Gearing up for the premiere of ‘Casa’, my new contemporary dance choreography in Singapore, part of City Lights with Maya Dance Theatre.
In the last few weeks, my dancers and I have been working in the studio towards this large contemporary dance performance. City Lights
Contemporary dance in Singapore is really expanding into new places, I never thought before that performing on a stage in the middle of a shopping mall was something that I would be interested in, however, that was my ignorance talking louder than my work.
Today we ran the dance piece from the beginning to the very end and I was so impressed with the audience’s response to our rehearsal on site.
Casual audience members, were passing by and searching for a cheap lunch deal in the mall, actually stopped to watch contemporary dance and came up to me with all sorts of questions to why we were dancing and when was the real performance.
In retrospect, contemporary dance in this instance intervened with people’s routine, offering a new perspective into their lunchtime, and perhaps the way they see their world. There are now more people interested in dance, and bringing the latter to a mall makes absolute sense.
I strongly believe this is a great audience development opportunity, where else will you find the inhabitants of Singapore during the weekend?
Reflecting on ‘Casa’, my new contemporary dance piece and I already want to change its title …
My initial idea for this duet was to focus on developing a movement language that has accompanied me for 16 years – my live improvisations in the privacy of my many bedrooms across Europe. In those cheap, sometimes dirty and cold places I used to do contact improvisation with furniture. I discovered on the floor my very best dance partner supporting my weight through any complicated movement phrase. If you don’t know me well, you are certainly unaware of the fact that I spend a lot of time upside down. I also prefer to rewind any idea instead of displaying an organic progression of my thoughts. They are scattered in my immediate environment. Choreography gives me time to think, and space to experiment my ideas. I organised them after all, this time in a beautiful sequence of movements where pauses play a crucial role, allowing the audience to breathe and sync in the entire dance material.
Last night, I was a guest contemporary dance choreographer for a panel discussion at Maya Dance Theatre.
My involvement with the company started a few months ago mentoring a wonderful programme for young choreographers in Singapore [MOVE], but it has quickly escalated into a close relationship with choreographers and dancers. Amongst many issues discussed in this panel conversation, we compared our very different approaches to the craft of making contemporary dance choreography; our personal thoughts on contemporary dance in Singapore and the world, but above all, we discussed in depth why we make choreography? Why is it our chosen creative medium of communication with the world?
The many replies to this question were so different, but the common denominator to all the choreographers in the panel was that we have a contribution to make to society, and we chose to do so through dance and specifically contemporary dance choreography.
I am thrilled with my next performance on Sunday, as well as hearing the audience’s reactions to my new intimate work – performed at Orchard Central shopping mall.
City Lights is on 5th of September from 4-8pm 6th of September from 1-5pm.
FiveLines is presenting ‘Casa’ choreographed by Ezekiel Oliveira at 3 & 4 pm on Sunday the 6th of September.
I am very grateful for this commission by Maya Dance Theatre, allowing me to experiment with my dancers, voicing my own thoughts on what home really means.