February 24, 2009 | Myrna Anderson

Students gear up for international variety show.

At least one of the guys wore a serape, and the girls wore ruffled skirts with their t-shirts—and one of the dancers was lugging a laptop to rehearsal.

Rehearsal goes online

“My mom is watching us on Skype. She never comes to my performances, so this is what I do,” explained junior Christina Van Zoest, positioning the computer screen to face the dancers gathered in pairs in the hallway of the Fine Arts Center (FAC). After contact was established with Mrs. Van Zoest in L.A., her daughter joined her dancing partner, and they and the other couples began to parade and twirl in patterns across the brick floor.

The students were rehearsing the Hispanic dance, one of 10 acts in “Fabric of His Kingdom,” this year’s edition of Rangeela held 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 and 28 in the FAC. Tickets for Friday or Saturday are $6, and tickets for the Thursday, Feb. 26, dress rehearsal are $2.

Back to tradition

Rangeela (Hindi for colorful), the annual—and traditionally sold-out—variety show, is a creative offering of Calvin’s international students. The theme of this year’s show signals the show’s shift back to tradition, said Calvin senior and Rangeela director Ivan Gan:

“Over the past several years, Rangeela was looking at re-mixing and looking at traditional dances with a contemporary twist. And then I was thinking … we should celebrate them as they are,” Gan said. “Pretty much, it’s like a tapestry where you have different pieces of cloth come together.”

Old and new

Coming together with the Hispanic dance for this year’s Rangeela are dances and skits from the Philippines, Hawaii, Indonesia, Korea, India, Japan, China and Africa. And even with its traditional underpinnings, Gan explained, this year’s Rangeela allows for a lot of student creativity.

The European dance, for instance, includes a skit, featuring German and Spanish parents and their children. “The parents dance their traditional dances, while the children just have fun on the dance floor,” he said.

And while the moves of the Chinese dance are traditional, the story—of a warrior who dies while battling the Emperor over his lover and meets her as a deity in heaven—is a fresh concoction. “They just came up with this story,” he explained of the students in the skit, “a historical setting with a contemporary twist.”

Gan believes the show gives people a chance to celebrate diversity. “An opportunity to see what the world is like,” he said.

Back at rehearsal for the Hispanic dance, Van Zoest was eager for her mom’s review. “Did you like it?”

“Very much,” her mother replied, adding, “It’s a little blurry.”

Christina Van Zoest establishes contact

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