It has been about a week and half since Rangeela performance night happened. It was an exciting and bittersweet moment for the two-night performance. It was the last time my co-leaders and I were able to perform in Rangeela's Philippines Act. However, even with these emotions, there was so much excitement to perform for Calvin's community.
What is Rangeela?
The word rangeela is Hindi for colorful. The idea of colorful truly defines what Rangeela is at Calvin. The different countries that international students are from are being represented in Rangeela. The different acts (or countries) show a part of their culture for the Calvin community to learn from. Rangeela is important for international students because it allows them to show their culture and also because Rangeela becomes a safe haven for them. It is a moment where they feel like people are more accepting and loving of who they are and their culture. This colorful celebration becomes a statement to address the cultural differences at Calvin College.
Many people do not realize the importance of Rangeela to international students and to Calvin's community. It is a time where students can feel safe and have a moment to express their culture without any judgement. It is an important to show others that their culture is different. Rangeela is also a learning time for the performers who are not from that culture and also for the audience, as it is filled with story telling, dances, music and amazing costumes. In reality it is about showing someone's culture in a bold, exciting and powerful way.
Leading while being GONE
Rangeela this year has been different in comparison to the past three years of Rangeela. This year, I got the chance to be co-leaders with my friends Grace Jung and Roselle Landoy. It was different for me being a leader while I was in Jamaica over interim. Most of the practices happened during interim. As a leader who was gone for most of interim, it was a little bit hard. I did not have Internet to continually communicate with the other leaders, but I trusted that everything was going to work fine for them. The other two amazing leaders were in charge of the choreography and other logistics involved in Rangeela. The truth: being gone was nice, but unhelpful. It was nice because I did not have to worry about the stress that was happening during practices and also I got small updates from Grace and Roselle. The hard, unhelpful part about being gone was when they tried to communicate to me, I was not always available during the time they need me. The Internet access in Jamaica was very limited. Even though the Internet access was limited, it was still good to hear from the both of them about the progress of the Philippines Act.
Being back as a Leader
My return to the cold weather of Michigan brought in all the things I needed to get done while I was gone. As a leader, my focus for the Philippines act is costumes. I did not know what I was getting myself into when I signed up on making the costumes. Luckily, even though I was gone, Roselle took the initiative on choosing colors and choosing the fabric. I actually did not know what she was envisioning from the beginning, which made it hard at first. Although that was the case at first, once she talked me through what it should look like I knew what I needed to do. The reality of it, I only made the women's skirts, which is NOTHING in comparison to what Grace and Roselle had done for the Philippines Act.
During practices, my role was figuring out the women's skirts. Because I was gone the whole interim, I did not have to worry about doing the dances that the members had to memorize. The first day of practice I was in was during interim break, no one was there. It was break so it was understandable. The bad thing about that day was the fact that the Rangeela committee was seeing the progress of the Philippines Act. During the "audition" (the time the Rangeela committee came to watch), the committee only saw lack of progress from the Philippines Act. That was not the case at all, because many of members were gone for break, as they should be. The other days of practices, I measured the girls to help form the costumes. I pretty much worked on the costumes until the week of Rangeela performance. It was probably the most stressful part about being a Rangeela leader. I didn't think I would be stressed about it. The part that matters the most was the fact that I got it done!
I cannot thank enough the co-leaders I had who worked so hard to make the Philippines Act amazing this year. They have been understanding about me being gone, but most importantly filled with so much heart and talent that truly showed a small glimpse of Filipino culture. The show would not be the same without their leadership! I love them with ALL my heart! Thank you Grace and Roselle.
And of course, the act members who made the Philippines Act filled with so much love and laughter truly helped me love Rangeela even more. They are so fun to be with and I enjoy being a big brother to many of the younger members. I LOVE them with all my heart as well! Thank you, Philippines Act! You made Rangeela one of a kind this year!