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Parkour and Bollywood Dance at MCA-Denver

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The Mixed Taste lecture series once again enlightened downtown Denver Friday night… and maybe woke up a few napping residents of the apartment buildings around 15th and Delgany. This was because the night’s activities took place in the parking lot next to the normal Mixed Taste lecture hall so that Apex Movement and Bollywood West could strut their stuff.

First off was Ryan Ford of APEX Movement and his Parkour lads, leaping and tumbling and flipping and running across, over, under and between scaffolding and sawhorses set up to showcase their gymnastics. Music boomed from the speakers and gasps escaped from the onlookers when a couple of the guys took large flips from the top of the scaffold. We then learned more about the history of Parkour/free-running (began as obstacle-course training for the French in Vietnam) and how it has become Hollywood’s new go-to action sequence (ie. the opening montage in “Casino Royale”).

bollywoodThen Renu Kansal and her Bollywood West dancers took the stage. Reynu gave a history of evolving Bollywood dance spectacle (Bollywood = Bombay/Hollywood) with dance demonstrations from her students. It’s big, it’s flashy, it’s all smiles and synchronized arm movements and it made me want to actually see a Bollywood movie.

Most entertaining was the combination of Parkour and Bollywood at the insistence of the Emcee. Blasting the Bollywood team’s last number (the Pussycat Dolls’ remix of the Oscar-award winning Jai Ho from “Slumdog Millionaire), the Parkour team swung into action and gave an inspired improvisation while the Bollywood dancers were joined by their leader in a grand– and perhaps first-of-its-kind– combination of the two wildly physical forms.

Next week’s “Hot Sauce and Jewish Mysticism” is already sold out but tickets are available for July 3rd’s “Stigmata and The Black Panthers.”