When Music Needs Movement

A Masterpiece in Motion by Singapore Dance Theatre

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by Crystal Tang and Brenda Boo

The Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT) presented a mixture of three assorted and outstanding works to the Esplanade Theatre stage on 23rd and 24th August. Masterpiece in Motion, SDT’s International Repertory Season, is an annual performance highlighting three exquisite works while showcasing exceptional choreography to local audiences. In line with its 25thAnniversary year, the Theatre presented a trio of the company’s premiere – George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, a piece specially made for the Theatre – Nils Christe’s Organ concerto and one from the Theatre’s repertoire – Lambarena by Val Caniparoli.

George Balachine’s Theme and Variations was the opening piece for the evening. With ballerinas dancing to Tschaikovsky’s music in traditional ballet costumes (more specifically the tutus), it was a brilliant combination showcasing the beauty of traditional ballet. This was also Rosa Park’s debut as the principal female dancer after having learnt about it through her student years. Props used for this performance were more elaborate and captivating, especially with the three dangling chandeliers enhancing the magnificence of the dance.

The next performance in line, Organ Concerto was choreographed by the famous Dutch choreographer, Nils Christe and it was being made especially for the Theatre. The brooding music composition was originally by Francis Poulenc with a similar title. With the all black costumes and black backdrops used on the stage, it easily captivated the audience’s attention with heightened tension stirred by the deep humming of the organ, all portrayed in this piece of contemporary ballet.

Lambarena by Val Caniparoli, a piece from the company’s repertoire, performed a closing role for the evening’s performance. Music for this stage was very intriguing as it was a fusion of traditional African and classical European music. In the words of Canoparoli, “Everything has meaning. African dance is always something about earth, sky and animals”. This was indeed spectacular and challenging for the dancers as even the smallest eye movements have to be choreographed for the whole to be a sum of its part — the dance! No doubt, the exotic African melodies combined with energetic dance moves and vibrantly coloured costumes ended the evening’s performance perfectly. It was indeed a masterpiece in motion, just like how it was meant to be!