Wednesday , February 28 2024
Singapore Dance Theatre's annual showcase presented exciting and accessible work from new choreographers.

Dance Theatre Review (Singapore): Passages by Singapore Dance Theatre

Singapore Dance Theatre’s annual showcase, Passages, this year saw new choreographers show their pieces with aid from the Singapore Dance Theatre Dancers.

With some ballet influences, Passages focused on modern dance. Interpretive, enticing, and yet easily accessible, this dance showcase appealed to those trained in dance and novices alike.

Choreographer Timothy Coleman’s segment was exciting and enthralling as he had four dancers meet by chance at a roadside and as one of them finds a piece of music on the floor, the others try and play the composition with random instruments found there. Coleman’s segment had his dancers interjecting classical ballet moves with modern dance steps, which made this piece mesmerizing and wonderful to experience.

Choreographer Christina Chan had her dancers in an interpretive piece called “Waiting” which portrayed what I thought to be children in a playground, undergoing what all children go through – a yearning for solitude, only to discover they need each other in the end. However, during the discussion with the choreographers later, Artistic Director Janek Schergen explained that the dancers were in a “boyfriend shirt”. I suppose that’s the essence of interpretive performances – the audience is left to decode the movements as they choose.

The dancers closed the show with a piece choreographed by professional choreographer Toru Shimazaki, who’s piece “Absence of Story” examines composer Johannes Brahms’ unrequited love for a married woman (Clara Schumann, the wife of his composer friend and mentor Robert Schumann). The piece is named as such because, as far as anyone knows, Brahms never got to have his love story with Clara.

This segment, which was danced to Brahms’ Vivace Ma Non Troppo and Adagio, was emotional and full of pathos, as the 13 dancers took to the stage to interpret a love that never was. Once again, this piece was more modern dance than ballet and the dance steps and movements had variety and held the audience’s interest and attention easily.

Passages certainly shows that we have exciting choreographers on the island, and I look forward to seeing more of their pieces in the future.

About Sharmila Melissa Yogalingam

Ex-professor, Ex-phd student, current freelance critic, writer and filmmaker.

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