‘Around the World of Dance’ was a fitting send off to the ‘On The Rocks’ Festival. Hosted by EIDSoc, It showcased a variety of styles from Bhangra to Irish, Bellydance to Bollywood, providing a fun evening’s entertainment whilst highlighting the wide range of dance that St Andrews has to offer.
After an inevitably delayed start, the ‘Desert Roses’ kicked off the show. The routine soon picked up a fast pace, just what the slightly restless audience needed! It set the tone for the evening: colour, enthusiasm and energy! The liveliness was maintained by the Advanced Irish Class’ following performance, their fast footwork as dazzling as their sparkling skirts.
The ‘Tribal Style Bellydance’, didn’t quite deliver the contrasts and variety the programme promised, but the costumes added a Tribal flair and distinction. An energetic Bhangra routine made a pleasing contrast, pairing colourful shifts and quick moves and an infectious sense of enjoyment. The following Swing Dance, at the risk of sounding rather patronising, was completely adorable! The two couples struggled with spacing issues, but the vintage style costumes and Parisian-sounding soundtrack helped create a charming atmosphere.
The evening was certainly one of contrasts, highlighted, by the ‘Capoeira’ routine. This discipline was probably more exciting to participate in than watch, but the audience clapped along nonetheless. Similarly, the subsequent Bellydance solo was impressive, but less engaging than some of the group routines. An expressive and varied Indian Classical duet helped pick up the energy again. The ‘Can Can’, performed by the ‘Blue Angels’ had some minor timing issues, but the split lift provided an impressive finale to the first act.
After a seemingly unnecessary interval, a Highland routine restarted the show with fresh vigour and variety. It was followed by a very engaging Bollywood duet which ended with some very impressive turns and was one of the evening’s highlights. A Zumba Mash Up was next, performed with such enthusiasm and liveliness, not to mention attitude, that it made you want to get up and join in!
The Angels Apprentices’ well timed pirouettes in their fun jazz routine, particularly impressed. Whilst a Bollywood routine brought back the evening’s enthusiasm and variety, nicely contrasting with the following Tango, which felt a little repetitive, but was impressively improvised. Another Bellydance added visual excitement to the shows’ second half, the colourful costumes and jangling bells really accentuating the moves.
The Desert Roses finished off the night with another impressive routine, highlighting one of the University’s lesser known dance troupes, before most of the acts joined the stage for the finale. This could have done with some better coordination, but was an entertaining finish to the show. It was particularly nice to see all the different colours of the costumes brought together on stage to recap the night.
The show could have done without the comparing skills of Matt Gibson, as he seemed unprepared and his tedious comments devalued the talent of the performances. But perhaps this meant the audience got behind the acts even more. The positive atmosphere was fed by the dancers’ enthusiasm and energy, the sense that they were really enjoying themselves making up for the timing issues throughout the routines. In all, the evening was entertaining and inspiring, as I found myself, yet again, wishing there were enough hours in the week to try everything that St. Andrews has to offer.