MADISON CAMPUS — Tongues will be in cheeks, eyes will be winking and, hopefully, everybody in attendance will get the intended parody.
The style of song and dance that comes along with India’s Bollywood cinema isn’t necessarily intended to be funny, but the exuberance of its performers, the vibrant colors of its outfits and the tone of most of the films combine to put smiles on faces and laughter in the air. Even during dramatic movies, a dance routine is bound to erupt and, of course, it will certainly be on the light-hearted side.
With this as fodder, Venice’s blue13 dance company has created “Bollywood Delicious” — a show with all the pomp and color of the best of what India’s film industry has to offer along with a few nods to contemporary dance. The production, in its second adaptation, will play The Edye Second Space at Santa Monica College’s Broad Stage on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. “Bollywood Delicious” previously played at Highways Performance Space in February, but that show had decidedly more sexual oomph.
“The first one was a bit more burlesque,” blue13’s Artistic Director Achinta S. McDaniel said. “It was more risqué and racy, but this one is more for all ages.”
McDaniel was first introduced to Bollywood as a child watching, along with her parents, films from India. The first-generation American grew up immersed in the culture of the subcontinent, speaking Hindi and Punjabi and listening to classical Indian music.
With this as background, she moved on to college at New York University and studied contemporary dance. Her training was as modern as it comes, but her ethnic roots kept tugging at her imagination until she decided to travel back to the home of her ancestors and began the process of learning classical methods.
“It had a great influence on my work,” McDaniel said. “I went through a period rejecting it, but came back to embrace it.”
Her training under traditional masters is what proved to serve as the backbone of what would later become blue13, eventually leading to “Bollywood Delicious.”
She said she enjoys the freedom to have fun with the whimsical art form and saw it as a unique opportunity to produce something for Western audiences but with a distinct Indian flair.
“We call ourselves a contemporary Bollywood dance company,” McDaniel said. “All of our dancers come from strong technical backgrounds.”
She credits the talents of her 10 core dancers for giving her the tools to make the production work, which is presented as somewhat of a variety show with different acts ranging from sexy to outright humorous.
“We try to incorporate a little bit of everything without turning into a talent show,” she said. “What unifies it is contemporary dance.”
blue13 dancer Kory Keith came to the group with little knowledge of Bollywood, but it didn’t take long for her to see the light.
While she admits to not watching many Indian movies, she is a “big fan of the dance form.”
It wasn’t until she became one of the principal dancers that she really became familiar with the genre.
“It’s definitely a playful mixture of Bollywood, but you also have jazz, hip-hop, modern and ballet,” Keith said. “There is something for every taste.
“Nobody comes away without a smile on their face.”