Blazing Sirens

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Ramona Lobo’s dance troupe wins Spectrum Now prize for emerging artists

Sirens Dance, a Bollywood fusion dance troupe, has won the ANZ Blue Rooms prize for emerging talent in the Dance category at the Spectrum Now festival.
A new arts and culture festival, the fortnight-long Sydney Morning Herald Spectrum Now concluded in late March. It showcased some 200 events involving music, contemporary art, film, books, dance, exhibitions and talks.
Sirens Dance took home a $30,000 cash prize, plus another $5000 prize from their win in their particular category.
“The win gives us an opportunity to do things we’ve always wanted,” Ramona Lobo of Sirens Dance told Indian Link. “We want to produce our own show and tour around Australia, and possibly take it to India as well.”

Of course, for those in Sydney’s Indian community, Sirens Dance is not exactly an ‘emerging talent’, given that they have been entertaining us for some ten years now.
Their particular style sets them apart from comparable troupes in many ways – their attention to detail and commitment to their art seen not only in their clever choreography and beautifully styled costumes, but also in their engaging education of the (non-Indian) crowds to the particular nuances of the Bollywood style of dancing.
“We do fusion really well,” Ramona says of her company’s unique style. “There are elements of Bharatanatyam, Kathak, hiphop, contemporary jazz, Latin American and African dance. It helps that there is a broad cultural mix amongst our members!”
Ramona herself trained in contemporary dance styles, growing up in Australia.
“I only became interested in Bharatanatyam as an adult and started to fuse components from it into my own style.”
She launched Sirens in 2005 with three members, and they found gigs at weddings, private functions and corporate events.
Ten professional dancers now make up the company, and they’ve performed on TV shows, ad campaigns and films.
“We were shortlisted as one of five finalists at the Spectrum Now event,” Ramona said. “A team of six dancers performed in fusion style to a Bollywood medley of songs.”

Their win speaks for the fact that the Bollywood form of dancing appeals not just to Indians, Ramona says. “It has an infectious energy that gets people involved and that immediately uplifts the mood!”
And what of the show that Sirens wants to produce?
All Ramona will reveal right now is that it will be something akin to Merchants of Bollywood, though not 100% Bollywood. And there’ll be a message in it as well.
Sirens on, full blast!

Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

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