Review: Dancing Nikita Company in Bollywood night at Norden Farm centre for the arts, Maidenhead

Performance: Bollywood dance show by the Dancing Nikita Company
- Wednesday 31 October 2007

Performing to a full house at Norden Farm, the performers all gave lively performances in their individual items only to all come together at the end for a grand finale of ‘Kajra re’ – a song which i have seen the group perform to before, but still not tired of. One thing that strikes me about this group, is that all of the dancers seemed to be very well trained and rehearsed. The opening of the show, which was performed to the title track of ‘Bombay Dreams’ was big and warm. The music was familiar to audiences who have seen the west end musical and hence made it an appropriate opening. The solo male dancer which followed, presented a breathtaking sequence of very fast controlled movements and spins, which i later found out is the Classical form KATHAK dance. One might compare his performance to a solo ballet recital. Within no time the dancers had changed and come back on to present a series of MUJRA songs, which i understand is a period of Indian cinema where the dancers performed dances with a Mughal (muslim) influence. The costumes of this section stood out the most, and the blues and greens of the dancing girls complimented very well with the lead dancer’s stunningly beautiful peacock style dress which she dressed up with a peacock feathered hat. The overall look of this section, along with the dim blue lighting gave a very soft introduction to Bollywood, before all of the faster paced music started. The first half of the show ended nicely with a mix of what appeared to be a Strictly come dancing type of routine, performed by the male we had seen earlier and his fellow female dancer. We also saw a lively Disco number performed by one of the other male dancers and two of the girls who had done the traditional items. The first half ended on a lively finale where they were all in different costumes, which finished off the first half quite nicely. The interval was short but sweet and only just allowed us to get a drink and listen to all the chattering about the show at the bar. Overall the comments were positive although there was some confusion about some of the dances by the ‘westerners’. As i listened to them asking questions about the songs (and not actually knowing the answers myself), I asked myself whether it is important for us to know that. Surely if we wanted to know more we would find out for ourselves. I was trying to think of ways they could have made it more communicative for the people new to Bollywood, but the only thing that sprang to mind would have been narration, which would have made the show longer and dragged it out. I personally quite liked the way the dances came in and out of eachother, and it was not enough just to absorb the audio visuals of the show rather then having to go in depth as to what each song was about. The second act was much more faster paced and hence went much quicker. There was a complete mix of dances, with a second performance by two very talented young dancers, whom i later found out are only aged 7 and 9. These girls gave a pleasent touch to the show without making it ammateur. Both of their dances were extremely well syncronised and choreographed. The second half seemed to get more and more upbeat (or maybe the pace of the choreography got faster) and seeing the dancers effortlessly putting in so much energy made the audience who were only earlier tapping their feet, start clapping along and some even gave screams which the performers seemed to enjoy! The show ended on a grand finale of a song ‘Kajra re’ which as mentioned earlier, i have seen this group perform before. Some of the movements were similar, but the costumes were updated and there were some new faces in the background. As i watched this i sat back and smiled at the thought of this group’s growth over the past year, since i saw them last and yet the passion in what they do has been upholded. At the end, the director of the company came onto the microphone for the first and last time, to announce everyone’s names and congratulate and thank them all for their participation. Humbily forgetting to announce herself, she thanked the audience and Norden farm for the ‘opportunity’ to perform there once again, as she bidded us farewell and goodnight. At this point i thought to myself, that i felt like standing up and thanking her for putting on such a show which would have taken them months to prepare, yet we were able to enjoy it in a couple of hours. I stopped myself before the male choreographer came onto the mic and thanked her and promoted his classes at the venue at the same time. Again unlike most performances i go and see, neither of them went on about how much time, hard work and effort it took to put the show together. Actually in their case they didn’t need to, it was shown for itself.

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