6 questions for a choreographer: Kuik Swee Boon


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Dance is a flowing movement; a motion, and behind every dancer is an emotion – a passion. More so, when you are not only a dancer, but a choreographer as well. But what drive a person to be so passionate about his art? Each choreographer and dancer have their own take, and hence, for this interview with T.H.E Dance Company’s choreographer, Kuik Swee Boon, we asked these questions with regards to their upcoming dance – Silences We are Familiar With happening on May 28 – 30.

Q1: I understand this dance has been performed before in 2012. Is there any specific reason you are bringing this back again after 3 years?

SB: My main reason for bringing this back is actually very simple – basically I wanted to redo/improve on it.
To me, this time around is a brand new start – a new beginning and take on the idea as well as a way to reflect on the past and to understand the me then. It is sort of a self-reflection for me, as I had lesser time to come up with a new choreography in the past, and so given the time now, I am able to understand and experience more, and to also think about the theme even more in-depth. Also, the thought process that I have, be it than or now, is like a continuation of time, although the context in which both happened may be entirely different from each other.

That said, on the other hand, I am hoping that T.H.E Dance Company can have more classical pieces that we are and can be known and remembered for to build a solid foundation and base for further development. That way, we can avoid being seen as merely creative and innovative with new performances often, but not be remembered for techniques or lacking in it. For a dance company, I guess it’s not a question of either or for being remembered by solely our classical pieces or what how creative we are. It should be both that is felt, and can be seen in plain view on the stage.

Q2: Why is this piece titled: “Silence We are Familiar With”?

SB: Originally when I came up with this concept, it was based on my personal opinions and understanding of love. Growing up, the times when I felt the emotion of love most strongly was during “silences”. It is like at times silence may be the best solution to anything, even though we know our surroundings will forever be bustling with noise.
At the same time too, I feel that although every thing that exist is said to have a reason that can be explainable in language and is concrete, love actually transcends language, and sometimes you have to feel it to understand it – words just simply cannot describe it.

Q3: This piece talks about life, death, love etc. In a way it feels as though there is alot of negativity. Is there any particular reason for this?

SB: Actually the life here refers to everyday life, not lifespan. It’s not negative as well – those are just the thoughts of dance critics! Who says a child brought up in a single parent family, or a person who is lying on death-bed cannot love or has love that is negative? There are just challenges that life throws to people or what fate has in store for us.
No matter in life or in death, there will always be a place for love. We can only say it’s not whole or special, but we cannot say that it is negative.

Q4: During the process of choreography, were there any difficulties/memorable incidents that you faced?

SB: At this moment, no…But maybe it’s because I’m still in the process of it. I’m the kind that get into things abit slow, in a week’s time though….I think I won’t be able to stop talking….

Q5: Dance tells a story – an emotion. But what the dancers or the dance may entail, not everyone may be able to see it or feel it. To you, from the perspective of a dancer, how do you feel dance can be considered to be closer to the masses or understood?

SB: Actually contemporary dance at times can be said to be only a concept or an idea – it’s interpretation is really endless and limitless. As for bringing it closer to the masses, I’m just thinking if it is really important? If we are trying to force ourselves to fit into the mindsets of the public, then the public might be better off watching variety shows? Basically it doesn’t really fit with contemporary dance at all…

To enhance the public’s awareness and understanding of dance is something I hope and would like to see be reinforced, such as through education, rehearsals that are open to the public, or even interactions after each performance. A good publicity outlet or collaterals can also help too. As for what is being presented on stage, I guess it’s up to the individual to present their own take on it – there is no right or wrong to it.

Q6: Lastly, to end off, what is dance to you?

SB: To me, dance is my life, my language, my reason, my dessert and lastly: Love.

This is our second interview with T.H.E Dance Company’s choreographer.
To read our first interview with Sun Shang Chi, please visit the page here.