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Sizzling, sexy spectacle Ujima's fashion show
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Sizzling, sexy spectacle


Bodacious, bright, and fashionably loud, the Ujima Fashion and Talent Show last March turned Bernhard Theater into a campus hot spot with music, dance, and lots of attitude.

The black-student club’s fourteenth annual show included a record forty student models (some club members, many not) showing off nearly 300 outfits, all from local mall stores, in a fast-paced presentation that felt like a dance party. To throbbing waves of sound from the likes of Usher, Sierra, and J Lo, the models strutted out in highly individual styles, many doing short, sizzling dance turns when they hit the spotlight. Tiny lights on digital cameras and videocams sparkled through the big audience, and the strikingly multicultural crowd let out nearly nonstop whoops, yelps, trills, and even a classic wolf whistle.

At intermission, three stylists from the Brooklyn Attitude hair salon in Saratoga Springs came on stage, flipped orange plastic capes over a steady stream of models, and cut real hair, teasing vigorously and blowing clouds of hairspray.

The main fashion motif was “casual-sexy,” fused with punk-grunge and a soupçon of Goth, according to Arminda Nicol ’06, one of six directors of the show. The clothes ran the gamut from leather to chiffon. There were homeboy baggies and snappy tailored menswear for both men and women, rakish fedoras, big belts, high boots, cropped jackets, spangled bustiers, and thigh-high sweater-dresses in brilliant spring colors. There was a woman’s top that looked like a slender scrap of gold lamé stretched languidly around the neck and down the front. There was a man’s spanking-white jacket whose back was vividly spattered with blood-red spots.

And along with fashion came talent: Sanyu Nagenda ’09 with her rap-inflected poem, “Black”; hyper-hip Skidmore dance troupes Rithmos and Thoroughbred Dance Starz; Danielle Hutton ’06, whose belly-dance paired seductive undulations with delicate wrist gestures.

All that effort, strut, and dazzle is its own reward for Ujima members; they produce the show each year “just for fun, and to help cover the club’s expenses,” says Nicol. “The audience appreciation always pumps us up.” And vice versa. —BAM
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