“Bringing it On” - the Insider’s View
A conversation with Haiqal and Yasmin, two of the lead actors in this year’s ISKL High School musical “Bring it On.”
Yasi: To quote one of the songs from this year’s high school fall musical, “Bring it On”, “When you look back, these High School years will be nothing more than a blip. So, you might as well enjoy the trip” (Lin Manuel Miranda). I feel like these words perfectly encapsulate the remarkable, breathtaking nature of being a part of this year’s musical. For those of you who may be unaware, “Bring it On” the musical focuses on a high schooler named Campbell who has what she imagines to be the “perfect” life. Living out her childhood dream, she's the captain of the cheerleading squad, is popular and is working towards acquiring gold at nationals for cheerleading. That is, until she gets transferred to a different high school across town, where her life essentially turns upside down.
Haiqal: Yasi, I couldn’t agree more! This entire experience has been a trip - and to think that I came upon the experience rather casually! The first time I heard about the musical “Bring It On” it was towards the end of my Junior year, and I was on my way to the gym, when I saw a group of my friends heading elsewhere. Calling out to me, they said they were heading to do cheerleading. Initially, I had zero interest in this, and didn't bother to listen, however upon second thought, I thought “Why not?”. I figured that since it’s my last year in this amazing school, why not go out with a bang by doing something I have never done in front of anyone before. I started going for more pre-season practices dancing, cheering and singing (which I can’t even do). Eventually, senior year came around and I was not that hyped for the audition. I just wanted to get it over with, but of course, my mom heard about me bailing on this amazing opportunity to be a star and reminded me of the times I used to act, dance and sing in my old school. She reminded me of my days cheering for my old team, and doing simple stunts. Upon hearing this, I did what any good child would do, listened to my mom, tried out and boom I got a lead role as Steven. Steven may not be the brightest of characters but he is the boyfriend of Campbell to whom he pays little or no attention to, he is a Cheerleader in one of the schools and is a narcissist. During the past few weeks of rehearsals, I have grown to love the play with all the amazing stunts and dances, the acting scenes and being able to truly be the character I am playing.
Yasi: My experience was a little different because I felt drawn to participate in “Bring it On” due to performing arts thus far being a very integral part of my high school experience, and I wanted to finish my high school years with one last curtain call. However, not I, nor anyone, could anticipate how electrifying being a part of the musical has been; a feeling which is in large owed to our sensational directors, Mrs. Casey, Ms. Palko and Mrs. Baird, as well as the cheer coaches that have been hired to help with the cheerleading.
Because cheerleading is such a central aspect of the musical, through ISKL’s Inspiration Fund (which is largely raised by the PTA), the directors of the musical were able to hire cheer coaches from Cheer Aspirations, Malaysia’s first cheerleading company to help us with the performance. Cheer Aspirations is a professional cheerleading company, specializing in coaching, as well as putting on performances. Candy, the main coach assisting and teaching in ISKL, who has attended practically every rehearsal, has worked tirelessly to get us into shape. She has been consistently spectacular in making sure we (the performers) are simultaneously safe and skilled at the cheer moves and lifts. Jasmine Lambert, one of the high flyers of the musical agrees, “We have obviously had ups, downs and falls, but Candy and her team have been there every step of the way, coaching us and supporting us, and I know I had the support from the rest of the cast/team as well.”
Haiqal: The cheerleading stunts I am part of are no joke. Being able to see that one girl flying high doing all sorts of stunts is like magic. It really gets my body going and wanting to help the flyer be at an optimal height so she can perform the stunts. It is not just my responsibility to catch the flyer but also my other two bases need to support me. There are times where we have some extra time with the cheer coach and we do new more exciting stunts, which are highly skilled. Even though I do miss my times at the gym with the boys, I would say that cheer has made me stronger not only physically but mentally because now I have to always be on my toes to catch my flyer or help balance out one of my bases. Cheerleading has been nothing but joy to do.
Yasi: Of course, there’s no question that being a part of the musical has provided me with the opportunity to better myself as a performer; however, my largest takeaway has honestly been in relation to the people participating with me. From Candy, to the directors, to every member of the cast, I have felt emotionally (and physically) uplifted through the bonds I have made, and the strength of the bases who have quite literally both lifted me up, and caught me when I fall. Although senior year has proven to be work-intense, in 20 years I may look back on this time in my life and realize both how trivial many of my problems are, and what a small portion of my life high school really is. However, I know that this musical is something I can and will always be able to look back upon with pride and fulfilment.
Come see Yasi and Haiqal, and the whole amazing cast in “Bring it On” on October 3, 4 and 5, 2019. Tickets are available from the ISKL Booster Hut for RM20! Don’t miss it!