The dance scene in Cambridge is somewhat lacking. While the ADC and Corpus Playroom are crammed with bright and brilliant shows throughout the year (including ambitious plays even in exam term), large dance shows are mostly the preserve of cultural societies or very specific types of classical dance- rarely does a dance show grace one of the two main university theatres. But, Shikha Pahari, with her brainchild of a show Cirque de Bombay aims to change the direction of the Cambridge dance scene from what she fears may be “skepticism” towards amateur dance to one of burgeoning enthusiasm and creativity.
Born out of two terms of hard work, Cirque de Bombay is a bombshell of expressive choreography, extremes in music (from rhythmic Indian classical to Kanye West in an instant) and an overarching narrative of the struggles of a Femme Fatale. Though the story of the show is much open to interpretation, Pahari intends to “splash colour and joy into exam term” with her panoply of music and culture.The use of expressive lighting is particularly noteworhty, are frames the dancers’ every move, both in the group and individual pieces, aloowing the audience to focus on their expression and flair.
Projections in between the dance scenes add to the composite feel of the show – theatre, film, dance and visual arts have been combined to produce a new, vibrant production. Pahari admits that the idea of expressing such a diverse range of styles of dance was born out of the idea of creating “something for everyone”. This vision in unsurprising considering her own background; having grown up in Sydney, London, Singapore and Amsterdam, Pahari has certainly been exposed to varying styles of dance. As a non-dancer myself, I found that the creative blend of styles and visuals is perhaps one of the greatest strengths of the show
While admitting that the show has been difficult to organise during exam term, overall Pahari is optimistic and thankful for the help of the ADC and the efforts of the dancers and tech team for their hard work. The show’s purpose and form undoubtedly evolved from its inception, but this is not to their detriment as they successfully create an upbeat show which demonstrates the skills that dancers in Cambridge have to offer.
If anyone wants to be transported to a world of movement, music and colour to escape the greyness of the library for an evening, I would encourage you to see Cirque de Bombay tonight or tomorrow. And who knows, perhaps it could indeed be the first step towards a much more ambitious and vibrant dance scene in Cambridge.