Visual by T.H.E Dance Company
by Richard Chua
8 December 2010
Singapore dance scene is in its developmental stages. Many dance practitioners know that. This could be seen in the numerous calls for participation, not to mention open rehearsals by Singapore dance companies in the recent months, ranging from the contemporary to the traditional. With the successful completion of the Graey Festival organised by The Substation, the Singapore dance scene sees the commencement of Contact 2010, a week-long dance-intensive masterclasses and open rehearsals jointly organised by Singapore dance company T.H.E Dance Company, the NUS (National University of Singapore) Centre of the Arts and the National Arts Council of Singapore. It all seems natural; numerous dance events of different sizes and formats, but will they be considered significant contributions to the development of local dancers and choreographers? A question that needed constant reflection before an answer could be found.
T.H.E Dance Company, founded by Singapore-based, Malaysian-born, dancer Kuik Swee Boon, could be seen as the next big thing in the dance scene in Singapore. I could be criticised for the very mention of the phrase “the next big thing”, for the most searing critique to be levied on this word is the very definition of “big” in Singapore. But the company’s passion and effort in pushing for training and development in Singapore is commendable. The company has been working hard for months since its founding in September 2008. With 4 full-time dancers in its fold, Kuik Swee Boon has been adamant in pursuing high quality of training for his dancers. With the establishment of the company’s second company, more young dancers (and possibly new choreographers) could be seen performing works in Singapore, with better bodies – an area of study highly under-performed in the Singapore dance scene. Feel. Do. Think. – the theme for the events – is the starting point of the whole exercise. It aims at engaging dancers, choreographers and audiences at a deeper level, not to mention cultivating the culture of learning and exchanging among artists and audiences. It features workshops, masterclasses and technique classes as well as 3 main stage performances and 2 studio presentations over eight days in the week of 11 – 18 December 2010.
Works-in-progress, alternative creations and workshops are featured in the studio presentation series. Studio Presentation I features emerging choreographers from South East Asia, presenting talents like Muslimin Bagus Pranowo (Indonesia), Scarlet Yu (Singapore), Zhuo Zihao (Singapore) and Len Siew Mee (Malaysia). Studio Presentation II and the Dance Film Presentation will both feature the results of workshops led by Chou Shu-Yi (Taiwan), Kim Jae Duk (Korea), Muslimin Bagus Pranowo (Indonesia) and dance film maker Gabriela Tropia (London/Brazil). The presentation will be a result-showcase of workshops with the relevant dance artists.
As part of its arts development programme, there will be a workshop with London-based Brazillian dance film maker Gabriela Tropia, where participants learn the basics of dance film making. Under Tropia’s guidance, they will create their very own dance film. Such a workshop might be a first of its kind in Singapore’s dance community. Apart from this, there will also be no less than three movement workshops conducted by Chou Shu-Yi (Taiwan), Kim Jae Duk (Korea) and Muslimin Bagus Pranowo (Indonesia), not to mention technique classes by dance professionals Silvia Yong (Singapore), Albert Tiong (Singapore), Muslimin Bagus Prawono (Indonesia), Jens Bjerregaard (Denmark) and Jacek Luminski (Poland).
Last but not least, masterclasses focusing on imparting and showcasing unique dance styles are also in place with Jacek Luminski (Poland) and Yvonne Ng (Canada/Singapore).
With myriad dance events happening in Singapore for developing the local dance scene – coupled with the recently concluded Graey Festival organised by Raka Maitra – it is difficult to claim that there are no opportunities for dancers to further improve themselves in this small island state. But are the events sufficient, or from another perspective: are the events merely numbers filling up the gaps within the local dance scene. Are Singapore dancers on-par with their counterparts practicing in other parts of the world, technique and creation wise? These questions loom in the background, needing answers. Perhaps answers are not the ones we should be looking for, but discussions and reflections on how dances could be created as a form of good art.
新加坡舞蹈界正处于发展阶段。许多本地舞蹈工作者们都非常清楚这处境，近几个月，本地各个团体大大小小的征舞启事以及开放排练等，不管是当代作品还是传统舞蹈，处处可见。本地舞坛，继刚刚谢幕之由新加坡电力站举办的印度舞蹈祭Graey Festival，于下周将见证由新加坡舞团《人》、新加坡国立大学艺术中心、新加坡艺术理事会联合呈献的舞蹈专业课程及开放排练活动：Contact 2010 （中译：触 2010）。活动甚多不足为奇，但是此活动会不会给予本地舞者与编舞有效的发展机会，而助于进步之效应？这是一个值得持续思考的问题。
小剧场呈献（1）将由来自东南亚的舞者演出，如印尼的Muslimin Bagus Pranowo、 新加坡／香港的Scarlet Yu、新加坡的Zhuo Zhihao 、马来西亚的Len Siew Mee。小剧场呈献（2）和舞蹈电影呈献则由台湾的周书毅、韩国的Kim Jae Duk、印尼的Muslimin Bagus Pranowo和伦敦／巴西的舞蹈电影人Gabriela Tropia。演出将是工作坊成员的汇报演出。
在发展艺术方面，以上被提及的驻伦敦，巴西籍舞蹈电影人Gabriela Tropia也将传授制作舞蹈电影入门。在她的指导下，学员们将制作自己的舞蹈短片。这有可能是国内第一个舞蹈电影制作课程。除此之外，来自台湾的周书毅、韩国的Kim Jae Duk和印尼的Muslimin Bagus Pranowo，加上新加坡的Silvia Yong和Albert Tiong、丹麦的Jens Bjerregaard、波兰的Jacek Luminski和加拿大的Yvonne Ng，也会各自带领身体训练工作坊。