This past Saturday, I attended Spec-Spec, a talent show put on by Lehigh students which took place in Grace Hall. This show featured many different performances, ranging from dance groups like African Renaissance to a Chinese yoyo act. The show also included many opportunities for audience volunteers to keep everyone engaged.
I was invited to the event on Facebook about a month before it took place, but did not consider going until my friend Emma Stevenson told me she would be performing in it as a part of Latin Dance. This was the push I needed to attend, as I wanted to go to see Emma’s performance and show my support.
The event started at 8 p.m., so my friends and I decided to go out to a casual dinner before the event. We went to Tulum, a Mexican restaurant which happens to be one of my favorite restaurants on the South Side. I ordered my usual for when I go there, “the Mayan,” a burrito dish with chicken, rice, lettuce, pico de gallo, pineapple, and avocado.
It tasted incredibly fresh and my friends and I enjoyed the comfortable atmosphere, highlighted by a chalkboard menu, a guitar hanging from the wall, and patterned tiles and tablecloths to add to the experience of eating Mexican cuisine.
After dinner, we decided to head up to Grace Hall to get to Spec-Spec a little early. Despite the cold weather, it was easily walkable and took us about 10 minutes to get there. As we walked in, I was greeted by an usher at the door and was given a lollipop, which was a very nice touch.
Almost all of the seats were filled by the 8 p.m. start time. Being that Spec-Spec took place during D-Life weekend, the event attracted both Lehigh students and prospective students who wanted to watch their current or future peers perform.
The show started a few minutes after 8 p.m. with performances by African Renaissance, Swing Club, Sigma Gamma Rho, Belly Dance, Echoes a-cappella, FwB rock band, Latin Dance, LU’s Finest Step Team, Chinese yoyo done by Allen Chan, Overdoze dance team, Leela, LU’s Dance Team, Dancin’, and Bad Company.
It was a great experience to be able to see many of my friends and peers, some of whom I didn’t even know were on dance teams, showcase their talents. I particularly enjoyed the variety and uniqueness of each of these performances. They ranged all across the spectrum, from hip hop dance to swing dance to even the Chinese yoyo. There was a very good balance of different styles of music and performances that kept me engaged for the full two hours.
Interestingly, two of the performances incorporated the current presidential election in their acts. Bad Company started their act by poking fun at politics and LU’s Dance Team sported matching shirts which read “Kanye 2020” to go along with their Kanye West themed dance mashup. Other groups like African Renaissance, Latin Dance, Belly Dance, and Leela featured more cultural aspects in their attire and choice of music. I greatly enjoyed being exposed to this genre of dance, music, and dress that I otherwise would not have known much about.
On top of the variety of performances, the three student MCs did an excellent job engaging the audience. The talent show was structured as a competition where the winning act would get a cash prize, so the MCs recruited a handful of audience volunteers to be judges who would decide the winners. In addition, the MCs called upon audience members to compete in a singing contest and a dancing contest in between acts. One particularly memorable volunteer was a little girl, probably about seven years old, and her younger sister who both went up on stage to sing in front of us. They were absolutely adorable and got a huge standing ovation from the audience. This was a nice personal touch at Spec-Spec and I enjoyed the spontaneity involved in having fellow audience members like these sisters get up on stage and perform.
The final dance of the event included various members from all dance teams coming together as one group to perform for the audience one last time. I really liked this aspect of Spec-Spec since it showed all the teams unite as a whole.
At the end of the event, the judges collaborated to determine the who the winners of the final cash prizes would be. They gave the first place prize to the hip hop group Bad Company, the second place prize to African Renaissance, and the third place prize to another hip hop group, Overdoze.
All of the groups had spectacular performances, and it makes me wonder how much time and effort they spend practicing their routines. I also noticed that there were quite a few people who performed in more than one group, so I wonder how difficult it is for them to manage their time and memorize multiple dance routines.
Overall, the level of talent exhibited by my Lehigh peers at Spec-Spec was incredible and I had a very enjoyable time watching them. The performances even made me want to join a dance team at Lehigh, despite the fact that I have virtually no dancing ability whatsoever. I highly recommend events like this for anyone looking to sit back, relax, and enjoy some quality performances. In addition, I look forward to attending similar events like this in the future.
-Gabrielle Pomerantz, ’18