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Slam Poetry to promote awareness

BY EVAN CLARK | NOVEMBER 11, 2010 7:20 AM

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If you thought spoken poetry doesn't mix well with live music and comedy, think again. A new duo's creative style will try to continue the traditions founded by the great ones before us while still having fun and highlight important issues.

The Dynamic Duo, a slam-poetry performance group, consists of Panama Soweto and Ken Arkind, two poets who wish to raise awareness of the problems our world faces through their live shows.

"Our performances are very high-energy with a lot of dual work between Ken and me," Soweto said. "We range on issues from various politics to childhood, and over the years, we've developed a comedy act to balance the seriousness."

The Dynamic Duo will perform at T-Spoons, 301 E. Market St., at 10 p.m. today. The live shows consists of spoken poetry, live music, and comedy surrounding a form of performance poetry, slam poetry.

"Slam poetry was invented sometime around the 1980s," Soweto said. "It's a style of live poetry that's more like a competition among other poets, in which poets can get on stage without using any props, and the audience judges the performance. It combines poetry writing and spoken word, along with using your body and hand gestures to emphasize your poetry."

The show is sponsored by the Campus Activities Board, and Emily Becker, the group's variety and entertainment director, witnessed the Dynamic Duo in action and quickly fell in love with the two.

"I saw them at the national convention I had to go to, and I immediately thought to book them to come here," she said. "They're very upbeat, they talk about things that people our age are interested in, and at the same time, they can make it funny. I remember they talked about video games, such as making fun of how kids our age depend on video games, and then they're able to relate them back to popular culture, politics, and what's happening in the news."

While Soweto is content in raising awareness on key issues the Dynamic Duo feels strongly about, he also wants the audience members to leave the performance with a sense of self-confidence and motivation about themselves.

"There are a lot of issues we want to enlighten students about, like sweatshop labor, immigration reform, and other social issues," Soweto said. "But the main thing I want the audience to walk away with is to understand that self-awareness is the key. I want the audience to know that everyone is special, and that everyone has something to offer."

Becker believes that audiences will not only find the Dynamic Duo funny and entertaining, they will leave the show enlightened and with something to talk about.

"I think they're definitely funny, and students will have a good laugh," she said. "They also might change your perspective on a few things and make you think about current events in a different viewpoint."


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