Previewing the Talent at UltraViolet Live

CAS Freshman, Donna Gary, is a poet living in Rubin Hall competing in UVL on Thursday Feb 15.

Of the hundreds of students who auditioned for the 13th annual UVL, only 15 were chosen to compete this Feb. 25 for cash prizes. Here is an exclusive look at some of the competitors and their talents:

David Merkle, rapper

Tisch freshman

Talent: “I got into rapping just about a year ago. As the editor-in-chief of my school’s literary magazine I wrote a lot of poetry and eventually I realized that some of my poems could be converted into lyrics. The rapping started out as a joke but everything moved so quickly and I began to perform with a couple other rappers from the school at all of our open mic nights.”


Performing: “I will be performing an original song called Highlines, which is a sort of break-up song. For the choruses I sample Hotline Bling because that song was huge when I was writing it, but the all of the verses are original.”

Kate Yeager, singer-songwriter

Tisch sophomore

Talent: “You will probably see me on a weekly basis running around the Village with my guitar on my back. I am continuing my monthly residency at [the music venue] The Bitter End for the spring season. [The] first Wednesday of the month you can catch me there! I’ve also performed in places like Carroll Place, The Bowery Electric, The Living Room, Inspired Word NYC, Lincoln Center and 54 Below.”

Performing: “Keep My Distance, like all of my songs, is inspired by the nouns in my life: people, places and things. I don’t want to give too much away about the song for the performance but it’s a very human thing that we’ve all gone through at one point or another: falling in love with someone you can’t be with, so you need to keep your distance.”

Nick Cosaboom, percussionist

Gallatin freshman

Talent: “I starting playing percussion when I was eleven. Whatever I perform at the talent show will be original, although I would hesitate to call it a piece. I’m just going to get up there and have fun and share a little bit of what I do.”

Performing: “The conga solo I’m performing is just going to be an effort to mix chops and groove. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to play, and it’s kind of hard to compress all of one’s musical knowledge into a three minute block anyway, so I’m just going to get up there and have fun.”

Donna Gary, poet

CAS freshman

Talent: “I think poetry has taken me places physically and mentally that I have never been or would imagine for myself. I want that journey to continue. I’ll always write, whether I slam or not, for myself.”

Performing: “Spoken word inspired by ‘My life. My everyday.
My family.’”

Ying Cao, poi performer

Stern freshman

Talent: “Poi goes by many names. I’ve heard it called glowstringing, glowsticking, et cetera. And it’s not to be confused with poi, the Polynesian taro food. From a very technical point of view, it’s a performance art that’s based on swinging tethered weights around in
geometric patterns.”

Performing: “All my pieces are original because all my pieces are improvisational. I pre-set music and colors and then recklessly hope for the best.”

Christen Dekie, musician

Tisch sophomore

Talent: “I was always really into music, but I started teaching myself piano when I was eight years old and just recently taught myself guitar. I’ve been singing for as long as I could remember but never really got training for it.”

Performing: “‘I Won’t Give Up’ by Jason Mraz. But I’ve tried to make sound original, yes. I’m dedicating his song to my little brother who is going through those tough times in high school. Just want him to know I’m always there for him.”

Jonathon Kwok, light painter

Tandon senior

Talent: “I use glow sticks and occasionally other light sources to give a visual interpretation of the music I’m dancing to. By using different colors and movements, I can express a variety of emotions and ideas. Similar to regular painting, I have a range of colors and brushes available to me.”

Performing: “I will be painting an original piece at the talent show called Broken Rhapsody.”

Karishma Bhagani, dancer

Tisch freshman

Talent: “I got into classical Indian dancing at the age of two. My mother noticed my passion as a toddler — I used to tap my feet in the bathtub and dance to different Indian songs, just to hear the jingling of the bells
on my feet.”

Performing: “The dance that I’m performing at the talent show is a semi-classical Indian dance. In terms of the dance itself, I was inspired by the Lord Krishna and his famous love stories with his girlfriend, Radha. It forms a critical part of my culture and religion, and evokes particular emotions and sentiments which I wish to further explore.”

Nikki Blonsky of “Hairspray” will host the show at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $15 for NYU students and can be purchased at the Skirball Box Office or on NYU Home.

A version of this article appeared in the Feb. 22 print edition. Email Callie Chute at [email protected]



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