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Local talent explodes at Saturday night competition

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The Appalachian Online

The Local, along with Boone Community Network, hosted a talent competition on Saturday night featuring local musical acts and art performances of fire spinning, belly dancing, hip-hop and more.

AcroYoga duo, Upside Down & Confused, took home first place and a $200 cash prize. The duo is composed of troop members Meagan Brown and Christina Bailey.

Brown said she and Bailey have been practicing AcroYoga – a branch of yoga practice that combines yoga and acrobatics – for about three years and recently formed their partnership.

“There’s a lot of trust involved, both as the base and as the flyer,” Bailey said. “It’s good to do role reversals because it puts us outside of our comfort zone. I like being a base, and [Brown] likes being a flyer. So we switched that around for the first time in this performance.”

Brown said there has been a rise in interest towards AcroYoga in Boone, and a general population interest on websites such as YouTube.

“We saw a couple we saw perform several years ago, but back then no one was really doing AcroYoga,” Brown said. “We experimented with our friends, but now it’s a lot more popular and we are able to practice using YouTube videos. Back then, it was a lot more trial and error.”

The duo incorporated the idea of balancing the masculine and the feminine during their performance through onstage clothing swaps, Bailey said.

“It’s an idea I’ve had in my head and something I’ve wanted to choreograph for a long time,” Bailey said. “There’s this feminist movement that’s been going on for a while, but we’re not paying enough attention to the masculine side. In order for women to be completely valued and totally in their own power, there has to be a balance of feminine and masculine in males and females.”

Bailey said there is a need to allow men to have a feminine side, to be emotional, vulnerable and strong at the same time.

Brown agreed, saying, “In AcroYoga, there’s usually a male base and female flyer, so it’s fun to play around with that.”

Runners-up of the talent show were senior interdisciplinary studies major Mariah Barnes and Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute student Alex Micciche. The duo combined their talents for the arts of poi and belly dance for their performance. Senior nursing major Kelsey Gilchrist was a runner-up as well for her singing.

“Poi involves a lot of tactical geometry,” Micciche said. “A lot of the moves I did were breaking movements down into the semi rotations of a circle. [Barnes] did all of the choreography, and I as the less experienced performer stood behind her and choreographed in that way.”

Poi is performance art that uses swinging tethered weights and rhythmical, geometric patterns. Poi and belly dancing are not usually combined, Barnes said.
“Both of us are good on our own, but the challenge for this routine was combining both of our talents,” she said.

“I smacked myself everywhere in my body countless times with poi before I got to this point,” Micciche said. “The Boone community of artists has been unbelievably supportive. Everyone brings their talents together in the name of creative energy and expressing beauty in whatever way they can. I feel gratitude for everyone in this town for that.”

AcroYoga sessions are held for free at 3rd Place every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for those who are interested. Boone Community Network is currently searching for new collaborators. For more information, contact the organization at boonecommunitynetwork@gmail.com.

Story: Kelsey Hamm, Intern A&E Reporter

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