Tue 21st – Sat 25th January 2014


Elizabeth Spence

at 09:36 on 22nd Jan 2014



Fantasy provided its audience with an evening of non-stop entertainment, complete with Spiderman costumes, strobe lighting and dry ice - like Cindies, but with significantly better dancing!

CU Dance Society's annual extravaganza showcased the best of Cambridge dance, in a vibrant explosion of talent, diversity and sparkle, with acts ranging from a Michael Jackson impersonator to a dance in praise of the Hindu god, Shiva.

A chorus of 'wow' greeted six ballerinas who graced the stage with their shiny pointe shoes and the whole auditorium held its breath as Alison Woodman was suspended by silk from the ceiling in a Cirque du Soleil-inspired feat. In general, it was the genuine love of performance shown by these and other dancers which made the show so enjoyable: Their smiles were infectious and soon the audience was beaming, cheering and clapping along to the jazzier numbers.

Fusion seemed to be a popular theme but, while in many cases this was highly effective (and even played for laughs in the belly-dance/break-dance combo), a certain contemporary/ballet duet failed to impress. Based on the melodramatic film, Black Swan, this particular performance lacked the precision of the rest of the show. Its juxtaposition with the stunning group pointe dance proved the importance of classical ballet as a foundation for all dancers.

The award for best costume has to go to a piece entitled 'Arachnophobia' - never before have ballroom dancers worn Spiderman morphsuits (or danced so well in them, considering they were only 11 years old!). In fact, very few groups opted for the 'traditional' (but frankly extremely boring) leggings and t-shirt ensemble: the Chinese dancers showed that the stage is one of the few places where florescent pink is actually bearable to look at, and the traditional Mexican and Indian costumes were also very striking.

Simple stage dressing allowed the audience to focus on these wonderful costumes and, of course, on the dancers' movements. Coloured lighting provided a fitting background to Joon Leng Luciana Boon's firebird dance and accentuated her silhouetted hand movements while the charismatic Ben Human easily filled the stage with his Michael Jackson inspired moves alone.

Fantasy combined town and gown, and the diverse dance styles complemented one another; I was impressed in equal measure by both the child artists and the trainee professionals from Cambridge Performing Arts. Fantasy is a real treat which is sure to inspire even the least co-ordinated student to update their dance floor routine.


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