February 8, 2008
Calvin College’s international student body will present their annual variety show Rangeela at 7:30 p.m. Friday through Saturday, February 15 through 16 at the college’s Fine Arts Center. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and children. Tickets for the Rangeela dress rehearsal, held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 14, are $2.
Rangeela, the Hindi word for “colorful,” weaves together songs, dances and skits from the many non-American cultures represented at Calvin. The theme for this year’s show is “Remix the Colors.”
“We took the word ‘remix’ from singers who do an old song with a contemporary beat,” said Calvin senior and Rangeela director Yeong Lim. “Rangeela means ‘colorful,’ and we’re remixing the color. We’re adding a lot more color. I think it’s going to have a little more flavor, a little more twist.”
The contemporary spin is evident in most of Rangeela’s nine acts, Lim said, such as the Indian act, which combines dance moves from four regions of that country. The Latin dance also mixes salsa moves with merengue and kumbia.
Several offerings put contemporary twists on traditional dances. The Korean number combines the crane dance with break dance and hip hop moves; the Japanese offering gives a similar update to the fishermen’s dance; and the Vietnamese act jazzes up a conventional hat dance. Even the Filipino candle dance has been modernized: the dancers are using electric lights.
Rangeela also features two African numbers this year, both of which have been creatively tweaked. One is an animal skit, a dialogue between carnivores and herbivores that borrows from Aesop’s Fables. “They’re not fighting. They’re trying to come up with a new law,” Lim said. “They’re ‘remixing.’ It’s hilarious.” And the former African A Capella, newly dubbed “Voices From Africa”, is performing several songs written by the group.
The show also contains a European skit, a dialogue about culture between a French person and an English person who meet on a train. “They sort of mock each other in a friendly way,” Lim said, laughing.
The director pleased with the quality of this year’s acts, which were culled through two auditions, and he is grateful for all of the support he receives putting on the show: “We have publicity people and stage managers and photographers and coordinators—and, of course, Linda Bosch,” he said of the Calvin international student program coordinator. “She’s our advisor. She’s our friend. Whenever we have a question or a problem, we just go to get advice from her.”
Lim, who co-directed Rangeela in 2006, is enthusiastic about the opportunity to supervise the remix, especially since he is not, technically, one of Calvin’s international students. Born in Japan and raised in that country and Korea, Lim became an American citizen just prior to enrolling at Calvin.
“My freshman year, I was invited to Rangeela,” he said, “and I fell in love with it. I’ve gone to every Rangeela show every year.”
If attendance is any indication, lots of people share Lim’s enthusiasm for the show. Rangeela sells out every year, and each crop of international students passes their passion for performing on to the next. “We just want to show people where we come from and what kind of cultures we live in,” Lim said. “Especially at Calvin, which is a predominately Dutch, American community, this is an opportunity to show them different colors from all around the world."
While Calvin College annually sends numerous students abroad for study, it also is becoming a place where many students come from other countries for a four-year, liberal arts degree. In fact Calvin is sixth in the country among baccalaureate institutions for number of international students on campus. In 2006-2007 Calvin had 336 international students.
Calvin's efforts to bring international perspectives to the classroom were recognized last this year when the college was awarded one of four Senator Paul Simon awards for internationalization of the campus by NAFSA, the national association of international educators.
~written by Calvin staff writer Myrna Anderson
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