Arts and Entertainment

Annual Tertulia is a smash hit all day

By Alex Gershanov
Published: April 2009

Hordes of students formed blockades in the halls as they made their way to the auditorium to claim seats for Tertulia on Thursday, April 9.

Countless students, desperate to see the spectacular acts, begged and pleaded for their teachers to sneak them in, often to no avail. This chaotic scene, kept relatively at bay by faculty supervision, persisted throughout all of what might possibly be the best day of the year.

Tertulia has been given annually since 1998 in memory of Maxine Chansky who was a junior at Newton South when she died suddenly while participating in a Native American community service project. Chansky was a lover of art, music, and culture and would have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the highly anticipated Tertulia event. The auditorium was packed with students and faculty eager to see the long-awaited show.
This year’s Tertulia included a diverse collection of performances ranging from beat-boxing to slam poetry to perilous high-wire hula hoop gymnastics.

Students were often entertained in between acts by corny jokes and minute-long skits put on by the MCs hosting the event. G Block’s Tertulia began with a sentimental note when one of the MCs, Matt Shea, asked senior Anya-Whelan Smith to this year’s prom.

All of these small contributions by the MCs helped the audience connect with the show, add a flair of originality to the picture, and make this year’s Tertulia run smoothly, allowing it to reach its star power potential.

Numerous schools bands played original songs or performed covers. The bands that performed at the show included (but were not limited to) Vitamin Seed, Plums, Pajammin’, Kitchens, <3Jazzfoxx, Flo and James, and Don’t Look Back.

Each band put on a memorable performance despite the occasional mistuned guitar, faulty microphone, or unplugged power jack. The bands, each unique in their own ways, left the audience clapping to the beat and singing along, enjoying themselves the whole way through.

Tertulia also featured a wide variety of dances from ethnic to jazz to hip hop.

Seniors Shakti Nochur and Vanya Mehta preformed a traditional Indian dance that wowed the audience and left them wanting more. The traditional vibe of the Indian dancing opened the audience’s eyes to a new world of culture and customs.

Senior Elana Gelzhinsky and sophomore Laura Haime both did their part by performing different forms of belly dancing. Haime, a native of Colombia performed a traditional belly dance that brought a new light to the popular mode of dance.

Haime graced the audience with her elegant choreography, and her energetic performance kept everyone happy. It was a perfect combination of traditional and modern belly dancing. Gelzhinsky belly danced in a more modern way which captivated the audience during G block.

Sophomores Chaela Jones, LaJesha Grahm, and Jeffrey Alkins formed a well-received three part dance. The first part, a solo by Alkins consisted of contemporary dance, Jones then performed a tap dance and Grahm danced a more modern, urban hip-hop number. Despite the differences in the various forms of dance, the three managed to pull it all together to make it unforgettable.

Multiple dance studios made appearances at Tertulia as well, including the Dance Academy at Siagel Productions, Joanne Langione Dance Center, and Paulette’s Dance Studio. In addition, South’s own dance team put on a memorable performance towards the end of the G block show. All groups were able to showcase their hard work through these performances.

Several students recited slam poetry with skill and eloquence, including, seniors Dan Friedman, and Juli Spier. Spier performed an original piece about disliking the process of editing because one cannot erase and undo their mistakes in real life. While Friedman slammed, “I wanna be able to wipe away my sisters’ tears with a copy of the Constitution that doesn’t take away her right to say I do.

Junior Sarah Garson performed a unique act involving complex gymnastics while hanging off a hula hoop suspended from the ceiling of the stage. The audience watched perilously, fearing that something would go wrong, but Garson pulled through.

Sophomores Kian Farshadi and Mike Rosenberg performed a comedic song, comprised almost entirely of oxymorons. The audience particularly enjoyed Rosenberg’s last oxymoron, “happily married.
Numerous vocal acts were put on by students at Tertulia as well. Senior Mike Penzo, apart from playing a piece on his flute, sang opera; and South’s gospel choir, Harambee, put on a soulful performance, rousing the audience; South’s Newtones performed in the show as well.

Other performances included Tal and A. Wal, who performed a beat-boxing duo during the A block show, Cabaret ‘Ëœ09, Marley Shelton and Nina Bellio, and The Festival Singers.

The success of Tertulia was only possible through the dedication and commitment of the Tertulia Club that helped to organize the event, and the stage crew which continuously moved equipment and set pieces on and off the stage. A memorable aspect of the show was the brilliant light show put on by the crew that accompanied many of the acts. Students particularly appreciated the flashing strobe lights that came on during many of the dance performances, and even some music performances, giving them a “club feel.
Everyone enjoyed the break from school and work that they got by watching the show and relaxing with their friends.Countless talented students from a variety of grades and backgrounds performed at Tertulia this year, making the show outstanding and quite impressive.

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