International Show Behind the Scenes – Backstage through the eyes of a model


Eager murmurs of family members and friends echo within the walls of Russell Theatre on the evening of Friday March 8th. They anxiously await the curtains to draw back to mark the beginning of the annual International Show presented by the Latin American Student Association. The lights dim, the curtains roll back and the music drowns the loud cheers of the crowd.  The show has begun, yet the excited chaos in the backstage continues.

Models scurry to powder their faces, quince dancers run through their routines for a final time and performers remind group members of key points in their routines. I take a last look in the mirror and turn to rest of the models.

One of our scene directors, sophomore Marisol Zambrana, has run in to announce a final change to our scene. A nervous aura spreads across the room. She shoots an encouraging smile to a group of girls, and gives final reminders of when everyone has to be ready and lined up.

Africa is first.

Almost as if someone had flicked a switch, all the models come to the common realization this is it. The show has started and soon they will be strutting down the stage displaying all their effort they have made in the past seven weeks of practice.

Seven weeks of practice seems like a long time, but the time has simply flown by. It is hard to believe that the show has been in the works since the beginning of the school year in September.

LASA officers such as seniors Maritza Villarroel, Michelle Alva, Joselyn Flores, and juniors Diego Bolivar, Claudia Torres and Michelle Crespo met with sponsors Enrique Fernandez and Ruth Azimi to begin planning for the show.

They decided what would go into the show and how they planned to organize it. In October, plans for the show and reservations for practice space were finalized. Finally, in December an interest meeting and auditions were held.

From the prominent interest displayed by students, the show was able to continue in its production. Practices were held every Wednesday. However, more practices were scheduled during the week of the show including a dress rehearsal.

The dress rehearsal was the last opportunity for the entire show to practice together as one before show night. Practice ran from directly after school until 7:30 in the evening. Tension was rising for everyone involved.

Scene directors scrambled to help models perfect the speed of their walks to match the music the backstage crew members worked to synchronize perfectly. Models paced back and forth on the stage, smiling until their cheeks were sore and their vision was blurred with white spots because of the bright stage lights.

I think one of the most beneficial things many of the participants took away from the show was the intense training of walking around in heels for long periods. I can confidently say that the next formal event any of us attend will be spent dancing, rather than limping because our feet will not be suffering.

The day of the show, to say the least, was one of the most hectic days of my life. We started out the long day with hair and make-up for all scene directors, models and quince scene members provided by Paul Mitchell.

A heavy fog of hairspray circulated throughout the gold cafeteria, and the temperature had risen to a suffocating level because of hair tools. Despite the rushing and time crunch, everyone seemed excited to see how the show would turn out.

An hour before the show, models rushed into dressing rooms to swiftly change into their traditional outfits that represented their country. It was awe inspiring to watch the transformation of so many students from anxious girls and boys to excited and graceful performers.

As we all lined up in order of presentation for the show, we were surprised to see a flashy and jangling group of people clamoring to the back of the curtain. It was the Fraternindad Folklorica Cultural Caporales Universitarios de San Simon, a Bolivian dance group that was the opening act to the show.

It was a huge opening for the excited crowd and a pleasant surprise for the nervous students in the back. However, once the show began tensions eased and the show flowed smoothly.

At the end of the night, once the friends and family had filtered out of the theatre, students ambled back to their dressing rooms to gather their belongings. The show had been a huge success. All the endless hours of walking, posing, dancing and bickering had paid off.

I remember taking a last look at the stage, and reliving the experience with the spotlight and the loud cheers drowning out my nervousness. I can confidently say that the International Show was one of the most memorable experiences of my high school career.