Four shrouded women take to the stage. They each remove their shrouds and, one by one, they list their hopes for the upcoming show. They want a performance that has fabulous juggling skills, they want a feminist statement, they want it to incorporate Bharatanatyam dancing and they want sexy men to do the dancing. They then go on to provide almost all of these things.

Sigma is not your usual juggling show and it’s all the better for it.

It’s refreshing to see an all-woman cast performing in the circus section of the Fringe programme. Sigma is more than a juggling show though; there’s dance, multimedia projections and a fair bit of humour in this beautiful piece from Gandini Juggling. The show is split into clear sections with occasional asides for the cast to introduce themselves with a brief history of their origins. It’s a lovely way of creating intimacy with the audience.

The dance choreography of Seeta Patel brings an elegance and the multimedia projections perfectly frame the onstage action. Unlike many shows where the projected footage is distinct from the performers, Sigma uses it to introduce abstract geometry and a visual counterpoint to the flow and rhythm of the juggling. The screens on which many of the films appear are moved around the stage, sometimes acting as barriers and, when flipped around, as mirrors to create symmetry and opportunities for playing with reflection.

As a juggler myself, I was delighted by how the juggling had been carefully choreographed into the dance and theatre of the piece. The skills on display are impressive but integrated so well that the audience perhaps fails to realise the talent of the jugglers on stage. There are none of the usual ‘beats’ that a juggling performance might have to give the audience a chance to applaud but that just saves the well-deserved applause for the end.

Sigma is not your usual juggling show and it’s all the better for it.

Reviews by Frodo Allan

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The Blurb

The iconic Gandinis return with Sigma, celebrating the dialogue between juggling, percussion and dance. The piece showcases exuberant rhythms, patterns and colours, at the heart of which is a unique interpretation of the classical south Indian dance form, Bharatanatyam. Using a mirrored set, this reflective and dynamic show is a cleverly crafted circus and dance production at the heart of which is a mesmerising flirtation between rich and tangible art forms. Performed by a virtuosic cast including the award-winning choreographer Seeta Patel, with the trademark humour Gandini Juggling bring to all their work.

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