Trend savvy, vivacious, and coordinated were just a few thoughts that came to mind at the opening of the Black Finesse Modeling Troupe’s (BFMT) annual spring showcase last Monday evening in Stewart Theater. The crowd was excited to see what new talent and choreography would grace the stage as the music played by Evan Halley amplified the speakers of Stewart Theater. The theme of the showcase was loosely based off of legendary super model Tyra Banks’s hit reality television show “America’s Next Top Model” (ANTM). The show opened up with the hosts for the evening, Candace Lee, junior in business management, and Charles Jones, a senior in industrial and systems engineering with ice breakers coupled with “old school” song and dance.
The First stop on the BFMT tour throughout several genres of the latest fashion trends was a boot-camp inspired scene. A short clip from the 1995 film “Major Payne” was shown to open up this scene. The troupe used this as a platform to show their dedication to the organization, display new growth in membership as well as to recite their motto, “We were designed with one purpose in mind… to be the best!” Acting co-president Sherena Thurman and vice president Shauna Guyton begin a step in stilettos as they marched in place and completed several aerobic activities successfully without a flint or missing a beat. Chuxi is a Chinese term that indicates a new year marks a new experience and new beginning.
One by one the young men and women sashayed onto the stage wearing colorful kimonos and Asian inspired regalia just after showing a brief clip from America’s Next Top Model when the contestants participated in a runway show in China.
Vibrant makeup, accessories coupled with the synchronized movements choreographed by Michael Mills, a senior in pre-medical, pre-dental, left the crowd wanting more. Especially after noticing that after each scene a member of the troupe was removed from the portrait, which signified their dismissal from the “show” as compared to ANTM, when at the beginning of the season the women take a group photo and each time one of the contestants are voted off, their image is removed from the photo.
Next was a dramatic scene that called all the models to the runway for a “challenge.” This portion of the show was inspired by a scene from Queen of the Damned as the vampires begin to prey on their victims but brutally killing them one by one. The “American Gothic” scene was disturbing but visually attractive with the different styles of vampire attire with each couple entering the stage you didn’t quite expect for them to be slayed at the end of the runway. Robert Green, of Enloe High School, stole the show with his solo violin performance. That scene not only showed the creativity of the troupe and their ability to grasp various concepts but their ability to be versatile and use several elements to create an overall image and style.
During a brief intermission a gentleman from Shaw University sang an original song about his experience with love. Also, a group of four dancers graced the stage to complete a salsa performance. It wasn’t too much longer until wardrobe changes were made, and the troupe was back on stage “riding in the fast lane” in their next scene that was fun and used an upbeat pop song to grab the attention of the crowd. This was yet another performance that was a great surprise. The bright colors and playful costumes served as an enticing ploy to draw them into the “race of their life.” When asked about the inspiration for the overall show, copresident Brian Riddick answered, “There was no real inspiration for the show, we just wanted to live up to our fall show performance where nearly 700 people were in attendance.” Spring has just begun, and to help welcome the season in with full blast, the “Heaven on Earth” scene displayed some great swimwear to compliment each member differently. The women started on the stage floor, some wore wings to complete their outfit. The music started and so did the fun, they all rose from their positions for some light movements in position before coming down the runway.
Commercial Break then took over the stage with a rhythmic rendition to a Missy Elliot mixed tape and performed an upbeat, urban dance routine as a tribute. The five young women showed their overall talent by remaining in planned formations, coordinating wardrobe and won the attention of the crowd with their smiles and stage presence. The final runway showdown then began with only two images left in the once filled group shot; Marissa Morgan an Enloe High School student and Camia McCorkle a freshman at N.C. State were left to battle it out one last time. The final scene, at the Asylum, was pleasantly disturbing and original to BFMT. Sherena Thurman was a nurse with a purpose in mind, to dose all the psychiatric patients in her ward of the hospital. She chased patients on stage and crawling models represented demons that protected the psychotic patients from the nurses. The scene proved to be a crowd favorite-it was choreographed by presidents Brian Riddick and Sherena Thurman.
The entire program was choreographed, designed and lined up successfully and had one of the biggest turn-outs for Pan-Afrikan week.