March and April are two months of importance on campus for anyone who loves being in a theatre production, be it on stage performing, backstage with crew, or behind the scenes (sometimes quite literally) as part of the band (sorry band). It’s Students’ Fest time! From dancing plates, to singing nuns, this year KSU presents Students’ Fest 2017: Sai Mulan.
With rehearsals well underway and with less than a month to go for opening night, The Yuppie decided to speak to the four dance coordinators: Carly Zarb, Rebecca Camilleri Pace, Kimberly Lowell, and Nicole Portelli, who have bravely made it their mission to coordinate about 180 participants. Here’s what they had to say.
Is this your first time coordinating? If not, which productions have you already been a part of?
Carly: This is my third Students’ Fest and it is also the third time I am coordinating. My first students fest was ‘Beautie and the Beast’, last year’s ‘Is-Sister Act’ and this year’s ‘Sai Mulan’.
Rebecca: This is my second time coordinating a Students’ Fest production. I was also part of ‘Is-Sister Act’ last year.
Kimberly: This would be my second time coordinating. My first time was last year, is-Sister Act.
Nicole: Yes, this is my first time coordinating. I am one of the very few, if not the only, coordinator who is a newbie this year, but the team has been extremely welcoming and immediately helped me feel at home.
What is the best thing about coordinating for Students’ Fest?
Carly: In my opinion the best thing about being a coordinator is to get to be part of the team who manages to produce such a professional and high-standard show. That feeling of seeing your work on stage alongside the input of the other coordinators, members, cast and crew, after countless meetings, rehearsals and long hours during such a high standard production…is incredible!!!!
Rebecca: The best thing about coordinating Students’ Fest would be meeting so many new people and also being able to see your creation performed on stage.
Kimberly: Limiting it to just one thing is a bit impossible because there’s so many upsides to it. First off, meeting so many new people and finding genuine friends in them. There’s the fun of actually teaching a dance. And finally, seeing everyone enjoying the dance during the performances.
Nicole: The best thing would definitely be meeting new people and getting to know each other both during choreographies and during the parties and other activities organised for us.
What are the challenges of coordinating such a large number of people?
Carly: First things first, I myself am already challenged by my height haha!! But apart from that, the biggest challenge is managing to get everything together; like for instance merging all the group pieces into one dance, meaning having to coordinate around 100 cast members, trying to keep everyone quiet, whilst still keeping a fun atmosphere. As coordinators we try to keep the fun factors which Students’ Fest brings along but at the same time we keep the necessary discipline in order to produce a professional show.
Rebecca: The biggest challenge, in my opinion is controlling such a large group of students. Sometimes having the whole cast can be a bit overwhelming.
Kimberly: There’s only one challenge really and truly, that of the inevitable noise that a large number of people bring with them. I could be heard from the south of Malta shouting “GUUUUUUYS” and I’m still not annoying enough to stop them from talking!
Nicole: Being such a large amount of people, disagreements happen often. However, these are normally turned into funny situations and the best ideas normally come out when a compromise is found.
What advice would you give to future SF dance coordinators?
Carly: The question I was looking forward to answer! Well:
– Invest in energy boosters, lozenges or lend an extra voice…you will need them!
– If you are short like me, either buy a platform, stilts, a table – anything which could make you visible enough for everyone to see you whilst teaching a choreography
– Never give up on the amount of changes which your fellow coordinators (most especially acting :P) decide upon!
– Plan ahead and prepare a good schedule in order to make it on time
– Be fun and creative. Don’t think that you won’t be able to manage to coordinate everyone and put around 100 cast members all together on stage! Dream, believe, and all will be fine in the end.
– Keep calm, be patient, you will understand the meaning of these two words quite clearly during rehearsals!
– Most of all have fun and enjoy it because its an experience you will cherish forever!
Rebecca: I would tell them to be patient but firm. Also, be prepared and overall, enjoy it!
Kimberly: Don’t even doubt it for a second, just go for it! Just be sure to be patient, committed, and have strong vocal chords.
Nicole: I would tell future dance coordinators to go for it. It is a fun experience, the other coordinators are super friendly, the people you teach always manage to turn a bad day into an awesome one and the hours dedicated to these productions are definitely worth it.
What would you say to people to come watch the show?
Carly: I always promote Students’ Fest as the show which is solely performed, produced, and directed by the students themselves, with all the cast and crew being students. It is an opportunity for us students to show our abilities, talents and our passion in such a professional show! It is surely not to be missed because I dare to say that it is one of the biggest events on Campus which a lot of effort, dedication and passion is put into.
Rebecca: What I am already telling people is that it is going to be a fantastic show in which you are going to die of laughter! It is a really great production in which everyone is working hard to put up and one you would regret missing.
Kimberly: It’s not a show to be missed! It’s a time where university students come together to bring up one amazing and hilarious show. However, a show that undoubtedly everyone will enjoy.
Nicole: This is a theatrical production brought to you by students and their initiative. It is amazing what a bunch of creative people could bring to life, and you should not miss this opportunity to see what they are capable of. Having been part of the audience of last year’s production, I was left speechless with the hidden talent lying within the students I met every day at university.
If you could be any character in Mulan who would it be and why?
Carly: This is such a hard question!! However, I’d be either one of the ancestors or else Mushu. The ancestors are so different and dynamic and their parts are very entertaining, while Mushu is one of the characters who brings the humour to the plot and is also tiny!! I imagine myself as either one… I can’t decide!!!
Rebecca: MUSHU! Definitely Mushu. He has always been one of my all-time favourite Disney characters.
Kimberly: Mushu because he’s so loud and clumsy, and I think I fit the bill.
Nicole: I think I would choose Grandma Fa. She is such a sweet character and has her comical moments as well. However, I would never be able to rob Judy from this character as she is the perfect person to play the role.
We would like to thank all dance coordinators for accepting and taking the time to speak to us. Tickets are out now and can be bought on www.ticketline.com.mt or from the KSU office on campus. Students’ Fest will be held on the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of April in Sir Temi Zammit Hall on University Campus. See you there!