Outstanding at The Oak: Northwood’s talent takes center stage

DANCING+WITH+THE+STARS%3A+Junior+Calista+Nguyen+%28left%29+and+freshman+Caleigh+Nystrom+%28right%29+dance+to+lively+K-pop.

Elllie Chan

DANCING WITH THE STARS: Junior Calista Nguyen (left) and freshman Caleigh Nystrom (right) dance to lively K-pop.

Karen Wang, Staff Writer

The crowd circling The Oak cheered excitedly following dynamic K-pop dances and pop song covers of Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish, welcoming the next student performer under an ambient winter sunset. Celebrating Northwood’s dedication to the arts, students exhibited a wide range of performances at the school-wide talent show on Feb. 25.
Performances included freshmen Jenny Liu and Jaden Liu with a lively rumba dance to “Break Your Heart” by Taio Cruz, freshmen Chelsea Dong and Cindy Cheng with a hip hop dance to “Red” by HyunA, senior Tiffany Lee with a cover of Madison Beer’s “Reckless”, freshman Ginee Hong to a cover of “My Future” by Billie Eilish, sophomore Daniella Pierce playing piano with a cover of “If You Love Me” by Brenda Lee, senior Aditi Sreenivas with a cover of “Hard Place” by H.E.R. and the dance duet of freshmen Cindy Cheng and Phoebe Chu to a K-pop remix featuring BLACKPINK and ITZY.
Hosted by class council member freshman Zane Commissariat and freshman class president Hannah Cho, the pair kept the show lively with engaging transitions between acts.
“The atmosphere at The Oak outside created almost like a coffee-shop environment compared to a typical one in a theater because of how much closer and more interactive the event was,” Cho said.
With the enthusiastic support of the crowd, freshman Zaira Ulmer, who goes by the stage-name iazY, played the guitar while showcasing her vocal talents and her original song “Wannabe.”
“My lyrics were about me and the voices in my head because a lot of the time we try to be something we’re not, yet deep down we know it’s not who we are,” Ulmer said. “Just letting it all out, I feel especially this song has really helped me understand and share my thoughts in a beautiful way.”
Another standout performer who demonstrated her diverse skills, junior Calista Nguyen performed both a song cover to “All I Want” by Olivia Rodrigo and a dance duet with freshman Caleigh Nystrom to “Wannabe” by ITZY.
“I rehearsed the dancing portion a couple months in advance and I really hoped to give the crowd a great, energetic performance,” Nguyen said. “The experience itself was really fun because we all had the opportunity to showcase our talents together again.”
Organized by the freshman class council, which held auditions throughout the first week of January, the event was held outside at The Oak to address COVID-19 concerns and to create a more intimate atmosphere with the small number of performers. The event as a whole was a culmination of student expertise, community and an overall appreciation for the arts at Northwood while providing a new experience for enjoying student arts.