Perse pupil adds string to her bow with touring dance show

Ana Bingipur (Year 9) has been pulling the strings as part of a Cambridge dance company’s touring show for young children.

Playing violin, she has been providing the musical accompaniment to Magical Honey, a production from South Asian-style dance company Sanskruti, since it premiered at Cambridge Junction in May 2023.

Through dance, magic and music, Magical Honey tells the story of book-loving Maya and her meeting with celestial being Saraswati who helps her discover how to overcome the evil Headteacher.

The show was taken on the road with performances in theatres, libraries and arts centres last year, while the spring programme includes stops as far afield as Glasgow, Kent and Berkshire.

Ana, whose violin playing was described as ‘exquisite’ by a reviewer from britishtheatre.com, said she had enjoyed being involved in the Magical Honey production.

She said: “My dance teacher was looking for a violinist and as I’m going up to Grade 6, I was a good fit for the job, so we did a couple of rehearsals and it went from there.

“I’m the only live musician and I play over a backing track, but there are seven different scenes each with a different piece of music and I need to improvise as well.

“I started playing violin when I was three and back then I learned using the Suzuki method where you don’t look at notes or sight read, you need to listen to your teacher, so Magical Honey brought out my Suzuki side again.

“Even though it was hard at first, it has helped my creativity come out and it’s been a really good experience.”

A keen dancer and actor herself, Ana felt the response to the show, which also includes some audience participation, had been incredible.

She said: “Some of the shows have been sold out, which is really good, and you can tell from the reaction that the young kids are having a really nice time.

“We try to get them involved by teaching them a dance with ribbons, which they find a lot of fun, as well as having workshops at the end where they can draw what they liked about the show.

“I just really enjoy it. Everyone in the team is also really supportive which makes it a nice, friendly environment to be part of.”

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