Friday 26th August, Day 16!!!
As our trip is coming to a very sad close, one of the many privileges we received as a token of gratitude was tickets to the interschool Indian folk dance held at YMCA. This was basically a day-long event consisting of 32 different schools who were all competing dancing traditional Indian dances to win. This competition was by far the most colourful competition I’ve ever seen. From the golden coloured chairs and curtains to the red carpets everyone and everything was in colour. The Chennai Challenge team all arrived in our colourful Indian Chudidars and received front row seats! Such a treat! The celebrations started with speeches and thank yous from important people such as the founders of YMCA Madras, General Secretary’s and the chairman. This was interesting as we got to find out more about the history of Indian dance and especially YMCA.
Although we didn’t understand the lyrics or know any of the music it was amazing to watch all the dances and immerse ourselves in the beautiful culture, we also gained a good sense about what’s important to people here and watch them express themselves through liberation, pain and also so much joy. The most entertaining dances were the ones with extravagant costumes. One dance had bright blue peacock costumes, another had pink birds and many had costumes with more colours in than are in the rainbow. A perfect day to sit back, relax and please your eyes.
The highlight of the day however was most certainly the Chennai Challenge team dance to Allegra, Indian style. Only the day before we had been asked to enter a traditional Indian dance so five (very brave) Chennai Challenge Team members (Rob, Emma, Rachel, Suzanne and Chloe) volunteered to get up early and learn a whole dance to a song…and it was AMAZING. The crowd went absolutely crazy for them as they performed some pretty spectacular Indian moves and even after they requested an encore where everybody got up on the stage and joined in which was just so much fun. The whole day was incredible to watch and participate in.
After a full day of dancing, we headed to a YMCA board meeting which was very emotional. Lots of Thank yous and speeches were made by both Rob and the YMCA members, it was amazing to see just how grateful and appreciative everybody was of us being here and all the work that has been put in. There were a few tears shed from some people…(me) but it was lovely to see that our time here has made such a big impact. After speeches came the buffet in which I was delighted to realise included creamy chicken pasta!! Then we all headed back to bed after an exhausting but exhilarating few days and late nights.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned.