Today, Tuesday April 10, 2018 (besides being my birthday), was our first day at the Inner Mongolian Arts college. For people who don’t know what the Arts College is, it’s a school for people looking to become professional dancers, musicians and performers of all kinds. This morning when the group arrived at the venue we had about an hour and a half to rehearse our show. We did our usual warmup and ran through the show one time. After we were finished it came time to reorganize the bags because after our last show we had to pack up in a hurry so the bags were a complete wreck. After our rehearsal it was time for lunch and then we had a nice long siesta to recover and rest before it was time for our dance class.
When the time finally came to head back to the college for the dance class I decided it would be a good idea to eat an ice cream because it was my birthday. When we got back to the performance hall we all sat in wait for the dancers to come, they finally did and they entered and all did a crazy dance move. I was surprised by how good they were. They invited all the JE kids onto the stage and we got to work almost immediately. For me, personally, I caught on to the dance quickly and found it quite enjoyable to perform. When I had any questions about where to put my feet or if I wanted to do something again, my dance partner was nice and helpful. I was afraid that my constant questioning and lack of elegance frustrated her, but it really seemed like it didn’t. In fact, all the Mongolian dancers seemed calm and patient with us Americans. We ran through the dance several times, paused, learned a new section of choreography, practiced the new stuff and added it into the dance. Then we practiced the whole thing up to the point where we needed new choreography and did that on repeat until we made it through the whole thing. It got a little annoying when we had to do the first piece of choreography repeatedly but in the end, it was really fun and we did learn the dance.
After a short break, we went through the dance again and then we watched the Mongolians do a short dance. After that it was time for dinner. During dinner, all the lights suddenly went out and a cake rolled in and people started singing happy birthday. Whenever people start singing happy birthday to me in public, I always get a little embarrassed. Despite being slightly embarrassed, we had some good cake with cherries in it. After we were done, I convinced Paul Paytas to go outside and throw his frisbee around for a while. Then a magical moment, some of the Chinese people that were standing around suddenly joined us and Ultimate Frisbee became a symbol for peace across the city. After frisbee, we went back to the hotel and winded down from the day.