23 March 2019
Crossing and blending the line between dance and circus, Sigma is an absolute joy of a show. Cerebral, enticing, entrancing… this show is everything.
The result of an experimentation of working with jugglers and dancers of different backgrounds, Gandini Juggling has found a niche working with traditional Indian dancers of the Bharatanatyam style and contemporary jugglers. I immediately knew how successful this union had the potential to be, and had high hopes that the two forms could join in both their whimsy and structure. As the choreographer, Seeta Patel, and Artistic Director both mentioned in a post-show chat, Bharatanatyam style and juggling are highly choreographed art forms, with very little improvisational input. The performers all worked incredibly hard to find an even tone of rhythm and connection. While there were moments scattered throughout the show that lost the tightness, overall it was a stunning performance, and has me keeping my ear to the ground for this company for sure.
The show demonstrated early on one of my ideas in how these two arts easily overlap: hand and visual intricacies. The wonderful dexterity of Patel’s hands is so intriguing, and this introduction to the evening is so creative, modern, and effective. It was refreshing to see a traditional style of dance upgraded and modernized. Even cheekily set in a traditional Indian dance structure, with many smaller, numbered, segments, Sigma is able to pull from a vast history and update in a humorous and feministic way. The jugglers were wonders as well, creative in their pathways, reversals, and scope. They used a variety of different juggling balls in weight, texture, and colour, which was interesting for the audience to follow. I was also amazed at seeing two jugglers so in sync, and know how many hours of rehearsal and development it must have taken.
Sigma, though only in town for a short time, was an excellent show. I loved the combination of two intricate forms. I loved the soundscape, lighting, and effective use of props. At times stark and others kaleidoscopic, I was intrigued in each moment and never wanted the show to end. Thanks to Patel and the whole team for the creativity for this show, and I look forward to the next work they bring to our city.