Author: Sydney Hemmendinger
The stump was back and ready to be rubbed Feb. 26 as Apollo Night returned triumphantly to a packed Thorne Hall. The Black Student Alliance’s (BSA) annual show consistently displays some of the finest and most varied talents on campus, and this year’s group of performers proved no exception.
Emcees Chance Ward* (sophomore) and Nina Monet Reynoso (senior) were a match made in co-host heaven, ensuring there was not a dull moment between acts. Their witty repartee and onstage chemistry kept the audience engaged and eager to see what lay ahead.
The show was comprised of 15 unique acts that, despite their differences, all had one thing in common: high energy.
Juniors Reilly Brown, Micah Garrido, Abel Quintero and Tiffany Goh opened the show with a groovy performance of “Funky Duck.” The soul and vivacity continued throughout the eight consecutive performances in the first act.
The second act featured Apollo Night’s winner, Euella Jackson (junior). Jackson performed a powerful spoken word piece describing her experiences with the all too common and all too confusing “friends with benefits” relationship. The poem overflowed with Jackson’s raw emotion.
“It’s a little bit raw, and hopefully people will be able to relate to it,” Jackson said.
Another act that the audience chose for the top three was Maayan Lev’s (junior) original rendition of the Britney Spears classic, “Oops, I Did It Again.” Although his piano accompanist was a no-show, Lev had no problem captivating the crowd with his powerful voice.
Emily Applewhite (senior), Jessica Fay (junior) and Pepperdine student Amanda Stevenson’s jump rope routine rounded out the top spots. The jump rope trio stupefied the audience with their gravity-defying stunts, effortlessly weaving in and out of a Double Dutch and doing cartwheels and handstands without missing a beat or stepping on the rope.
Apollo Night also featured the debut performance of Oxy’s newest dance group, The Dance Collective, headed by BSA executive board member Dalin Celamy (senior). The troupe captivated the crowd with its clean and sharp moves. Celamy had wanted to start a dance project for a few semesters, and with his time at Oxy waning, he felt that his last Apollo Night was the perfect place to unveil his project.
“I wanted to showcase not only my choreography but the dancers here at Oxy’s abilities,” Celamy said.
Later, Earl Park (senior) and Daniel Waruingi (first year) teamed up to perform a vibrant and serious two-man cipher, combining both of their own writings. Park rapped about his personal struggles with depression and thanked his family for their support, then began spitting in both Japanese and Korean. Daniel composed his portion shortly after the occupation of the Arthur G. Coons Administrative Center in November and conveyed his heartfelt message with quick vocal acrobatics.
“The overall theme is ‘watch out’ because there are smart students of color at this school, and we are on the rise, and we will not stop,” Waruingi said.
Another notable performance was Karim Sharif’s (sophomore) improvisational beat creation aided by his loop pedal, guitar and vocal chord. Sharif put together an instrumental based on ideas he asked the audience to shout out, ranging from peanut butter to “these shoes ain’t sh-t,” which served as the instrumental’s base lyric.
The final act of the night — the annual Kappa Alpha Psi stroll performance featuring Jesse Wong (senior) — served as a rhythmic close to the show. Apollo Night’s funky energy and nostalgic tears left Thorne’s audience satisfied.
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