Spectrum: Cambridge University Dance Society Annual Show 2016

Eve Rivers 20 January 2016

The Cambridge University Dance Society's annual variety performance does not disappoint this year. Dancers from different nationalities, ages and styles showcase their skill with one thing in common: talent.

From a Spanish-inspired comic love triangle, to the fantastic hand coordination and jingling feet of Indian folk dancers, to the up-beat Rock and Roll routine and elegant ballet choreographies, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Despite a start to the show that leaves something to be desired, the international dances, which also include a group of belly-dancers, soon bring colour to the room as the costumes brighten up the stage against a simple set, decorated with a white sheet which reflects stage lights and sets the mood perfectly for each performance.

The highlights of the show concentrate around the gymnasts, particularly the hoop dancer at the end of the first half who dazzles the audience with her unparalleled acrobatic abilities. Also impressive are the three couples in bright leotards, who take acro-yoga to a whole new level.

The contemporary dance choreographies bring emotion to the stage in a beautiful way, with moving representations of love which have spectators ooh-ing on cue. The ballet dances compliment this more serious side to the evening perfectly, and the soloists received much recognition from the audience. The fun, up-beat rhythm of the ensemble hip-hop and modern dances provide a nice contrast to the seriousness of the ballet and raise the energy of the room, as the performers jump around the stage smiling brightly.

One of the few criticisms I have is the evident gender disparity, which does not mean that the all-female groups were of lesser quality, but the mixed gender performances seemed more impressive as they included lifts and acrobatics that simply could not be done by the single-sex groups (this evidently excludes the soloists, which in some cases exceed even the mixed groups). However, in an activity such as dance, which is traditionally associated with femininity, this gap was to be expected and one can only say that it is a pity, for the few men that did participate gave excellent performances.

Overall, the second half of the performance made up for the slightly weaker start with the Rock and Roll, Spanish and Hoops dances, resulting in a very enjoyable evening at the ADC.  I can only recommend this year’s CUDS dance showcase to anyone who appreciates skill and talent enough to brave the cold weather.