Texas Revue talent show fills Hogg Auditorium to capacity, gives top prize to Punjabbawockeez

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Members of PUNJABBAWOCKEEZ celebrate on stage after winning first place in the Texas Revue at Hogg Memorial Auditorium on Saturday night.

Photo Credit: Maria Arrellaga | Daily Texan Staff

Chinese yo-yos, dancing, electronic violins and band performances drew a full crowd at Hogg Auditorium this Saturday, as more than 1,200 people came to Texas Revue, the University’s annual talent show.

Courtney Brindle, supply chain, business honors and communication studies senior and chairwoman for the event, said the show went well.

“We pride ourselves on being the most diverse, on being a representation of what UT really is,” Brindle said. 

The show, which featured 11 acts, awarded two prizes, one for best technical performance, and one for best overall performance. Mathematics senior Thomas Gu, who performed with Chinese yo-yos, won the award for best technical performance. Punjabbawockeez, an all-male dance group in its third year, won the award best overall performance for its combination of hip-hop and traditional Bhangra music. An outside panel of experts from the local Austin community judged all participants.

Arpan Amin, a management information systems senior and member of Punjabbawockeez, said his group was happy to entertain the audience at Texas Revue. The group, which is only three years old, is open to tryouts from people with any level of experience, and he said its primary purpose is enjoyment. 

Amin said the choreography of his group changes slightly from performance to performance and is arranged organically with contributions from all its members.

“A huge part of what we are is entertainment value,” Amin said. “Placing is a far second to us.”

Gu, who has practiced his art since eighth grade, said he too was focused on entertainment value this time around, which marked a shift from his more professional performance at Texas Revue last year.

“I knew what I was doing for the most part,” Gu said. “[But at times I did] whatever I thought would make the crowd go crazy at the time.”

Gu said aside from when he had a shoulder injury, he practices about two to three hours a day.

The Student Events Center, Texas Union and Texas Parents Association sponsored the show. Usually the University Co-op funds the event but did not do so because of budget constraints.

Heather Dai, public relations junior and publicity co-chairwoman for Texas Revue, said she hoped students who came enjoyed seeing the diversity of talents and ideas UT students have. 

Dai said while losing Co-op funding was initially a budget problem, it did allow Texas Revue more freedom to brand themselves. In the past, performances had to be approved by the Co-op.

“Last year we had a pole acrobatic dancer ... but if you saw her perform it was in the most tasteful way,” Dai said. “Our chair just wasn’t comfortable with [taking her to the Co-op].”

Additionally, she said, she hoped Texas Revue was doing a better job of separating its image in students’ minds from that of the stereotypical talent show.

“I wanted [students] just to enjoy themselves and also realize that Texas Revue is just this amazing show,” Dai said.

Dai said watching the show as a freshman inspired her to become involved in promoting it as a member of the publicity committee.

“It’s just hard to convey,” Dai said. “Our main obstacle is trying to overcome people’s previous idea of a talent show.”