If there’s one thing that we really, really get out for, it’s Tantalize.
What‘s Tantalize? The organizers – students from APIIT – generally define it as Sri Lanka’s largest inter-university talent show, which is
pretty accurate – but somehow fails to convey to level of professionalism that university students can bring to the table when given a chance. In a few years of haunting the Museus Auditorium we’ve seen moves that would put Step Up to shame, which is saying something.
(It’s also a great stage to show off your dress sense, if you happen to be so inclined: the eye candy of Tantalize could also put the cast of any given Step Up to shame, which again is saying something).
Of course, this being the finals, this is the cream of the crop. The auditions usually have some Sirasa Superstar-eque moments, which We’re sure the committee endured to cull the finalists (almost all of whom turned out to be award-worthy). Perhaps the only real hitch in the show came from the sound management; we’ve never seen Tantalize performers having to do mic checks and ask for volume adjustments in their act, and we hope never the see that again.
Anyway, the show goes on. Tantalize started off with a theme song sung by Voice Print (yes, Tantalize had a theme song this year) moved on to Manik Muddanayake, a solo dancer from the Open University: at that point the agenda began weaving through a mix of diverse solo and group performances in the usual Tantalize rhythm. Musical instruments were played. Songs were sung. Dances were danced.Midnight saw the emptying stage with a list of winners a yard long , an extra accolade in each category in the form of a Hutch Social Media Award and guest performances by the likes of Ashanthi, Ranidu, Umaria, Lahiru Perera (also known as The Guy Who Did Rambari).
And now onto the big question: how was the talent?
Last year, we saw excellent group dancers. This year, we felt to solo acts took the stage – particularly solo dances; the ballet and the traditional Sri Lankan dance were exceptionally well executed. There was more variety in what we saw, heard and experienced in solo performances – a range of Western and Eastern instruments, themes and music that rounded up the experience very well.
As for group dancing – perhaps the problem was a lack of fresh ideas: what we saw there was mostly a mishmash of things that had been done before, often thrown together with no overarching theme; only the Five Fingers group measured up to the mark of the past years’ group dances.
The singing acts were excellent, sometimes hilarious (for example, when one performer leaped off the stage in glee and hobbled away with a twisted ankle), sometimes awe-inspiring, and sometimes hampered by poor volume leveling, a mishap set straight in the awards. Overall, it wasn’t a flawless Tantalize – but it definitely was as good as we expected it to be, and we’d dare say everyone came away with some great memories. Onward!