Singapore Dance Theatre returns once again for their two-weekend performance of Ballet Under the Stars, held at Fort Canning Green. This year, there was more of a carnival atmosphere happening, with stalls set up providing photo booths and tattoo stickers, as well as snacks like candy floss, popcorn, and ice cream.
The first weekend’s performance focused on modern ballet, with a repertoire of three exquisite pieces, each with their own visual style and unique choreography. Unlike classical ballet that features elaborate theatrical backdrops, the stage was set bare for this weekend’s modern dance interpretation.
Kicking off the evening was the performance of Linea Adora, created by Timothy Harbour specially for Singapore Dance Theatre to celebrate their 30th anniversary, featuring all 32 members of the company. As its name – which means ‘adoration of lines’ – suggests, the piece was all about the symmetry, from the arrangement on stage right down to their costumes. The music by Philip Glass provided just the right mood to accompany the four sections of the work, changing from dramatic to lyrical. This piece only served as an appetiser to the next two works.
Evening Voices – also created specially for Singapore Dance Theatre, by Tim Rushton – was up next, featuring the haunting soundtrack, All-Night Vigil by S. Rachmaninov. Unlike the previous act, this one was very dynamic, expressive, and fluid, and more about storytelling. The ballerinas were very fluid in their movements, emulating emotions with their poses. The most memorable portion of this piece was when 13 cast members used linking arm movements to create fluid waves. Set to a dark stage with dramatic lighting, it was an awe-inspiring experience watching the dancers perform on the floor like it was a Renaissance painting.
The finale of the night was SYNC, which was created for the Washington Ballet by Nils Christie and performed by 14 companies around the world. Created to music by Ludovico Einaudi, the piece is full of high energy, featuring quick percussions and even chanting, and was easily the most theatrical of the three pieces performed that night.
A large iron truss was set at the back of the stage where dancers would come out one by one like a production line. The male dancers created an interesting silhouette as they dangled, sat on, and swung themselves from the trusses at the rear of the stage. Meanwhile, ballerinas flit across the stage – backwards – like fireflies across a pond. There was power in the choreography, and the dancers certainly proved their strength. The music, setting, and the choreography all came together like it was a deconstructed meal – gorgeous to look at, simple in its form, and complicated in flavour.
The company certainly showed the audience a good time that night; what’s more, during the intermission, the audience was treated to several SAF fly-bys as well as (a slightly obstructed view) of the fireworks as preparations for National Day were underway.
Ballet Under the Stars will continue this weekend (12-14 July) with a classic repertoire comprising Giselle, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. Tickets are available at $40 via SISTIC.