Well, it seems I am the last of the four of us to write a blog post so I better post this quick >.<

Quick introduction. I'm Jesmond and I was the dance choreographer for SoC Rag last year. I have been dancing for a few years now but I was not a part of my freshman year Rag (fyi, I'm a year 2 student right now). This was only because I missed the earlier Freshman Orientation Camp so by the time I found out about Rag and Rag Dance, there was only a week or two left to Rag Day. Nevertheless, I made friends with that year's Rag Dance choreographer who then "arrowed" me to become the following year's SoC Rag Dance Choreographer (not that I was forced into it or anything. I was most delighted to be given the chance to choreograph such a big performance). So that's that. I was now in charge of putting up a dance performance using exclusively Computing and Computer Engineering students without having any real Rag experience.

I walked into Rag with two ideals in mind. First, I wanted to accept any dancer regardless of experience or ability just as long as they joined because they wanted to dance. Second, I wanted my dancers to be self-motivated so rather than slave-driving everyone, I wanted to get every dancer to have a sense of belonging to the performance they were in. Little did I know how difficult this journey would be for me.

I'll let you in on a little (not-so-secret) secret. SoC has never been very known for being active in the non-academic side of university life, unlike our happening neighbors Biz and FASS (at least as far as faculty events are concerned). So while Business had about 1000 FRESHIES alone auditioning for Rag dance, I had just over 20 dancers after considering everyone who could come (including some seniors who couldn't be there half the time because of summer exchanges or internships). Moreover, to the exception of 4 dancers and myself, I was dealing with a crowd with no dance experience whatsoever. It didn't really help that I pulled all the stops with my choreography and included technical dance genres like popping, locking, waacking and shuffling.

I had only two goals I wanted to achieve at the end of Rag. The first was to simply put up a performance the each dancer in it could be proud of. The second was to train any SoC student who had a passion for dance into the dancer that they could be (or at very least, aim to get close to that). It was an incredibly tiring journey (both physically and mentally) across those three months, with hours upon hours of conditioning, non-stop practice runs and the occasional emotional flare-up/breakdown but we managed to all come out of proud to be a part of Rag.

Some people ask me why I decided to become the Rag Dance choreographer again this year. There are a couple reasons why. There is a part of me who wants to get some redemption from the previous Rag. My sole regret from last year's Rag is that it could have been a lot better. So now, having been through Rag once, I hope that all my new-found experience and knowledge will help me make this year's Rag a legacy I will be proud of. Then there's a part of me that just became attached to Rag. Our philosophy of Rag has always been to enjoy the process as much as possible rather than focus solely on winning and become all miserable in the end. As a result, between all the trainings and meltdowns, I became closer to all my fellow Raggers and closer to Rag itself. Rag slowly grows on you over the months and is probably one of the major reasons that drive us to do it.

I'll end of with a little insight to what dancers can expect from this upcoming Rag. For starters, it won't be your average mass dance-type choreography. I didn't go easy last year and I don't intend to drop the standard this year either. However, I assure you that regardless of your dance background (or lack thereof), if you come because you want to dance you will be able to survive. The Rag dancers from last year's Rag stand testament to that. I believe in nurturing dancers and not robots doing choreography so as long as you come with a desire to dance, it doesn't matter how many left feet you have.

With that, I bid you, the reader, goodbye and if you are/want to be a dancer, I look forward to seeing you over this summer to remember.

- Jesmond, your friendly SoC Rag Dance Choreographer
2/23/2012 12:21:38

yeah. let's make rag an awesome one this year! come back quick. we got an updated design for the float and i think its gonna be legend - wait for it - dary!

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