International Talent Show returns to UArizona

March 25, 2024
Participants of this year's International Talent Show on stage
Student Voices text

This spring, the International Talent Show made its return to campus after a multiyear hiatus. Forced to put the show on pause for a few years due to COVID, this year’s multicultural talent show returned to Stevie Eller Dance Theater, thanks to the efforts of the International Student Services team. This year’s participants delighted the crowd with singing and dancing, as well as musical and oratory performances. The theater was packed with an audience of over 150 people, who took part in the final decision process in choosing the winner. 

The first participants were the Lajkonik Polish Folk Ensemble which showcased their talent with a dance performance from the Rzeszow region in southeastern Poland. The ensemble was founded in 1998 by Joanna Schmit to keep Polish folk dances and traditions alive. The group performs more than 20 times a year across the country and brought their energetic and vibrant performance to the UArizona Stevie Eller stage. The group placed third overall in the competition. Watch and listen to Lajkonik Polish Folk Ensemble

They were followed by Ange SEMI BI, an exchange student from France at the UArizona studying political science. Ange gave an oratory performance on Martin Luther King Jr’s, “I Have a Dream” speech, reciting in both the original English and his native French. Watch and listen to Ange.

“For me, delivering an extract from this speech today is a way of paying tribute to a great man and remembering all the great things he brought to our world,” said Ange who will be returning to his home country after the spring semester to pursue a master’s degree. 

Azat Kuttugaliev was the next participant to take the Stevie Eller stage. Azat is an international student from Kyrgyzstan and a freshman studying computer science. Azat sang a song in his native language, Kyrgyz, titled “Aytchy.” The talent show was the perfect opportunity for Azat to share a song he enjoyed with the campus community. Watch and listen to Azat.   

“When I was back in my country, I performed this song at my prom, and I thought about how much I would love to perform somewhere else, maybe in the U.S. So, I thought if I had the opportunity to perform here, then I would do it,” said Azat.

Next to the stage was Maximus Luevanos, a student at UArizona studying Neuroscience, Japanese, and Biochemistry. Although Maximus is from the U.S., and his heritage is from Mexico, he is interested in Japanese culture because he lived in Japan as a child. Maximus performed a Jazz Shakuhachi Melody, utilizing the Theshakuhachi, a traditional Japanese flute. Watch and listen to Maximus.

The fifth performer and second-place overall winner was Subhana Snigdha, a sophomore studying Aerospace Engineering, with a minor in mechanical engineering. Subhana wanted to represent her country and its culture through a dance performance to the song “Cholo Bangladesh,” which translates to “Let’s Go, Bangladesh.” Watch and listen to Subhana.

“This song is a call to unity, determination, and progress, urging people to come together and strive for a better tomorrow while extending its message to the world,” Subhana said. “It speaks of the collective spirit of Bangladeshi people, their aspirations for a better future, and their readiness to overcome challenges, aiming to make a mark on the world stage.”

The final performer to take the stage was Danial Bazmandeh with his performance, Persian Echos, earning him first place in the talent show. Danial is an international student from Iran pursuing a Ph.D. in Computer Science. He describes himself as a passionate musician and extrovert. 

His musical performance featured Danial singing timeless Persian pop, accompanied by skilled strumming of his guitar. “I really want to thank my friend who encouraged me to sign up, and to everyone who heard my Persian songs,” Danial said. “I love to think that through my performance I can help many people become aware of Persian music and its culture.” Watch and listen to Danial.

Watch and listen to the entire performance playlist.