By May D Quall
At first, it was scary to think about strangers from the other side of the world staying in our basement for a whole week. They seemed so...different. They smoked in the backyard, cooked food so spicy it was like lighting a fire on your tongue, and had names I could never pronounce quite right. They had accents I had never heard before, ate vegetables for breakfast, and drank coffee. Every morning of the week they stayed here, our house reeked of the bitter, caffeinated drink.
As weird as the situation was, my family loved the experience, as well as those three middle-aged Israeli men that lived in our basement for a week. We were a “host family” for the Idaho International Dance Festival, also known as Summerfest. They absolutely adored my little brother -- especially his red hair. They took pictures with him and showed them to the rest of the dance team they were traveling with like proud uncles.
The week of parties, swimming, and dance workshops flew by, and before I knew it, the night of the final showcase arrived.
"Are you sure you don't want to come?" my mom asked, putting her keys in her purse as she got ready to go.
"I don't know, Mom," I replied. I didn't feel like going out that night; I was exhausted from the eventful week I had. But as much as I wanted to stay, I had the feeling I'd later regret not going.
"I think you'll have fun," my mom insisted. "I’ve heard from all the people that were involved last year that the finale is absolutely incredible. We'll wait for you to get your shoes on."
My brain was having a mental tug-of-war.
Go. Stay home. Go. Stay home. Go. Stay Home?
"I'll go put on a nicer shirt," I sighed, heading to my room. I quickly threw on a pair of jeggings and pulled a nicer top over my head. Shoving on a pair of sandals, I grabbed a light jacket and raced to the kitchen, making it just in time.
When we arrived at the high school auditorium, there were lots of people there to see the gala. We chose floor seats, in the very back of the middle section. Settling in, we chatted for a while with my Aunt who was visiting us for the weekend.
When the lights flashed as a warning, darkness and an anticipated silence settled over the crowd as everyone made their way to their seats. Loud, upbeat music pulsed through the speakers. Dance teams from all over the world poured out of every door in the facility, making their way onto the stage.
Dancers from Poland, Israel, India, Columbia, Peru, and Cameroon clapped their hands and twirled across the stage in their vibrant costumes: tiny gold discs sewed precariously onto neon orange saris; stripes of red and green on skirts, having a dizzying effect when spun; intricate ribbons woven into long braids; fur vests and boots; plaid kilts, and countless other colors and patterns.
I sat at the very edge of my seat, smiling and clapping with everyone else.
The first dance by the Columbians was unforgettable. The women wore intricate, colorful skirts and an abundance of flowers in the hair. The men were dressed in flamboyant neckties and large, straw hats. The music started slowly, the lights low. The dancers woke up and began “working.” The girls washed clothes and gathered food while the men worked in the fields, hoeing and harvesting the crops. As the act progressed, groups of friends began to gather, until they were all dancing, having fun in the hot, Columbian sun.
Next, I was excited to see kids I knew walking on stage. They were part of the American Footworks dance team, who went to dance festivals all over the world each year. They performed an upbeat square-dance number with cowboy hats, impressive lifts, and plenty of "Yee-Haws!" Many also showcased their clogging skills -- their feet moved so fast they were almost a blur.
With each act, the lights became brighter, the costumes more colorful, and the crowd more energized. I kept thinking to myself, There’s no way the next number can top this, but every time, it did. I could only think of what the finale would be like. Before I knew it, the time had come for intermission.
“What do you think of it so far?” my Dad asked. “Are you glad you decided to come?”
“Glad?!” I exclaimed. “I can’t believe I thought about staying home; this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!”
Intermission couldn’t end soon enough. Somehow, I made it through the agonizingly long line for the water fountain. As soon as I was satisfied, I raced back to my family and plopped down into the worn, red fabric covering the squeaky auditorium seat. My legs bounced with excitement, until the lights finally dimmed.
The second half of the show was even better.
The men staying with us from Israel performed a number resembling a wedding celebration. One woman wore a dress different from the others, indicating that she was the bride. Little, artificial, black curls hung from the “groomsmen’s” large hats. The women wore white dresses and danced in impossibly straight lines and clean formations.
Next came Japan. The youngest performer seemed about only seven, but the oldest looked like he could be at least 60. Tall teenage boys beat giant leather drums in perfect unison, and the kids hit their little wooden sticks together as they danced. Middle-aged men ran across the stage with large, heavy flags, easily three times their size. The swirled them and twirled them, each making a satisfying “flap, flap, flap,” sound as they were whipped around.
Following Japan were the Poles. One of the smaller teams, they only consisted of a few men and a few women. Poland put a unique twist on their performance by providing their own music. They used flutes and a violin to provide light, upbeat melodies. The women wore stroje ludowe, traditional Polish folk attire. They performed a series of slaps, claps, and turns that had everyone smiling and clapping along.
Finally, the finale came. The music poured out of the speakers so loudly I could feel the base vibrating in my bones. Lights of every color of the rainbow flashed and swung around the auditorium. Out of the back entrances, front doors, balcony seat exits, and stage curtains, came a flood of dancers. They were all tired and sweaty, but beaming. You could feel the happiness and energy radiating off each and every one of the dancers as they made their way to the stage. In theater, the finale is often paired with the bows. During the bows, the cast comes on in groups, with the leads almost always bowing last, getting the loudest cheers. In contrast, Summerfest ended the gala in a way that didn’t put any one country above another. The final dance included everyone. Each team performed some of their best tricks or traditional dance steps when it was their turn, and enthusiastically cheered for their fellow dancers when it wasn’t.
As the last notes of the music played, they all performed a simple set of moves in unison. Even if it was a few steps and easy turns, it left an impression on me. I had never seen something so simple be so powerful.
True, it may have looked a little silly with a bunch of people from all over the world, twirling and stomping, packed together on a small stage in Idaho like a chaotic, international smoothie.
But in a way, it wasn’t weird at all. In fact, it seemed almost...normal. Like everything was right where it was supposed to be. Artists of all ages, sizes, races, and backgrounds, sharing their ways of life with each other. No one worried about civil unrest, wars, or taxes. No one fighting or yelling or complaining. If world peace could be defined in a moment, that would be it.
Given that few people have the opportunity to see the unity of people of different backgrounds and cultures at such a young age, I am very lucky. Thanks to our small, humble city of Rexburg, Idaho, I was able to get that chance, and I’ve never forgotten it. When I was only twelve, I was able to witness something that now seems so rare and even nonexistent - people setting aside their beliefs, opinions, and prejudices to celebrate life together.
I Know Places by Taylor Swift
Interpretation by Allison Pope
You stand with your hand on my waistline
It’s a scene and we’re out here in plain sight
The song starts with Taylor and her boyfriend in public for the first time together, making it clear to the public that they are dating.
I can hear them whisper as they pass by
It’s a bad sign, a bad sign
She shows clear anxiety at people starting to talk about their relationship, scared of what may happen.
Something happens when everybody finds out
See the vultures circling dark clouds
She can already feel people judging them, and she feels it’s not in a good way.
Love’s a fragile little flame it could burn out
It could burn out
She recognizes that a new relationship is already fragile when you’re just starting out, and she’s afraid that the media attention and judgement could end it.
Cause they got the cages, they got the boxes
They are the hunters, we are the foxes
And we run
Taylor compares her relationship as an animal being hunted, obviously portraying her feeling that people are out to sabotage their relationship.
Baby, I know places we can’t be found
And they’ll, be, chasing their tails tryna track us down
Cause I, I know places we can hide
I know places
I know places
She dreams of just running away from the attention, taking her boyfriend away from the media and hiding somewhere they won’t be found or bothered.
Lights flash and we run for the fences
This refers to paparazzi, being ambushed by them and their cameras and trying to run away, a common occurrence as a celebrity. Especially one in a relationship.
Let them say what they want we won’t hear it
Loose lips sink ships all of the time
Not this time
Taylor shows confidence in their relationship, she is basically saying that they love each other and are stable enough that what people and the media says won’t affect them.
Just grab my hand and don’t ever drop it
They are the hunters, we are the foxes
And we run
She’s clinging to her boyfriend, desperately trying to convince him to just run away with her.
They take their shots, we’re bulletproof
I know places
And you know for me it’s always you
I know places
She’s saying that their love can protect them from the media opinion, that they are strong enough that the public can’t stop them.
In the dead of night, your eyes so green
I know places
And I know for you it’s always me
I know places
She knows that he echoes her thoughts on the strength of their relationship, that they can take it.
We're going to state as the first seed! Congratulations on winning districts! See the Standard Journal article below.
Congratulations to our own Keaton Ashton on winning the Kids Baking Championship! Way to go, Keaton!
by Kinley Oliver
Welcome Back Bookworms!!!
Calling all you bookworms. Today it’s book talk time! We’re back to talk books! Today we’ll be theorizing The Hunger Games series. So yes, it contains spoilers!!!
WARNING: THIS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS TO HUNGER GAMES, CATCHING FIRE, AND MOCKINGJAY
So for today's Booktalk, we will be talking about the three Hunger Game books. Our first theory is that Foxface actually ate the poisonous plant on purpose. During all of the training Foxface was able to match all of the poisonous plants and clearly had knowledge of the plants she’d be surrounded by. “Foxface clearly didn’t plan on being the girl on fire. She had the wherewithal to realize she couldn’t just openly defy the Capitol like Katniss Everdeen later would. She saw Peeta picking the berries and realized it was her way out” (Bradley).
The next theory is that another reason for the hunger games. The Capitol wanted to kill all of the young citizens of Panem that appeared strong willed and seem like they might start a rebellion. So that's why there is only one winner. That winner would be pretty free and have plenty of food and money for their family, so they’d be satisfied. They’d no longer have a problem. They give anybody that puts their name in for the Hunger Games (more than required) food, proving that the people with their names in it the most are in need for the most food and are being treated badly, so they are most likely to think that Panem’s system is not fair.
“My theory is that this group's involvement in Katniss's life goes much further back than this plan; They aren't just using Katniss as a symbol of revolution; they purposely crafted her, from a very young age, to be a symbol, with the express goal of starting a revolution” (Fandom). So this theory is one of the most interesting. It is that Katniss’s father and Madge’s mother decided to create a symbol of rebellion through their kids. They decided Katniss was the best candidate and basically was raised for the Mockingjay position. Fandom says, “ We know Madge's mother is married to the mayor of District 12, has mysterious headaches during which she sees no one for days, and had a twin sister die in a previous Hunger Games. This reveals a motive for trying to bring down the Capitol (her sister's death), as well as a suspicious closeness to power (her marriage) and behavior that could conceal secret activity.” It would make sense for Madge’s mother to avenge the death of her sister, by well...starting a rebellion. And Katniss’s father was a poacher so he was obviously courageous and didn’t mind breaking some rules to help people, he would be willing to start a rebellion and maybe even train his daughter to fight back. I mean from a young age Katniss was breaking the rules by going into the forest and getting food.
That’s it for today, I hope you enjoyed The Hunger Games theories!
Thanks for reading!!! :D:D
by Kaydee Fowler; photos by Charlie Ballard
Our amazing drama teacher, Mr French, directed “How to Host a Murder Mystery Dinner Party” this last week. The cast put on a phenomenal play; they were really in character and performed amazingly. The play was about--you guessed it--how to host a murder mystery dinner party. The host, Sarah Chapman, explained how to make the party perfect through the live seminar. The gossip, Ainsley William, told a backstory of all the characters. The cast played a group of friends that were given a script for the party. Then some unexpected guest, the lost traveler and the inspector, were confused about what was happening. The lights went out and the host was found lying on the floor dead. The inspector, Mckellen Golder, questioned everyone, including the audience, asking what had happened during the dinner party. The play had three surprising endings, two false, and one real! Every night the play is performed, the inspector chooses an ending without the cast knowing. On the night I attended, the first ending pointed to the writer, Amy Tew, as the murder because she writes murder mystery novels. During the second ending, the lady-killer was supposed to be killed but the maid killed the host. She killed her because the lady-killer was the maid’s love interest and the host called her “Miss Shelley”. For the final ending, the celebrity was the murderer because she had to be the star of the show.