Spectrum: CUDS Annual Dance Show 2016

Tue 19th – Sat 23rd January 2016

reviews

Emma Ansell

at 10:26 on 20th Jan 2016

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Spectrum delivers all that it promises and more. This is a show that has been very aptly named, and Spectrum should be applauded for the astounding diversity and variety contained within its line-up. It includes everything from belly dancing, to ballet, to baton twirling, to breakdancing - and that's just to name the styles beginning with 'b'!

The show is strengthened by particularly sensitive decisions that have been made in its ordering. It is impossible to become complacent, or feel any hint of boredom, when you never know what to expect next. It is in turns serious and then light-hearted, joyous then forlorn. It keeps you on your toes. It seems to have been composed so that no sequential acts were too similar, thereby preventing direct comparisons between the very distinct performances.

Lighting of a consistently high standard complimented the show, with the entire back wall being lit up in shifting block colours. These lighting changes, designed by Peter Griffin, added subtle nuances to the performances and enhanced the effect of shifts both in mood and in tempo, rather than overwhelming or overshadowing the dancers.

Spectrum contains some incredible showmanship. Desi Arancio took to the floor with her mesmerising baton twirling. It was kind of like magic. A particular Rock’n’Roll dance, performed by Janet Scott, Barnaby Golder, Mark Clewlow and Ellie Walpole provoked loud and entirely spontaneous 'ooh-ing' from an appreciative audience. Have you ever seen a man effortlessly lift a woman off the ground and twirl her around his head? This is a great opportunity to do so. Luciana Boon performed an entrancing aerial routine on a giant hoop and showcased her super-human flexibility. This was amusingly performed to the soundtrack of Adele's 'Skyfall’, but I can assure you that there was never even the smallest hint that Boon was going to lose her footing (holding?) and fall from the sky.

Making it even better, this production is not without elements of humour. A Spanish dance (performed by Sarah Bailey, Lara Beatriz Ciulli, Sally Rose Dani, Eliza Gregory, Anna McPherson, Daniel Pease and Imogen Pease) wowed the audience with its entertaining narrative and skilful fan-work. A tongue-in-cheek dance battle(Evan Herbert, Cuong Kasperzyk, Eric Schmidt, Anna Kazane, Jason Deacon, Valerie Vauthier) drew eruptions of laughter from the audience. What I can only describe as "morph suit gymnastics", although it turns out to actually be called Acrobalance, allowed Janet Scott, Barnaby Golder, Kerstin Göpfrich, Mark Clewlow, Caroline Chambers and Rich Lawrence to showcase incredible displays of strength while maintaining a pleasing continuity. With each of these performers wearing a skin tight, brightly coloured morph suit, it was a fantastic, self-aware and entirely unexpected display.

Personally, my favourite part of the show was the Indian classical piece performed by Divya Ramkumar, Radhika Jagtap, Shrividya Ravi, Anjalee Ratnakumar, Mahima Chandrashekar, Dharini Dhinakaran. It was enchanting. I was blown away by their expressive faces and accurate movements. I couldn't look away and I wish I could watch it again.

Spectrum is incredibly accessible, whether you come to the show with any previous experience of dance or not, and offers an extremely entertaining evening. You’ll find a great mixture of styles, both classical and contemporary, and I can confidently promise that there will be something for everyone to fall in love with.

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