Students from IMSA’s 2015 Diwali production pose onstage.
October is underway, the first quarter has ended, and the pressure is on until the end of the semester. For sophomores who are finally adjusting to the academy’s pace, final projects and exams loom in the distance. For juniors, the PSAT and the promise of a more rigorous second semester await. And for seniors, the entire college process along with the importance of this semester’s grades hang in the balance.
But amid all of these academic and personal pressures, about 150 students have found the time to commit to Diwali, which is not only the first, but also one of the biggest cultural events of the year. Diwali is a student-run show that aims to celebrate Indian culture and bring it to light in the IMSA community, with 12 total dances, various instrumental performances, and a skit to unite the evening’s events.
About 2-3 hours long, Diwali requires enormous amount of practice and responsibility. Dancers practice throughout the week, and their commitment is especially important the week of the performance, when they practice for 5 hours a day, Monday through Thursday. Choreographers and board members often spend even longer refining the dances, writing the skit, and planning the event to perfection.
This year’s Diwali is supposed to be a great improvement from previous years. “The board worked tirelessly both over the summer and during the school year on the number of acts, show order, and a meaningful and powerful script” says ISA President, Nitya Talasila (’17) .
However, Diwali does not come without challenges. It is difficult for students at such a rigorous academy to balance schoolwork, college applications, and all the other pressures of academic, personal, and residential life. But in order to make the event as accessible to students as possible, ISA board has worked to reduce the cost of the show.
As rehearsal week approaches, it is important to remember to take a step back. IMSA is a place to learn about things outside of calculus and proper scientific inquiry. Moreover, it is a place to learn about culture, diversity, and the joy that comes from celebrating them. When asked what she enjoyed most about Diwali, Nitya explained it was a fantastic time to see the connectivity of IMSA campus. “There are so many students willing to help and participate to make it an easier process, and I know together we’ll make it a memorable show and a great experience. I enjoy seeing everyone come together aside from academics, and look forward to the amazing show!”