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‘Fire & Powder’: A contemporary Bollywood dance fusion

by : Myrna Aquitania

From left: Arun Mathai (Romeo) and Bridget Wilson (Juliet) in the World Premiere of Blue13 Dance Company’s Fire & Powder - Photo by Denise Leitner

From left: Arun Mathai (Romeo) and Bridget Wilson (Juliet) in the World Premiere of Blue13 Dance Company’s Fire & Powder – Photo by Denise Leitner

Bridget Wilson (Juliet) and Arun Mathai (Romeo) in the World Premiere of Blue13 Dance Company’s Fire & Powder - Photo by Denise Leitner

Bridget Wilson (Juliet) and Arun Mathai (Romeo) in the World Premiere of Blue13 Dance Company’s Fire & Powder – Photo by Denise Leitner

The world premiere of “Fire & Powder” a contemporary Bollywood dance fusion adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet “ and “West Side Story,” was recently presented by the Blue13 Dance Company at the historical Ford Amphitheatre last Saturday, August 3rd. Its a “tale of star-crossed lovers” depicted through various modern Indian dance interpretations such as “hip-hop, Bhangra, break dance and tap,” whose artistic director and lead choreographer was Achinta S. McDaniel, who also happens to be the founder of Blue13 Dance Company. Sara VonGillern, whose credits include “So YouThink You Can Dance,” was the guest hip-hop choreographer.

The theatre fusion ensemble portrayed the “rival houses of hip-hop Capulets” against the “Bollywood Montagues.” Bollywood soundtrack was felt throughout the entire presentation “including live drumming by Dhol Nation, and modern rock, while original music was written by composers from around the globe” such as: DJ Persyst, Plum Feat, Evan Roman, Tej Gill, Benjamin Kelly and Adam Conrad.

‘The fiercely energetic show featured 20 dancers.” The House of Montague dancers were portrayed by: “Arun Matthai as Romeo; Heather McManama as Mercurio; Rieka Toya and Gaby Alcazar as The Sister Montague;  Dre Jackson as Lady Montague; and Achinta S. McDaniel as Rosaline. Other Montagues were: Shoshana Mozlin, Jade Sine, Kristoffer King and Michael Sorensen. “ The House of Capulets, on the other hand featured the following dancers: “Bridget Wilson as Juliet; Jon Paul as Paris and Sara Von Gillern as Tybalt. Other Capulets were: Brian Siggers, Jr., Crystal Weaks, Liz Abitua, Jaron Gilchrist, Ingel Catindig, Garvin Tran and Camille Cardinale.”

Event sponsors were: The Dance Conservatory of Pasadena;  International Dance Academy Hollywood and the Cheng Family Foundation. Additional supporters were: City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs; The Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation; The James Irvine Foundation; Tom LaBonge, City of Los Angeles 4th District; The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation; Wells Fargo Bank; Zev Yaroslavsky; The Boeing Employees Community Fund;  Macy’s;  Angell Foundation; KPFK Radio; LA Weekly and LA Parent Magazine.

The theatre presentation is “part of the Ford Amphitheatre’s 2013 Season, a multi-disciplinary arts series produced by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission in cooperation with the community-based arts organizations.”

Our thanks to Steve Moyer’s invitation for allowing us to experience this “fiercely energetic” theatrical ensemble.

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