Dancing to a new rhythm
Posted on 13 August, 2012
The wait is finally over as Re: Dance Theatre, choreographer Albert Tiong’s newly set up company, presents their highly anticipated inaugural work, Whisper Of The Tempest (WOTT). The 5-month old group debuts with a work that relates the personal being to the rest of the universe and its infinite forces, a piece on how our existence can seem solid yet fragile at the vary same time when it is put against the enormous backdrop of our surroundings. WOTT will feature collaborations with music composer Jenson Koh, multimedia artist Koo Kian Meng and lighting designer Andy Lim.
In this preview, we interview Dapheny Tan, Andy Cai and Foo Yun Ying – three of RDT’s dancers – about the work and establishing the company.
LMW: It must have been an exciting few months preparing for this inaugural performance. Tell us how the journey of creating this work has been for you?
Dapheny Tan: It has been pretty intense and tiring but I’m very thankful to be working with like minded people whom I respect. Ever so often we crack a joke or two. It makes the process more enjoyable. Of course the rehearsal process isn’t always rosy but we learn to cope with our good and bad days. We cope with tough situations using the RDT way: pig out! The best word to describe this journey is bonding. The company has definitely grown closer and to me it is very important considering the amount of time we spend together. Having this shared understanding definitely makes the working relationship easier. As an individual, I’ve been pushed a lot harder. But that is good because a lot of the experiences and values I learnt along the way could not be picked up in the classroom.
LMW: Dapheny, you have been very active in the local dance scene for quite some time and now you are playing a big part in the creation of RDT. How does this make you feel?
DT: I’m honestly very scared and excited. RDT is not just a project, it has become my family. There is much more pressure and it doesn’t help that I am a perfectionist. It is a very different challenge. That said, I am actually very happy to be able to make a worthy contribution to the bigger picture – the local dance scene. RDT wants to be platform for younger artists to learn and grow and I am excited to be there to help.
LMW: Andy, I remember you danced in a work choreographed by Albert quite some time ago in one of the graduation shows during your time at Lasalle College of the Arts. Now you are once again part of Albert’s creation. What is different about these 2 experiences?
Andy Cai: It was a duet with Li Tian Tian, my dance senior. It was her graduation show. It was such a long time ago! I was still a student at that time and there were many aspects of the work and messages that Albert was trying to convey to the audience that I could not understand or grasp. Now, after my years of further studies and with much more dance experience, I am able to capture the qualities of his movements. That was initially quite a difficult process. I approach and understand Albert’s works with much more depth now and therefore find the process more enjoyable.
LMW: Andy, as a performer you have straddled the commercial world, big theatre productions as well as the smaller, more experimental projects. describe how you approach each project you encounter and your philosophy as a performer
AC: To me, being versatile is key. I approach every show I do with this spirit. Commercial shows are just as important as the more artistic ones. No matter the role, I try my best to bring in my personal style.
LMW: Can you describe how being a part of the creation of WOTT has contributed to your development as a dancer?
FYY: I have come to understand how the state of mind and the being is the crux of each performance, be it during rehearsals or on stage. One can be executing the movements perfectly and to the choreographer’s expectations but if the state of mind and being is not right, it will just simply ruin the entire picture. Previously when dancing with T.H.E Dance Company I learnt the importance of achieving technical accuracy. T.H.E has played an important part of my career as a dancer especially when it came to understanding the technical aspects of dance. But it has been through Albert that I feel I have gradually matured as a performer and I am still continuing the search for the kind of mental quality needed with every performance.
LMW: What makes Whisper Of The Tempest worth catching?
DT: WOTT is a dynamic display of local artistic talent. From dancers to the music composer and multimedia artist even our production team, each person has invested into this work an immense amount of effort and talent. Our company is inspired a lot by our urban landscape and human strength and in turn we hope to inspire our audience with our perspective.
WHISPER OF THE TEMPEST 《微風》is on at Goodman Arts Centre, Black Box, Block M #01-53 on 17 Aug 2012 (8pm) and 18 Aug 2012 (3pm & 8pm). Tix at $28 from Re:Dance Theatre at firstname.lastname@example.org or +65 9456 6008 / 9858 0952.
TEXT BY LEE MUN WAI