Saturday, November 8, 2014

International Dinner: Sirtaj K.

Tonight is the SAIS International Dinner, an annual tradition and one of the biggest events of the year.  Sirtaj K. tells us how she and her friends prepared for tonight.  Enjoy!

Hello SAISers and prospective SAISers!
As many of you may already know, the International Dinner is tonight. The International Dinner, for those in unfamiliar territory, is an event that SAIS DC holds every Fall semester where students volunteer to prepare food from their parts of the world for their fellow students and staff. But that’s not the only exciting bit – there’s an open stage and open mic for anyone who wants to display their talent. And I just can’t help myself wherever there is an open stage. The Chai Club, (the South Asia club at SAIS) of which I am a member, has decided to perform a couple of Indian dances for the event.
Preparing for the dances has been no easy task. The midterms at SAIS just ended so the entire SIAS populace is absolutely famished. Even without the midterms, our schedules are brimming full all the time with classes, internships, part time jobs, guest lectures, career orientations, parties, and everything else one can imagine. But we did manage to pull something together and are in the final rounds of the practice for the day after tomorrow.
So how did we do this, you ask? Planning! Thankfully, we have Seethal Kumar with us, a fellow student and a professional belly dance instructor. She took the responsibility of coordinating the Chai Club dance. Seethal choreographed a Bollywood-hip-hop fusion piece. Sana Ali, my fellow blogger (maybe we can provide a link to Sana’s blog) choreographed a classic Bollywood dance and I took the responsibility of preparing a Bhangra number, a traditional dance form that belongs to Punjab, India/Pakistan. (Fun fact for IR students – the neighboring border states in India and Pakistan are both called Punjab, because the larger state of Punjab was partitioned by the British when they granted freedom to India and Pakistan. Both states share the same language and culture.)
One of the most challenging parts was to get everyone who wanted to participate to learn the dances. We managed to find a time that was acceptable to everyone once a week and we even made videos of the dances for those who couldn’t make it to the rehearsals. I made many new friends through this process. There is no better way to solidify a friendship than to have a productive and fun experience together, which is exactly what the rehearsals have been like. They’ve also been uplifting – something to look forward to in the week. And I’m sure the other clubs and performers are enjoying preparing for this just as much as we are!
Stay tuned for updates on what went down at the International Dinner!
–Sirtaj K., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger