It Begins with you

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Rehearsals Kick-Off with Excitement and New Bonds of Friendship
By Anouche Wise / Sunday, April 23rd, 2006 / New York Culture Center

The morning of Sunday April 23rd started with a lot of excitement and energy at the first rehearsal for the 2006 SGI-USA Northeast Zone Youth Festival. Following morning gongyo, the documentary committee met on the lower level of the Culture Center before spreading out over the building to observe and take pictures of the different performance and supporting groups. Every room on every floor was filled with youth members who were spilling out into the halls. It was impossible to visit every group but we did our best.

The theme of the festival, "It all begins with me" was in the mind of each participant as they introduced themselves to each other and began to talk about their performances. Each group read President Ikeda's poem "To My Young American Friends - Youthful Bodhisattvas of the Earth" and talked about their inspiration.


The wrap up was the highlight of the day. Each group discussed what they had done and surprisingly, many performed after only just meeting each other and getting together for a few short hours. YMD Athletics formed a human pyramid, Hip Hop dance group preformed break dancing that we had stumbled across them practicing in the halls. The YWD Dance group had choreographed arrangement by combining movements that each of them had created to represent their names, and Youth Chorus preformed a piece of "Thank You Sensei." We can't help but wonder at the confidence this takes and how each group jumped right into the spirit of things from day one.

Each group spoke at the wrap up, even behind the scenes groups that will be taking the stage in a very different way, such as: Art Committee, Experience Committee and our group, Documentary committee. Our two youngest members, 9 and 11 (fill in names) showed the great photos they had taken during rehearsals on the projection screen.

Along with many determinations, there was much thought on the theme, "It All Begins with Me." We're sure that as the rehearsals continue, each person who is participating in this festival will see that it all started on this day, and that the idea of "Beginning with Me" will have grown and developed by the time they take the stage.

Journal 1 (April 23)
Journal 2 (May 14)
Journal 3 (May 21)
Journal 4 (June 11)
Journal 5 (June 18)
Journal 6 (June 25)
Journal 7 (July 1st)
July 8th & 9th
July 15th
July 16th

African Performance
Asian Performance
Brazilian Capoeira
Hip Hop (Dance Battle)
Hip Hop (DJ Battle)
Hip Hop (MC Battle)
Latin Dance
YMD Athletics
Youth Band
Youth Chorus
YWD Dance

Art Committee
Byakuren, Soka, Gajokai
Documentary Committee
Lunch Committee
Promotional Committee

April 23rd
May 14th
May 21st
June 11th
June 18th
June 25th (Teens)
June 25th
July 1st (Teens)
July 8th & 9th
July 15th