Aaron Claussen 4-22-14 Journey East 2014
Reflection on Collaboration DanceI was excited about the collaborative dance before we even started our journey to China. Little did I know what was in store for us. On the first collaboration day we learned the basic moves and when it ended I was thinking to myself, “that’s it?!” I really wanted to get good at the dance in the few days that we were provided. The hardest part for me, which may not come as a surprise to some people, was to not get down on myself when I messed up. I had to take into account that the students we were dancing with were handpicked from all around Inner Mongolia for their talent in dance, and they do this full time. I went back to the hotel every night and I practiced the dance, because I wanted to make the group proud, my parents proud, and most of all I wanted to make myself proud. When the second rehearsal came around I had practiced all the moves we had learned, then we were given several more actions to learn. We had our third and final rehearsal the next morning, but then I soon noticed a problem. I knew how to perform all the actions, but I was becoming very confused about the order of the steps and how many times each one was performed. I solved this problem by writing out the order of the dance in my journal and I practiced it thoroughly until I felt I was ready. Soon enough it was showtime. We performed our show first, which I thought was, by far, the best we have ever done. After Monkey Business, we hustled backstage and changed into our super awesome costumes as fast as we could. I had my dancing buddies help me get into costume while the Chorus sang their lovely songs. After the Chorus, all the dancers got into position and it was time for the moment we had been preparing for. We were then at the point of no return. We made our way on stage as the music began and went through the actions as the crowd watched attentively. We were performing it fabulously and were nearing the end; we started amping up the energy and were dancing at our best. We went through the last two actions and then struck a pose when the music ended. The crowd burst with an explosion of applause, I got a feeling I had never experienced before; it’s hard to explain, but it was a mixed feeling of bliss and sadness simultaneously, because, as I stood there soaking it all in that we had just killed it in front of about a thousand people, I realized we were leaving Hohhot in a couple of days. I am really going to miss everyone in Hohhot, because they were so welcoming to us and made us feel like family. I just feel like I could live here forever; I do not want to leave Hohhot. There is an unexplainable aspect to this experience that really distinguishes it as the best experience we’ve had in China. I know that I will for sure make an effort to stay in contact with the friends that I made, and I will definitely try to come back to Hohhot in the future, it’s such an incredible place.