu, to represent sunburns. People were not allowed to pass and left behind, but they returned to try crossing again. Their determination allowed them to cross and when everybody reached the other side, we had a type of “celebration”. During the party, we included props and whistles just like in Brazilian carnivals.
The music was perfect for our performance because it was Brazilian music and it complemented our performance as we had timed it. When we did not have music, such as in the beginning, we used whistles and one of our team members brought a wooden instrument. We also incorporated the whistles because they were used several times in our song. We also used a chant, “immigrants united for justice” to represent immigrants struggling for their rights and against injustices, such as discrimination.
For our costumes, we used the color white, which we took stand for neutrality and peace. We wanted to wear white as a peaceful color because some types of people take a defensive stance against immigrants or scorn them. We also wore plain jeans, tennis shoes, and colorful beads, which are used in carnivals.
Throughout this process, I learned quite a lot about myself. When we formed a group, I was not sure what job or role I wanted to have in this team. However, as time went by I decided I wanted to become the director, which surprised me. Part of the reason for my decision was that I care immensely about my grades and I knew that I wanted to do an excellent job. Usually, I am not the leader type of person, but I decided to give myself a chance. I feel that being the director was the perfect job because I felt a need to come out of my shell, and I did. I openly expressed my ideas, I felt I had a responsibility in my team, and I definetly grew more confident. I also had a chance to know the people in my group even better and I gained great friends. I also learned to appreciate the class and lessons even more because we had to apply them to our performance.
If we were to continue with the piece, there are a few things I would add. We changed our performance quite a lot, but only because we felt it would improve our performance. I think I would definitely have timed it a bit more and I would have included face paint or other things used in carnivals. Overall, I believe we did a good job because we put a lot of creativity and effort into our performance .
By applying the course material, I think I grew to understand it even more. We had to understand it in order to apply it and be precise in doing so. What I learned is that the gestures of Orishas are very important and its best if they are applied to circumstances relevant to them. I definitely learned to appreciate it more because I had never heard of Orishas before. Learning about the stories and gestures made me gain a better understanding of all this information that I think would not have been possible if I had not gotten an opportunity to perform them.
In conclusion, I believe our theme was successfully interrogated by our performance. I enjoyed learning about new cultures, religions, and ideas, and being a part of this class was a great experience. At the beginning, I was a bit hesitant about being a part of this class because I am not the best dancer. However, this class showed me there was nothing wrong with trying new and different things. In conclusion, this class has been a great experience which allowed me to express myself through dance by using movements and gestures.