Reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated -- make no mistake, SuperSkillz is alive and well. Recreating itself after 7 years spent at The Opera House on Queen East, the long-running Talent Showcase moved to the smaller but just-as-historic El Mocambo.
The 12th installment of SuperSkillz was organized by the members of the Filipino Canadian Association of Ryerson (FCAR) and the Filipino Student Association of York (FSAY), and continues a tradition that has become the most enduring annual event among young Filipinos in the GTA.
This year's SuperSkillz featured performances of all sorts, from choreographed dance, to acoustic pop and rock, to MCs and singers. Highlights included the leadoff performance from Minerva Records' songbird Jessamyn, the group dance routine by the members of W.O.O.F. (Western Ontario Organization of Filipinos) and finally an acapella performance complete with singing, rapping and a beatbox.
But why the move? The obvious assumption would be that SuperSkillz could no longer pull in the massive numbers that it did in its heydey, roughly 600 at its height. However, one could argue that even SuperSkillz must change with the times. The new reality is that this generation consumes music and culture very differently. They are a part of many different scenes, have different social networks of friends and listen to their music one-on-one. Gone are the days when the mass tuned to one specific direction; the reality is that today we have a much more intimate relationship with our music and our scene -- and today's SuperSkillz reflects that.
It also reflects the return to roots of the Filipino student movement in the GTA. Back when groups like FCAR and FSAY were started roughly 20 years ago, they were small clubs that focused on bringing people together. Organizations like Western's W.O.O.F., as well as FCAR, FSAY and U of T's FSAT have been serving the Filipino students at their respective campuses, holding intimate events that have brought them back to the ideals of the original student groups that came before them.
FSAT has even gone so far as to organize Filipino Awareness Week. The festivities stretch from February 23rd to the 29th and will be marked by performance nights, panel discussions, filipino food events and more. FCAR and FSAY are also involved, perhaps signaling a return to the collaborative and far-reaching events that made the Filipino Student Movement so strong in years past.
As SuperSkillz drew to a close, the final set of performers shifted between different songs. You might recognize a few -- "Always" by Atlantic Starr, "If I Ever Fall in Love" by Shai, "Real Love" by Mary J. Blige -- songs that led generations of Filipino kids to the dance floor, and these Filipino kids were no different.
And these Filipino kids aren't so different, from I was... from who we were.
In fact, we're all part of the same.
Have you ever been a part of a Filipino Student Organization? What are your memories? How has it influenced you? Are you a part of an FSA now? What are the challenges? What makes it fun?
See more SuperSkillz photos HERE.