[Review] Masterpiece in Motion

The Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT) performed its much awaited Masterpiece in Motion on the 19th (Friday) and 20th (Saturday) of this month at the Esplanade Theatre. Friday marked the company’s premiere of Nils Christe’s Symphony in Three Movements to the music of Igor Stravinsky, accompanied by two other performances by esteemed choreographers Choo-San Goh (Schubert Symphony) and Edwaard Liang (Age of Innocence). This ‘triple bill’ is the first time SDT is showcasing the works of these 3 distinctive choreographers in one night.

The first act was a beautiful ballet performed to the sweet Schubert Symphony, choreographed by Choo-San Goh, a well-known Singaporean ballet dancer and choreographer. The dancers were clad in pink, white and beige, executing Goh’s inimitable sense of propulsion and timing, and intelligent amalgamation of Asian and Western dance gestures. This act was a delightful beginning to the evening as the audience sat wanting more.

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The post intermission act was Age of Innocence, choreographed by Edwaard Liang. This enthralling piece draws inspiration from classic novels like Jane Austen’s, which decoratively narrates the relationships between men and women in an era where patriarchy was the rule. Potent music from Philip Glass and Thomas Newman accompany this dynamic dance, lifting dancers from the stage to highlight the tragedies women of Austen’s era suffered.

The piece de resistance was Nils Christe’s premiere, Symphony in Three Movements, choreographed to a symphony of the same name written by Igor Stravinsky during the Second World War. The performance featured twelve couples dressed in dark shades of black, blue and purple, their dance powerfully depicting the pain and agony of those in love during the war.

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While the ballerinas charmed the audience with their grace and poise, their counterparts were energetic and powerful but yet still delicate in form, leaving the audience mesmerised and applauding thunderously at the end of each movement. The formations were a visual rapture and the solo acts were simply the cherry on the cake.

Performing to the work of three outstanding choreographers in one night is a privilege for the dancers, and the pride on their faces at the conclusion of their performance was received with a undisputedly well-deserved roaring round of cheer. The SDT definitely knows how to put up a show.

By: Dishi Gautam

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