CUDS Dance Show 2015: Evolution

♪♪ You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life ♪♪

Cambridge CUDS Dance evolution review

I know nothing about dance and this was the first show of this kind I’ve ever been to.

That said, I was extremely impressed by the quality and variety of performances offered.

They promised “electric fusions of contemporary, ballet, Fosse, Charleston, hip-hop, Rock’n’Roll, ballroom, belly-dancing, folk-dancing, Indian and Bollywood.” I don’t want to advertise my ignorance too much trying to explain which was which and I can only guess we got what was promised.

The most interesting dances were definitely the unexpected, non-Western ones, especially the Indian and Bollywood. These were well choreographed and perfectly performed, with an attention to detail and refreshing performance style.

There were some surreal moments of general bewilderment, such as a piece I described in notes as  ‘jellyfish ballet’ (which was actually very mesmerising). Other routines garnered gasps and spontaneous applause from the audience, including a piece of contemporary dance(?) that seemed to equate to very impressive gymnastics set to overly dramatic music.

A rather surprising routine came from a group of children – I assume they were local schoolchildren rather than a collection of those Cambridge proteges you hear about in the news – who performed a simple yet elegant ballroom routine.

Some of the routines tended to go on a bit too long and, by the second half, it started to get slightly repetitive with similar dances coming up several times. An upbeat performance from an astonishingly athletic troupe, reminiscent of something from Britain’s Got Talent, helped to break the monotony. Similarly, a creative set from a contemporary dance group – the only one that seemed to reference the title of the show – was engaging and actually quite funny.

The show as a whole wasn’t without its flaws though. Some of the choreography fell flat; many of the routines were riddled with errors and mistakes. With the larger groups, there were noticeable errors in timing; hopefully these will mostly be ironed out over the course of the run.

Sadly, the majority of the audience seemed to be supportive friends and proud parents without enough general visitors. I have to admit, though, that the ADC does seem like a strange choice of venue for the show. Not only was it a very high-profile slot for a fairly niche production, I felt there might be more appropriate spaces in the city. At times, this space seemed to obstruct and restrict the performances; at others, the performers seemed lost in the cavernous void that is the ADC stage.

Overall, it’s an impressive show. It does exactly what is says on the tin: well, dancing rather than ‘evolution’ (any Bio NatScis should be warned that Darwin doesn’t feature at all). So, if you like dancing or want to branch out further than Strictly, it’s worth a go.

65% – a good 2:1