It Begins with you

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The Clock Ticks Towards July 16th
By Camille Clarke / Saturday, July 8th, 2006 / O'Henry High School

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, races the clock. With only one week and two rehearsals dates left until the first Northeast Zone Youth Festival at Lincoln Center, one might expect the atmosphere at the rehearsal on Saturday, July 8th, to be intense. Instead, there was a deep sense of calm and serenity among all the performance groups.

As I walked into Room 106, dance leader Cynthia Peacock addressed the Hip Hop dance group "Do you feel prepared?" Some nodded yes, others said no. As one of the largest performance groups, with an increasing flow of new members every week, five of whom entered the group today, the group faced obstacles in getting everyone in rhythm.

Exemplifying the spirit of a bodhisattva, Cynthia encouraged the group to help each other. "We're going to break out into smaller groups, and learn the dance again. Please help each other with the routine," she said. "We're going to practice until everyone feels confident about dancing on stage." Shortly before the break for lunch, everyone danced enthusiastically. Even those who initially sat shyly in the corner had a spot amongst the group. Feat accomplished.

After leaving the Hip Hop dance group, I walked down the hall in search of other performers. Then something caught my eye: the graceful movements of the Asian/Southeast performance group. Its membership stands at 13, but nearly half of its members were unable to make it to the day's rehearsal, leaving the group incomplete, but still graceful. When asked if they felt confident to perform in a week, an optimistic Judy Lai said, "We're getting better."

Just a few steps away in room 125, resided the Art committee. Members ranging from all ages sat behind a long table to assemble bracelets with the festival's theme, "It All Begins With Me." Tomomi Muramatsu, the group's leader, set a determination to complete at least 200 bracelets today. But along with such a great cause, comes even bigger obstacles.

Smita Kumar of the Promotional committee explained that signs they had previously made were misplaced and assumed lost. These signs, which took over two days to make, are vital to the festival since they will be used to direct the numerous buses carrying members from various regions. Despite the setback, Smita was undeterred and the process of remaking the signs was set into motion.

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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
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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