Dancers, musicians and a veteran magician shared classic and contemporary performances from around the globe at the Cross Cultural Friendship Club’s Spring Talent Show.
American and International students from diverse backgrounds worked side by side to put on the event. The CCFC collaborated with several student organizations to build the evening’s program. The talent show’s scheduled events included music, dance, comedy, scavenger hunts and magic.
“[CCFC] gave me a lot of friends,” said Bamuluarachchi, who emigrated to the U.S. last semester from Sri Lanka. The talent show was her first attempt at MC’ing an event, and credits the CCFC for helping her build confidence.
Jan and Dave Kolstad followed up Jishin Taiko’s set with “Mechanical Cowboy,” a two-person comedy sketch about an encounter between Jan and a malfunctioning, quick-drawing, coin-operated cowboy played by Dave. Jan would resolve her robotic cowboy’s technical difficulties with a gentle peck on the cheek that elicited a warm response from the audience.
The next performer, CFCC member Candido Candelaria, displayed an appreciation for music from the old-world with his solo renditions of European classical guitar masterpieces.
Candido would later return to the stage with Martin Lopez and Yetzal Vicot to celebrate their Native American heritage. The trio demonstrated ritual music originating from the Chumash, Mexica, and Navajo traditions.
Performers representing the Filipino American Students Association exhibited the duality of their ancestry with two traditional dances. The first, a courtship dance from the Philippines’s colonial period, told the story of three barong clad suitors competing to win the affection of a gown wearing maiden.
Their second performance, taken from the Philippines’s indigenous roots, was a kinetic display; students donned approximations of pre-colonial clothing and ran, stomped, and twirled in time to live percussion.
CFCC special event coordinator, Jonathan Lo, also performed two sets at the event. His act included renditions of modern Chinese pop songs, and an interpretive dance. His musical selections showcased Cantonese music, which Lo feels is underrepresented in America. He dedicated his sets to friends he made through the CCFC.
Inki Hong and Jay Kim of the CSUN International Student’s Association closed out the student performances for the evening with a set of popular Korean hip-hop music. Their presentation was a highlight for many attendees, including the CCFC’s President, Chaiyhaghone “M” Kuptanisakorn, who co-MC’d the the event along with CFCC’s Vice-President, Roshini Bamuluarachchi.
The event’s headliner, magician Johnny Ace Palmer, took the stage following the volunteer performances. His act’s blend of sleight of hand magic and humor kept the crowd engaged through the close of the 2-and-a-half hour event, and generated a standing ovation from the crowd. After the show Palmer invited attendees to pet the chicks, dove and rabbit he seemingly pulled out of mid-air during his illusions.
Attendees like Zhiyin Wang welcomed the opportunity to explore unfamiliar customs offered by the show. She found certain demonstrations, like the Native American vocal trio, “difficult to understand,” but was thankful for the chance to observe intimate and ancient traditions.
The show was held March 19 at the University Student Union in Northridge.