By Catie Byrne
Valentines Day offered a special treat for the children of the Warnersville Community Recreation Center, as the creative development workshop, Community Play!/All Stars hosted a talent show audition.
Facilitated by Dr. Omar Ali and coordinated by Domonique Edwards, Emily McNair, Gaylan Wright, Mariah Hunt, Michelle Medley and myself, attendants performed unique talents ranging from singing, dancing, poetry, basketball and cartwheels.
As most performers are young children, there were ground rules set for audience members, namely, to clap for every performer, because the objective of Community Play!/All Stars is to encourage growth and development through positive reinforcement. It is a talent show audition that celebrates talents, interests and passions through play, not competition.
Beginning at 2 p.m., children signed in and assembled into the Warnersville Community Recreation Center gym, playing with basketballs, footballs and each other.
The show began with Ali leading an assortment of games, “Woosh,” “Dr. know-it-all” and “zip, zap, zop,” in which volunteers gathered in a line or circle, the audience engaging each player to say specific or random words on cue. The intention of the games was to focus the more than 30 wriggling and talkative young audience members on the performers.
As the rambunctious audience settled down, the first performance began. “Jaguar,” a four-girl cheerleading group danced to music with four step-inspired original dances. The girls rejoined the audience as the “South Side Boys” took their place.
The large group of boys aged anywhere from five to 12 bounced with excitement across the gym with a basketball to play “Knock-out,” in which two boys competed to shoot a basket first, the person unable to make the first basket made out, a process repeated until one remained. The winner then successfully shot a basket halfway across the court and returned to his seat.
James Love then took the stage to perform his original poem, “The Red Poem,” detailing his personal heartbreak of being separated from his incarcerated love. The moving poem stood out from the otherwise lighthearted performances, but was impressive nonetheless.
Performer Jamaiqua followed Love with an acapella rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. Her unique vocal timbre and smooth, soulful style made for a beautiful performance.
After Jamaiqua, there was a slight lull, in which Ali took the opportunity to showcase his own goofy talent of ear, nose and scalp wiggling to encourage the audience to perform anything they wanted.
The “Jaguar” girls and “South Side Boys” then rejoined the stage with volunteers and coordinator Mariah for a “boys versus girls dance off.” They danced in a similarly slow style until the music accompanying them stopped and the boys conceded that the girls won.
Coordinator Domonique then stood to perform a solo interpretive dance to Beyoncé’s “Halo”. As one of her majors is dance, the trained, smooth and fluid moves did not fail to rhythmically sway pleasantly in time with the music.
The talent show audition drew to a close with kids from the previous performances rejoining the stage to tumble and cartwheel across the gym with impressive flexibility until they tired and rejoined the audience.
The next talent show audition will be March 7, the talent show April 18, both at Warnersville Community Recreation Center from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and is open to all ages and talents.