Jack HooverMonday, April 10, 2023
Last week during Activities period, Mandarin teachers Xiaojun Ma and Michelle Yan and their students treated Altamont to something new: a fashion show featuring traditional Chinese styles mainly from the Han and Qin dynasties.
My favorite act, a kung fu fan show, was the first. I found the fan dancing by the Mandarin students quite entertaining, but even more impressive because they performed the longest. I was surprised by how well they remembered the complex choreography and steps of the dances. Furthermore, some of the movements they were doing required a lot of flexibility. Also, the loud popping noise of the fans opening was excellent and woke up any sleepers in the crowd.
The second act, highlighting the Han dynasty, and the third act, featuring the Tang dynasty, were great. But to be honest, the fourth act, which featured different ethnic groups' fashions, was by no means bad but was my least favorite. I didn't think it fit the tone and mood of the other acts and wasn't quite as polished. I found the timing in the dancing was off compared to the other acts, but that might've been partly due to dancers filling in for others last minute. One performer looked around at his classmates for help on what to do while struggling with the choreography. People in the audience laughed, although I'm not sure it was meant to be funny.
The clothing, however, was intricate and vibrant, which brought even more pizzazz to the whole show. The wigs and makeup also made it all seem more authentic and allowed people like me, who know little about ancient China, to gain an idea of how people looked during different dynasties. Also, the music was fascinating. At first, it sounded odd to me because I wasn't used to it, but it really grew on me.
The teachers clearly put in a lot of work with their students, and overall, I am really impressed with how well they trained so many of them to work together. It went by fast, and I always knew what was happening on the stage because of the slide show. The performance was a truly enjoyable way to spend an activities period.
Student cast members were Tillman Hamric, Elizabeth Taylor, Catherine Taylor, Dara Jindapon, Caroline Perkins, Arthur Anders, Alex Anders, Nivedha Goli, Sydney Porter, Charlie Denson, Lizzy Lee, Sam Washko, Johnny Stumpff, Merritt Fulmer, Claudia Williams, and Will Sawyer.
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