USG talent show invites students to share art, find community

Maya Demchak-Gottlieb, Editor-In-Chief

In the William and Anita Newman Vertical Campus, students gathered in a portion of the multipurpose room to watch their friends perform in the spring talent show.All but one section of the room was cast in darkness, spotlighting the students performing on the makeshift stage.

Baruch College’s Undergraduate Student Government hosted the event on March 14 to celebrate Women’s History Month, but all students were welcome to share their art.

“I have always been singing but only in my bedroom,” Leslie Aucapina, one of the performers, said in a written statement.

Aucapina said performing in front of audience was a powerful experience for her. 

“I am now an aspiring singer-songwriter, but with stage fright I need to conquer,” she said. 

“The USG talent show gave me the opportunity to sing for people who were willing to listen and created a safe space for talents of all kinds. It was inspiring, to say the least.”

Leslie Gonzalez, another performer, said she was inspired to take the stage when she saw the post about the talent show on USG’s Instagram account.

She performed a traditional Mexican folkloric ballet from the state of Jalisco to the song “Aires del Mayab.”

“I had not danced or performed in a while, and overall I love sharing my Mexican culture [with] others” Gonzalez said in a written statement. “Something in me told me that I should dance.”

USG Chair of Arts Andrea Zhao and Rep. Sen. Karina Ordóñez spearheaded the event’s planning.

USG Chair of Marketing Adelaide Ilyasov advertised the event.

Ordóñez said she was passionate about organizing the talent show because it allows students to express themselves.

“If people have an outlet to showcase who they are, if people have an outlet to showcase their talents and if people have an outlet to let out emotions, it really makes a difference,” Ordóñez said.

The talent show featured 12 performances.

Leslie Aucapina, Anika Rios, Ma-Nogoy Faye and Elizabeth Mata sang.

Meilly Cenmo, Riki Lorenzo, Leslie Gonzalez, Anastasiia Perina and Samantha Rodriguez danced.

Matthew De La Cruz played the keyboard and Andrew Lu gave a musical performance. Noah Tobing sang and played the guitar.

Lorenzo said he appreciated getting to dance and watching the other performances.

“It was enlightening seeing how talented our school is,” Lorenzo said in a written statement. “I am a fan of everyone. I also had a great time dancing. I’m grateful for the opportunity to perform in front of an audience as a soloist dancer for the first time.”

Gonzalez said taking part in the talent show enabled her to connect with other students that performed or attended the event.

“As for me, it was able to get me a little out of my comfort zone and try something I would not have thought of doing,” she said. 

“I would love USG to host another talent show because I definitely know there are other students who have talents, and it would be an experience to bring people together.”

Ordóñez said she saw spectators and performers interact during a 20-minute intermission between the event’s two acts and after the performances ended.

“I saw people going up to the artists that performed, and they were like, ‘Wow! I didn’t know you could dance like that,’ or ‘You’re in my class! I didn’t know that you could sing like that,’ or people being like, ‘Wow! What’s your Instagram? I would love to see more of your work,’” she said.

Performers did not compete against each other for a prize.

“We didn’t want it to be a competition because everyone is talented,” Ordóñez said. “I’ve never agreed with talent show competitions, especially if it’s so many different talents, because how do you judge that? How do you judge someone’s ability to sing versus someone’s ability to dance? I feel like there’s no comparison. They’re both beautiful forms of art, and they both equally should be celebrated.”

While the talent show did not have one “winner,” Ordóñez said the event achieved its goal of uplifting talented students.

“Instead of having a prize of who’s better than the other person, it’s more of like no, we’re all amazing, everyone here is incredible, and we can celebrate that by giving these students a platform to showcase their talents,” she said.

Editor’s Note: Ma-Nogoy Faye is The Ticker’s Business Manager.