Auditions were held in March in which we performed our piece in front of a set of panelists that had learned about our culture and type of dance before watching us. I was surprised at the level of expertise that was shown and how real their interest about dance was. This was the first time I had auditioned with Sahiyar for an event and so none of us really knew what to expect. Compared to all our previous performances at CCF, the venue and staff were highly professional and it was a great experience. We were even given our own dressing room! It was a great experience to have and by the end of it, I had lots of fun and enjoyed performing in front of a different type of crowd. When we heard news of us being accepted into the festival I was really excited and looked forward to it.
We got to perform our piece over 5 times during Weekend 4 of the festival. It started off with the tech rehearsal on Thursday. We were walking down the streets of San Francisco in all black and it surprised me that nobody even looked twice at us. It was really great to see what exactly a tech rehearsal was and meet all the people that were working behind the scenes to making our dance look amazing! We walked through each and every one of our formations and figured out our positions. This was something we never had the luxury to do. The lighting was adjusted so that our piece was put in the best light possible (pun intended). Even the equipment they used was all fancy.
Friday was our dress rehearsal day. It was the only day we got to see the other acts as part of the audience so I was really excited! We also had to dress in full costume so everything would be practiced just as it would be like on the actual show days. Meeting the other dancers from other cultures was probably one of the highlights of the weekend. Everyone was kind and showed support and interest for one another. It was a wonderful environment and I loved meeting everyone. And of course, lets not forget usher... I met USHER! :) I found it really great that everyone got along very well despite their age differences and levels of professionalism.
Saturday began with our first official show! The crowd was very supportive after we finished our performance and backstage, the other dancers showed encouragement as well. It was a welcoming atmosphere and fun to be a part of. However, One of my most favorite parts of the show was the final bow, which consisted of all the dancers of all cultures on the stage dancing to their hearts content to one rhythm. It was a free for all type of dance as we exited the theatre with our own dance moves and gathered outside in front of the busy streets of San Francisco. Eventually our mess of dances created a giant multicultural circle which circled around a dancer featured in the center. We were copying each others dance moves and just essentially "letting loose." It was so much fun to dance with other people without restriction.
I have to say, my favorite performance would have to be from the Lily Cai Dance Company. The way the dancers moved around the stage was flawless. They jumped and leaped with long colored silk ribbons flowing behind them. The lighting affects also did wonders to their dance. It was gorgeous and by far one of the best dances in the show.
Unfortunately, Sunday was our last show and I was disappointed that their weren't more. In the future, I hope there are many more experiences such as these. I really enjoyed our time at EDF and I left the place with more memories and better friendships. I want to thank my dance teachers Reena didi and Heena auntie for giving us this wonderful opportunity that we will remember for the rest of our lives. Without them there would be no dance, no fun, and no second family. We all love you and thanks for giving up your time and energy into Sahiyar. Definitely looking forward to all that's planned for next year!