Five years ago Northwest Children’s Theater took a beloved classic and fused it with Indian folk dance, Bharatanatyam, and Bollywood. The result was a hugely successful show and a partnership between NWCT and Anjali School of Dance that has led to two more productions that showcase Indian culture. Now The Jungle Book—the show that started it all—is back on the NWCT stage.
The play is packed with several dance numbers in a celebration of Indian arts and culture. There are graceful and beautiful pieces and hand-clapping energetic ones that give audiences a taste of the wide world of Indian dance. Most of the eight dancers are teenagers, and what’s most impressive is that their energy and abilities match that of the professional dancers. One of the most captivating parts is the ingenious use of aerial dance in the scene with Kaa the Snake. Audience members young and old oohed and aahed over the actor’s strength and skill on the silks.
The Jungle Book is recommended for ages 5 and up. At 90 minutes (plus a 15-minute intermission), the show moves fairly quickly and keeps viewers engaged with the action, the vibrant colors, and, of course, the dancing. My 9-year-old and 12-year-old (and I!) loved the villains—not for their evil deeds but for the humor the clueless minions brought to the show.
The Jungle Book runs through March 7 at Northwest Children’s Theater. Showtimes are Saturdays and Sundays, noon and 4 p.m. (ASL-interpreted performance at noon Feb. 22; audio-described performance at 4 p.m. the same day.) If you’re going by car, there’s a small parking lot and on-street parking, with metered spots west of NW 17th Ave. and non-metered time-limit spots between the freeway and NW 17th.
After the show, meet the cast in the lobby for autographs and photos. And if theatergoers need a nosh before or after the show or during intermission, the concessions stand offers drinks and snacks, including traditional Indian samosas.
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