By Vicky Wang '20
Before ascending the central platform in the Cathedral, I had to take a deep breath. The
music director had received the wrong music file, and, using a microphone, Mr. Angelov had to
play the music from my phone, which initially refused to download the music. It was a morning
of panic and anxiety; yet, I managed to perform my piece without a hint of nervousness on my
face. Although the performance was a success, it was not until after multiple rehearsals and re-
choreographing about a quarter of the piece that I actually felt ready to present. Preparation is
inevitable, but what I found the most difficult was the dance form itself. Classical Chinese dance
is a tricky dance form for me. I have had training in modern dance in the past; however, that did
not prove to be enough when Mr. Angelov asked me to perform a Chinese traditional piece in the
2018 Dance Gala. I was a blank slate—I had no knowledge of Chinese traditional dance, even
though I am Chinese; I had to start from scratch and learn through watching professionals dance.
I eventually settled on a choreography that used Chinese traditional silk fans, and I asked my
dance instructor for advice regarding movements and facial expressions. The learning process
was strenuous, and blocking the piece was difficult, as I was to perform the dance as a solo.
Adding to the list of complications were the high expectations that I had set for myself. Since
Chinese dance represents my culture, I knew I had to put forth my best performance. Performing
the same piece at the Cathedral was a bit reassuring, as I had already presented the it in front of a
large audience at Trapier theater. Truth to be told, it was a very different feel to perform in the
Cathedral, even though it was a rewarding experience. Overall, I found the never-ending cycle of
rehearsing, choreographing, and blocking to be oddly satisfying, as it allowed me to become both
a more professional dancer, and more attentive to the way in which my presentation would be
received by the audience.