8th Annual Soulstice Explores Campus-wide Culture

Photo Courtesy to Maud Charlet

By Maud Charlet

UCI brought back Soulstice to the Bren Events Center for the eighth time on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Students competed to be elected best of their category by the audience. A variety of performances, from African and Indian dances to jazz songs, filled the Bren for a two-and-a-half-hour show. The creative talents demonstrated by these fellow Anteaters evoked mainly love, dreams, and UCI spirit.

Photo Courtesy to Maud Charlet

The audience responded enthusiastically to the diversity of music and dance styles that the show offered. On stage, performers showed high-quality work, introducing the audience to energetic hip-hop dances with Level V Origins, Indian movements with Rang de Irvine and African dances with West African Dance Group (WADG). Surprising voices, such as that of Catherine Bungay, were heard. The young performer sang “Set Me Free,” where she “nailed the bridge” according to the judges. The audience was also able to enjoy jazz with Miles Behind and rock with The Kosmics.

The panel of judges — UCI Alumni and dancer Erica Klein, actress and dancer Sabrina Bryan from famous pop girl group The Cheetah Girls, and singer-songwriter AJ Rafael — congratulated the performers for the quality of their work. Rafael said he had been to a lot of universities, but to him, UCI was the best in terms of talent.

The hosts of the night, UCI comedy troupe Soulstice League, performed live and filmed sketches and songs between performances. They stuck to the theme of celebrating and showcasing a portrait of life as an Anteater; for instance, they changed the Disney song “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid to make it “Down in OC”. The troupe also performed sketches such as waiting for their boba tea and the tribulations of changing majors. Unfortunately, the troupe failed to avoid stereotypes about masculinity, especially in the videos they projected depicting, for instance, a college student kissing his muscles and behaving as a chauvinist.

At the end of the show, singers and dancers came back together onstage to hear the results of the public’s votes. Vermillion Vocalists, who sang “Ultralight Beam” by Kanye West, won the Best Overall Performer award. Destinee Foster competed with the group and in a duet with Vermillion Vocalists member Noah Paige.

Photo Courtesy to Maud Charlet

“It is a complete shock. This is my first time competing”, said the freshman student.

In other categories, Rang De Irvine won the Best Dance award for their energetic cultural Bhangra, Miles Behind won the Best Band award for their blood-thumping performance, Uniting Voices won Best A Cappella and Catherine Bungay won Best Solo/Duet for her impeccable display of vocal range. As the audience left, the artists celebrated backstage, jumping and taking pictures together with their awards; the Bren shortly went back to its nightly calm environment after this cheerful evening.