REVIEW: Illuminations: A World Showcase

I must admit how much of a relief this show was from my typical attended performances. Don’t get me wrong, fine arts are truly extraordinary experiences that should not be often missed, but the dynamics of a student-run performance are far more different when compared to some of the best performers from around the world. An audience full of overflowing bursts of laughter, oohs-and-ahhs from edge-of-your-seat excitement, and the best part of all — enduring support from one another. Given that we are watching student performers who are not masters of dance or singing or whatever have you, there will be reasonable mishaps that occur on stage. Nonetheless, the support shown by fellow peers in the audience gives a friendly reminder that it is okay to mess up sometimes and those watching will only help encourage you to keep going. I always feel a sense of inspiration when watching my fellow classmates illicit such bravery in front of an audience to showcase their hard work that occurs outside of the classroom. It also makes me so happy to witness the enthusiasm of those in the audience whose friends are performing on stage.

I am extremely appreciative of the efforts made by the Central Student Government to hold this initiative of showcasing its diverse student clubs on campus. We were able to not only see respective dance moves but also respective clothing/costumes and hear distinct music as well. The lineup was as follows: Michigan Izzat, Rxn, Cangaco Capoeira, Maize Mirchi, Hipnotics, Revolution, Alpha Phi Alpha, Leim, Female Gayo, Michigan Ballroom, and Photonix To point out some of my favorites, I was particularly engaged during the Cangaco Capoeira performance, mainly due to their moves being so intense that I was in fear of someone getting hurt…that’s how action-filled their performance was! Another favorite was by Maize Mirchi, a South Asian a cappella group. They even sang one of my favorite songs by Ellie Goulding! Lastly, I was fairly intrigued by the Irish dancing women of Leim.

Now, of course, I cannot fail to mention the campus-favorites who tend to usually appear at plenty of events — Revolution and Photonix! If you still have yet to see even a snippet of one of their performances, you are undoubtedly missing out. After seeing both of their performances on different occasions, I am convinced that there is something about seeing so many different colors flying around at once and objects pivoting across the stage that eludes to happiness. Perhaps it is though, seeing these activities bring back the best childhood memories of fun out of us. Thanks to this showcase, I am highly looking forward to seeing all of these groups in a full performance of their own.

PREVIEW: Shift Talent Showcase

Art is a powerful tool for community awareness and social change, which is why Redefine, a student organization that connects social justice and the arts, has coordinated Shift, an event intended to highlight the immigrant experiences of students on campus, as well as to champion diversity within the Michigan community.

Shift will feature artists from the Middle East, India, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Brazil, as well as from many more areas. There will be narratives that center around the experiences of immigrants, refugees, and international students. The event will feature multicultural performances, a two-hour art exhibition, and FREE FOOD.

I am a member of Redefine, and I know that the e-board has been working tirelessly for the past few weeks in preparation for this upcoming event, partnered with the student organizations Zeta Omega Eta, Refugees to College, Iraqi Student Association, Students Organize for Syria, and The Call for Humanity. Please check it out! This event promises to be a spectacular night.

Event details:
When: Thursday November 16, 7-9PM
Where: The Pendleton Room at the Michigan Union
Cost: FREE!!!

PREVIEW: Illuminations: A World Showcase

With the University of Michigan’s Bicentennial Year coming to a close, our beloved Central Student Government will be hosting its very own Illuminations World Showcase (not to be confused with the spectacular IllumiNations performance at the World’s Happiest Place on Earth!). However, with a similar approach to that of Disney’s Epcot World Showcase, CSG’s intent is on celebrating the diversity of its student communities here at the University. Although the Bicentennial Year comes with celebrating the University’s history and milestones achieved, the Illuminations Showcase is intended to foster a vision of the legacy we strive to see the University uphold for its many years to come.

This event is comprised of two parts: a food fair of numerous authentic, international cuisines followed by a performance exemplifying our students’ talents from across the globe. Some of the groups you can expect to see are the African Students Association and Arab Students Association along with many others.

The food fair will be held at Ingalls Mall at 5 PM and the culture show at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre in the Michigan League at 7 PM. Both events are entirely free with no tickets necessary.

PREVIEW: Ragamala Dance Company

The Ragamala Dance Company is a group that performs the South Indian classical dance bharatanatyam. This performance will be based around the game Paramapadam (from which Snakes and Ladders originated) as well as the 12th-century Persian epic The Conference of the Birds. The board game will be represented by paintings projected on the floor, done by Chennai-based visual artist Keshav. “The live music for Written in Water is composed and performed by Amir ElSaffar, interwoven with original South Indian Carnatic compositions by Prema Ramamurthy” (UMS).

I have never been to a bharatanatyam performance with live music before, and ElSaffar’s music is a really beautiful blend of different styles. Furthermore, the fact that they are blending visual arts, music, and dance is so exciting. I can’t wait to see how they blend those types of art into the Hindu and Sufi traditions that form the context of the performance. The performance is Friday, October 20, at 8pm in the Power Center. Tickets are available at ums.org.

(Photo credit: Bruce Palmer/UMS)

REVIEW: ENSPIRED

While EnspiRED is a fashion organization, they described the showcase last night as their annual multimedia event.  The purpose was to highlight the work of all artists around campus, making last night “more than just fashion.”

There were two paintings and a photo print making up the display part of the event, while the majority of the night consisted of live performances.  There were no labels on the visual art but I got a photo of the canvases near the door.

Chase Garrett, a poet, was the first live performer.  It was a political narrative preaching optimism even though the state of America is less than favorable at the moment.  It seemed to resonate with the audience, who was very responsive throughout the evening.

Next was a singer/guitarist, Jake Lemond.  While he reminded me a little of The Lumineers’ main singer, he was unique with his stage presence and skill with the guitar.  He played three songs, most of them alternating between a Travis pick-style verse and a strummed chorus.  There was a lot of strum pattern and vocal variation which made each song different.  He even used harmonics at the end of his last song!

Dennis London, another poet, came next.  His first piece was a rap in the middle of a song played over the speakers.  His second was, in my opinion, a love poem.  He called himself a “photographer by day” and talked about his newly-published book.  The book is about how happiness is earned.  The motivational speech he gave at the end of his performance seemed to be a snippet of that message.

After that, the dance group Ambiance performed.  They were an all-female group.  Their performance was an interesting mix of modern dance, showcasing fluidity of movement and form.  They also incorporated some ballet movements into the piece (which I only recognized because of a history of dance class I’m taking this semester) as interludes between dance exchanges.  I was sitting near the back, however, so it was difficult to see what they were doing sometimes as there was a lot of groundwork.

Unfortunately, my phone died during intermission and I was unable to take notes for the second part of the night.  It was, overall, a very cool experience.