Coming from a very traditional Marwadi family, I have always been a lover of authentic culture and tradition of dance, but my case has been a bit different from others. I have always been appreciative towards our Indian dance forms but for me, my calling for dance has been the international dance forms.
Recently, I was an eye-witness to a fabulous show that National Centre of performing arts (NCPA) had organised called Spectrum – celebrating dances from around the world. This took me and my family through not just one but many international dance forms that are popular in India and also are being taught in the major metro cities. From classical Ballet to Ballroom, from Jazz to Aerial Act and from Russian Kozachok to the Spanish Flamenco the two day mesmerising festival had it all and more.
As soon as I read about Spectrum, I immediately booked my seats for the show and what I experienced for the two evening is something I would like to share with all you dance lovers. The dance programming head of NCPA Swapnokalpa Dasgupta welcomed the housefull auditorium and what we all experienced was a total eye-opener.
Ballroom and Latin king of India Sandip Soparrkar appeared on stage in a rage speaking about his interaction with a Classcial dancer who called international dances ‘ashleel’ (cheap). He continued into fabulous lecture demonstrating various styles of Classcial Latin and Ballroom dances. Rumba, Samba, Cha Cha Cha, Jive, Paso Doble, Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep and Tango, along with his partner performed each style to perfection and explaining the history and the background of each form. The nibble-footed dancer even made the audience get up and dance some sausy salsa and merengue moves ending his session with a showcase of what Dancesport (competitive form of Ballroom Dancing) is all about and questioning as to what was so ‘ashleel’ in Classcial Ballroom forms?
Then the king of Jazz dance showcased his skills, the dynamic team of Ashley Lobo’s Dancers from his company Danceworx kept us on the edge of our seats with Hip hop and broadway jazz style mixing it with tutting, freestyle, jazz Comedy, stage jazz and much much more. From swirling tassels to high-waisted pants with suspender, the dancers brought the streets of New York alive. We all could not stop asking for more, such was the dynamism of Ashley Lobo and his gang of super fit dancers.
The second and the last day of spectrum was jaw dropping for most of us as Aditi Deshpande took us through the art of Aeriel Silk, she beautifully compared it to our Indian rope Mallakhamba and showcased solo tricks, couple moves and a group dancing on silk. Super supple, super flexible and super fit was each dancer and everytime they dropped down from the 30-35 feet high silk fabric audience would take a deep breath and a sigh of relief.
There was a new section of chair soirée which actress Smiley Suri performed with her group of dancers. The actress compared Chair Dancing to Yoga and gymnastics and showed some interesting moves with the chair and even made the audience get up and try some fun steps with the chair.
Shehzeen Cassum from Namaste Flamenco demonstrated some exotic Sevillanas along with a live guitarist who enthralled us to the fullest. Her group had actor Anant Joshi also, who stepped in to do some powerful Flamenco steps along with a bunch of gorgeous ladies all dressed in authentic frill skirts typically meant for flamenco.
The oldest school of classical Ballet by the legendary Tushna Dallas presented techniques of French and Russian Ballet, ballerinas dressed in their tutus and on their Pointe captivated us with their dedication towards the art of classic Ballet. At the end, Kushchair Dallas presented a colourful finale of the high impact Russian Kozachok. All the boys jumping up and down waving scarves and pretty girls twirling around them with grace was the perfect end of Spectrum a true festival of international dance forms.
National Centre of Performing Arts always strives to bring to its audience the dances that are world class. And through this two-day international dance form Festival Spectrum – celebrating dances from around the world they have again proved that if we have to experience perfection in performance then there is one place we surely can look forward to and that is the National Centre of Performing Arts.
(The author of the article can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)