Mist houses a very impressive creative team of artists working in Singapore across choreography, performance and music. Dr Stephanie Burridge works together with the visceral dancer Yarra Ileto and composer and performer Kailin Yong. I have had the pleasure of watching a video of this performance created originally in February 2016 with performances coming up at M1 Contact Contemporary Dance Festival this Summer on the 3rd of June at Esplanade Theatre Studio.
Mist is dance-theatre performance, live music, dance and text coexist in the same performance space opening the doors for a creative journey where music and dance genuinely collaborate. Giving room for one another to breathe.
Music isn’t serving the dance or vice-versa. But, co-operating in a way where one never underscores the other. Dance grows an indispensable voice for music and sound becomes the quintessential vortex of the choreography.
‘Mist needs two outstanding, creative and senior performers who can invest themselves in the work and dig deep into their own memories, personal stories and feelings’ Burridge says.
Ileto and Yong share the stage in a dramatic performance. Music and dance come together in equal roles. Burridge shares that ‘The mood constantly shifts from lighter, funny moments to darkness and uncertainty. The non-linear narrative enables a collage of episodes – some driven by movement-others by the music. The incorporation of some text supports the imagery and underpins the dance theatre nature of the work.’
“Mist is intentionally ambiguous giving the opportunity for different resonances.”
Watching this performance for the first time, I couldn’t help seeing this piece as a concert of music and dance. One of those rare occasions where a choreographer is willing to explore a lot further the performance aspect of the music. While labouring through dance material- bringing to the foreground two mediums, rather than only one.
The music for Mist is breathtaking. Thanks to the musical composition from Yong and notably because of his intuitive and instinctive live performance with a violin. Performing in this enchanting duet of music, dance and spoken word with a soundscape and musical accompaniment pre-recorded by Yong.
‘Initially, the idea was for us to use some of my pre-existing music, but as it was my first time working with Stephanie, I really wanted to use this golden opportunity to co-create something with her from start to finish. So all the music and sounds (live and recorded) were both created specifically for this work based on Stephanie’s storyboard and clear but open artistic direction.’ Kailin says.
Yong declares on working with Ileto; ‘Our chemistry and resonance were evident right from the first rehearsal. Yarra is such an amazing dancer, her soulful and incredibly beautiful movement can only come from a deep heart connection and an enormous courage to be vulnerable; feeling and allowing every emotion to manifest and flow freely through her, translating into the most heart-wrenchingly honest and beautiful movements.’
In this collaborative work, Yong states to be moved and inspired to express himself whit his body at every time he watches Yarra dance. ‘ The impact is exponentially heightened in this collaboration where I get to move with her, phrase every melody to her every breath and gesture.’ he says.
Burridge resumes this piece excellently, ‘This is a duet for two performers and is in the tradition of a dance pas de deux– but one is a dancer and the other a musician.’
Ileto is an instinctive dancer, now an independent dance artist working across a variety of performance projects in Singapore, after a successful career with T.H.E. Dance Company. An excellent performer of detail and sensations – managing to translate an internal turbulence of emotions into a dance that is introspective but decisively clear. Dramatically punctuated with dynamics of repetition – allowing her to be a humanising dancer across spoken word and movement.
Ileto declares; ‘ the dance itself has several abstract layers that are still open to interpretation. The text grounds my emotional path and then transcends through the movement path. I move a lot more than I speak, so it really just sparks several thoughts that get released into the dance.’
Mist grounds itself on a concept of investigating memory and delusion through literature, partly by the delusional Miss Havisham (Great Expectations, Charles Dickens), the tragic Ophelia (Hamlet, William Shakespeare); also the fated Giselle, particularly Swedish choreographer Mats Ek’s version. (Giselle, traditional classical ballet), Burridge says.