Arts Slam Concludes and Recognizes Students’ Talents

Photo Courtesy / ESU Flickr The Xplosion Step Team captivates viewers and won first place for their grand performance named “Stepping with a Purpose.”

By Richard MacTough 

Staff Writer

On April 2, the Arts Slam took place in the Fine Performing and Arts Center as one of the first events during ESU’s annual Global Week.   

Professor of Theatre Stephanie French and Department Chair of Art and Design Joni Oye-Benintende were the arts slam coordinators. 

French said, “It was impressive to see the level of talent at ESU in so many performing art areas such as music and dance. I was moved by young artists creating work that speaks to their heritage, passion and struggles. It was beautiful.”   

Ali Weider’s “Woven Histories” started out as a collaborative assignment for one of her courses. 

The second-place performance for Theatre was written when students interviewed family members as a way to create stories. 

“French approached me after we presented the monologues and we discussed compiling a bunch of the individual projects into a video as a way to share people’s stories with a larger audience,” said Weider, 
“The script is written directly from the students gathered from their families.”

First place went to “So Kiss me Already Herschel Gertz.” 

Gabriella Solano and Samuel Kashefska won their performance of “Beneath Your Beautiful” by the famous artist Labrinth in the category of music.   

Solano said, “I picked this song because the song speaks to me and should speak to others. Everyone should open up to more people and let them see you for who you really are. A lot of people—including me—put up walls and sometimes you have to let your guard down and let people in. That is why I chose it.” 

Jenna Worrell won her performance of poetry written by Alexis Ryan called “Beauty.”

“Stepping with a Purpose” was choregraphed and performed by The Xplosion Step Team. It won first prize in the category of dance.  The Xplosion Step Team is a popular organization at ESU and was founded in 2008.   

Xplosion Step Team Secretary Marcell McKenzie elaborated the performance as something the organization does for fun, but also wanted to create for important issues to them. 

“We step because it is fun and it is something that we enjoy doing but getting set for this particular performance made us realize that we could truly use our skills to bring forth important issues regarding the black community,” said McKenzie.   

McKenzie also talked about the obstacles for the step team as well: “One of our main obstacles would have to have been finding a balance between our piece and reality. We wanted to leave a lasting impact without making it seem as if we were personally attacking groups of people.”

The Musical Theatre Organization won for their performance of “One Day More” from “Les Misérables” by Claude-Michel Schonberg. The group won in the category of musical theatre.   

“Breathe” from “In the Heights” by Lin-Manuel Miranda was performed by Angelica Ramirez coming in second place. 

Alyssa Gonzalez said, “I was really impressed with Angelica’s performance.”

Kristina Turturiello won for her piece in the graphic design category. 

Gonzalez won the prize for her series of Goddess paintings on display in the art gallery.

She described each painting as representing women she knows personally for their individual strengths.   

One painting depicts a woman sitting drenched in purple clothing with a jaguar beside her. 

Andreas Almor won first place for his sculpture. The sculpture was originally supposed to have collages of his parents.

The collages were separated from the sculpture but were hanging up on the walls of the gallery.

“I originally made my project into two parts, said Alomar, 
“It was my parents picture first and then me. It was a part of all the images they made and it originally it would go up with the statue. The statue would originally show from them meeting. They made all these memories and all these memories created a whole different person.” 

He described it as being a cycle of creation. The statue is of Alomar himself.   

ESU describes Global Week as being their largest campus-wide initiative engaging the community in cultural celebration of international traditions.

There were events about social justice and diversity throughout the week.

Not only did they have events about heavy topics though. They also had one featuring a variety of animals on April 3.

Winners of each category were awarded $100 in e-dollars.

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