Student fashion show on the lookout for talent

Samantha Foster
Staff Writer

At the STRUT auditions, Clayton Duncan entertained the judges with his rapping talent.

Even though VCU’s long-running STRUT Fashion Show won’t hit the runway until April, last Tuesday’s auditions for musicians, dancers and other performers were scheduled early to ensure as entertaining a show as in years past.

The STRUT Fashion Show is an annual event run entirely by students, conceptualized as “half fashion and half entertainment” in the show’s official literature. Student models (who have their own, separate auditions to attend) take to the runway in student-designed fashions in tandem with a program of other talent acts.

In addition to instrumentalists, Tuesday’s auditioners ranged from rappers to gospel singers to a trio of ballet dancers. Ten judges from the STRUT committee rated each performer on a numerical scale.

The committee, formed by an application and interview process following each year’s show, is made up of students from different majors taking on jobs like stylists, graphic designers, street team coordinators and PR/advertising coordinators.

First to audition was rapper and STRUT veteran Clayton Duncan, or “Cl8 the Gr8.” Duncan managed to excite the small crowd of mostly judges by encouraging clapping and singing along.

“Last year’s show was great,” said Duncan, who has performed for STRUT in previous years. “It was the biggest thing I’ve done so far.”

Several sets of dancers performed as well, including a contemporary jazz dancer and a popper working together.

Sam Hall, dance major, and Sean Nguyen, physics major, have been in STRUT shows the last few years, but for this audition, they said  they decided to “wing it.”

“We began choreographing it on Tuesday, left it and came back today,” Hall said. “What you saw there was lots of improv.”

Talents at the STRUT auditions ranged from freestyle rappers to original violinists.

William Moore, a mathematics major, performed a piece for solo violin which he composed himself. He also explained his tendency to “go to the club with my violin and play along with the song that they’re playing.”

The rapper/guitarist duo of Ace Callwood, business major, and Juan Pierce were among the auditioners, which by the time all had showed up, also included a team of poppers and even a magician.

While it was their first time auditioning for STRUT, Callwood and Pierce have been playing together for two years.

“My friend called me on Saturday and told me about the auditions,” Callwood said. “It wasn’t even a question of whether or not I’d do it.”

Last year’s STRUT Fashion Show was the first to be officially included in the lineup of Richmond Fashion Week and marked the beginning of the week’s events. The series of events that make up Richmond Fashion Week, entering its fourth year in 2012, will take place in April.

Business major Ace Callwood auditioned for the STRUT fashion show on a whim, but his singing and guitar playing were crowd favorites.
The Poppers of VCU performed a fully synchronized dance routine at the STRUT talent auditions.


photos by Amber-Lynn Taber

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