Is it possible to listen to choreography and not just watch it? In this triple bill, Goh Shou Yi attempts to investigate that. Sound and sight find parallel roads in this adventurous experiment in dance in which movement and installation meet.
In the first piece Surface 間 (MA) a plastic sheet covers the entire stage. The lighting reveals small wrinkles on the plastic which hides three dancers beneath. The initial movement is slow, and the dancers’ bodies expand the synthetic material outwards. There is a sense of something growing and swelling. At one point a dancer rises inside the plastic coat back-lit in what looks like a painting of Virgin Mary – it’s beautiful. When the dancers move on top of the plastic, they create their own soundscape. It’s visually striking and aurally intriguing. But does it totally succeed? For me, the dancing becomes secondary, the least interesting element in this installation-dance piece. Perhaps unintentionally.
Installation and cross-collaboration are the common theme for these three distinctive and visually striking new dance works. This Is How We’ll Meet/Part by Marcus Foo is a simple duet, animated with beautiful lighting design by Liu Yong Huay and featuring two dancers moving fast, and complementing every sharp movement with a breath out.
Lights blink off and straight back on again to reveal a landscape of circles on the walls and floor. It’s against this environment that the two dancers meet each other for the following fifteen minutes. The pair shares brief encounters and establish a deep connection. Breathing loudly together reveals a precise harmony, but the piece never really develops beyond the initial premise. It comes full-circle finishing as it started – with the same striking fast movement – leaving no room for surprises.
Second Nature closes the evening with elegance and a dramatic approach to dance. A cocoon of different fabrics with a dark-colored string hangs from the ceiling down to the floor. The dancers present short solos center stage, one at a time, in the process revealing their unique identities and styles of dance. Choreographer, Anthea Seah is colorful and bold in her approach. Particularly with her nine dancers dressed in evening gowns and suits.
What is striking in this work is the use of juxtaposition: the female ensemble dances in perfect harmony against a trio of male dancers. The interaction between the dancers follows a process of building and destroying support systems between each other. It’s a joy to watch these dancers own both the movement and the text, the latter offering personal revelations. They sound like themselves rather than like characters, lending the piece a sense of authenticity. It’s a humanizing touch that brings a cozy end to the evening.