As I walk into the Perspectives rehearsal, they’re practicing curtain call. It’s a gym room full of people, all holding hands in line. It’s a boisterous group, and when someone cracks a joke, everyone laughs. They practice their final bow a few times, with the guidance of leaders shouting “this is the end, make it big, work together!” and then move on to individual rehearsals. The acts are called out—“Middle East Dance! Decadence! Cal Taiko!”—and the groups start to find their places. The whole thing seems like a big confusion, but there’s a lot of smiling and a lot of laughing, and in the end, everyone gets to where he needs to be.
The first act I see is a charming comedy-singing collaboration between Decadence and Theater for Charity. It’s a pleasure to watch, as I can’t help but notice the glee that shines through the whole performance. Traditional drumming groups come next—in total contrast—which pound out a riveting beat. It’s a dramatic performance, but even in this serious group, you see smiles peek out of the performers’ faces. When Cal Wushu rehearse their performance, it’s hard not to get caught up by the flips and emphatic stomps of the practice, yet group members approach the practice with a team-like joy, cheering on soloists and allowing themselves a giggle as people (sometimes awkwardly) try to work out the flow of their routines.
Seeing this rehearsal gave me a deep sense of the collaboration that Perspectives embodies, while also gaining a better sense of how Perspectives serves as a resource to Cal students— both performers and audience. Not only do student groups get a chance to perform in one of Berkeley’s best venues, but they get to know other people who are as passionate as they are about their art. Sarah Abbott Ladner, a production intern for the show, told me about one instance of this exchange that she had seen during rehearsals: “[when] the light show group, Ambience, first met with Ballet Company at Berkeley… one of the light show guys found out that one of the ballerinas had never seen a light show before, and he said ‘Guys, she’s a light show virgin!’ and proceeded to give her a show. Exposing people to things they’ve never had the chance to experience before is one of the great benefits of Perspectives.”
For the rest of us who aren’t performing, Perspectives’ benefit is not only entertainment, but also the insight into what makes up our vibrant campus. How else would most of us find out about Sorayya, a belly dance group, or Ballet Folclórico Reflejos de Mexico, the Mexican folklore dance group, both of which are establishing themselves now?
I have to say, this rehearsal has gotten me excited to see all the acts on March 16th. Seeing these performers on the stage should prove to be great, and I can’t wait to experience the integral, collaborative energy I saw at rehearsal in the theater.
Check out ASUC Perspectives’ promo video below.
Contact Alexandra Kantor at [email protected].