Student choreography vivifies Dance Dhamaka show

The colorful Dance Dhamaka posters were what first drew my attention to the group’s upcoming performance: They featured a silhouette of a dancer wearing an intricate costume, mid-dance, with her hair flying out to the side and the spotlights shining down upon the stage.

Dance Dhamaka
The performers of Dance Dhamaka rehearse in their stunning, textured costumes on the ’62 Center’s MainStage in preparation for the weekend’s shows.

Dance Dhamaka’s artistic logo was printed over the body of the dancer, along with the necessary information about the time and location of the show. Although I could have spent more time just looking at the poster, I knew that if their advertisement alone was so eye-catching, the show would itself be truly phenomenal. When the lights dimmed and the music started, I knew my instincts had been right – “Dhoom Dhamaka” was going to be a fantastic performance.

The first piece, titled “In Bloom,” was a good start to the show. Despite a minor snafu with the music, the dancers remained calm and composed. It was danced to “Khili Re” by Raavan, a slower, more serene number. Choreographed by Uttara Partap ’13, it was a perfect showcase of the various skills necessary to perform such types of dance. For the majority of the piece the stage was dark and only the dancers’ silhouettes were seen. Every performer in the piece also carried two small lights, one in each hand, which mimicked the flickering of candle flame. The effect of the lights moving in darkness was hypnotizing, especially because the dancers moved flawlessly in unison throughout the entire piece. I could hardly believe that everyone managed to make such intricate hand and wrist gestures without dropping the lights, but no one seemed to struggle in the slightest with this difficult task.

The rest of the performance was as mesmerizing as the first piece. The dancers came onstage in different formations and were full of energy throughout the evening. Every piece was unique, but still meshed well with the others, creating a smooth, unified performance. Although each one was strong and displayed the abilities of both the talented dancers and choreographers, there were a few exceptionally memorable pieces. “K.I.N.G.,” choreographed by Robin Gimm ’14, and “Mechanics,” choreographed by Seth Tobolsky ’13, stood out among the myriad of fantastic pieces in the show. Gimm’s piece, danced to the catchy song of the same name by Singh, featured aesthetically pleasing movements. Tobolsky’s piece, danced to “Nakhre/Dhinka Chika” by Action Replay/Ready, was eye-catching thanks to the sharp, high-energy movements.

Another nice touch in “Dhoom Dhamaka” was the transition pieces that were performed in between every main piece. The transition pieces were significantly shorter and constituted a great opportunity for the audience to see the choreographic talents of even more Dance Dhamaka members. With the transition pieces added to the show, most of the dancers got to show off their more creative side as well. The pieces gave the onlookers more of an idea of the different moves and possibilities that stem from Indian dance. Each piece was different: They ranged from solos to dances involving four or more performers. For example, a piece by Shara Singh ’12 showcased her dancing ability as she slowly moved around the stage using a scarf to highlight her movements, and one by Tobolsky and Tracy Hu ’13 was a narrative piece in which the two interacted in a sweetly romantic manner.

The costumes were an undeniably strong part of the show. In no way a distraction from the dancers, they instead served to highlight the dancers’ movements. In almost every piece, a new costume was used, each one more ornate and brightly colored than the last. Some were covered in sequins and other decorative materials, while others were simply and brilliantly monochromatic. At times, the dancers had bangles and other jewelry that gave life to the music by tinkling with the dancers’ movement.

The senior dance featured all of the graduating students – a huge number amounting to almost half the dance group – and gave “Dhoom Dhamaka” a bittersweet ending. While the seniors’ talent will certainly be missed, the underclassmen also displayed an exceptional ability to choreograph and create, and next year’s performances will certainly be just as strong.