With the Prime Minister and the President in the audience, 14-year-old Daksh Chopra couldn’t have asked for a better stage to dance on. A student of Rohini’s Mount Abu school, he was one of the 150 students who performed at the Rajpath on Republic Day.
Dressed in colourful attire, and sporting buns, plaits and parted hair, the children put up a show representing the 10-member countries of ASEAN, whose leaders too were in attendance. “We were divided into groups, and each group did a dance form of one of the 10 ASEAN countries. I was in the Vietnam group and we did a fan dance. In December, we researched on the dance, watched videos and then devised a choreography,” said Nandini Madhukar (14).
It was in mid-December that the students, aged between 12 and 14, began rehearsing for the performance. “They spent the night in school on Thursday, had dinner there, got ready and reached Rajpath at 7 am on Friday. We watched the event on TV, and felt very proud that our daughter performed in front of such dignitaries… iski ek jhalak hi dikhi thi par bahut acha laga,” said Bhanu Ahlawat (45), mother of 14-year-old Himanshi.
The children slept at 8.30 pm and woke up at 1.30 am. “It was very exciting to spend the night in my classroom… we woke up, changed into our costumes, then our hair and make-up was done. We rehearsed at Rajpath before our performance at 10 am,” said Meemansha Malik (14), who performed the “itik-itik” dance form of Philippines.
Once the celebrations were over, the group headed for a photo shoot, and then back to school for lunch, before heading home. While Chopra called it a “day he would never forget”, he wished his parents were seated in the audience. “They watched it at home because we live really far away in Rohini… also the visuals are better on TV. But I still wish they were there,” he said.
From Monday, extra classes begin for those who performed on Republic Day. “Due to the rehearsals, we missed classes. Even though our teachers shared notes daily, we will now attend extra classes to catch up,” said Chopra.