Behind the scenes of big FON groups

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By Marsad Kabir and Brenden Picioane, Staff Writers

With the Festival of Nations season coming to a close, students spend countless hours staying after school perfecting their dances. However, for larger FON groups that have more than 100 members, a majority of the work belongs to the leaders who have to make sure they present their best work on stage.

“Leading a FON as large as Hispanic is definitely very energy draining but at the same time very fulfilling,” said senior and Hispanic FON leader Rochelle Lin. “Much of the difficulties come from placing people in dances and cutting, [and] we hate cutting, especially since FON is meant for everyone. But due to the stage size, we can only allow a certain number of people.”

Another struggle leaders face is assuring that everyone has the necessary practice to look their best on stage. Senior and Filipino FON leader Aleksandre De Jesus said, “Part of this is being organized, assertive, and on top with any announcements of practices every week.”

Korean FON, or KFON, has dances focused on many quick formation transitions in one dance. That can be difficult when you have so many dancers and dances to teach and perfect. Sammi Zeng, a senior and leader of KFON, said that to perfect every dance, she has to “send messenger texts and emails and make free time incredibly easy. [she is] able to plan individual practices during the day to rehearse with any students who need extra help.” Despite having nearly 130 dancers in her FON, Sammi enjoys her time as leader because “having nearly 130 students definitely livens up the mood. During practice run throughs, where everyone is gathered together, students cheer on their friends and sing along to some of their favorite songs.”  

The most difficult challenge of being one of the biggest FONs is the pressure of time. Having to teach multiple dances in a two month span to different dancers seems like a daunting task. Moitrayee Dhar, senior and leader of Bollywood FON, said that an “important element for success in such size is organization and planning. [The Bollywood FON leaders] choreographed each dance to a deadline and categorized each of the students based on their strengths and weaknesses.”

FON is one of the largest school events for Harrisites, and as Moitrayee said, as a leader, no matter how big the FON is, “it’s important to remember that you want each and every person to feel or be included, so you have to take measures to make sure that happens.”

Aleksandre strongly believes in building a friendship with each and every dancer. “While FON may be a serious performance to some, I believe it’s supposed to be an environment that people enjoy going to,” he said. “Anything like a few simple words of motivation, a joke, or befriending them is something that I try my best to do during all practices. My goal as a leader is to make sure that Flip FON practice isn’t just a dancing practice, but a gathering of family that my members look forward to going to after school every day.”