[Review] Singapore Dance Theatre’s “Passages Contemporary Season 2018”

Passages (26-28 October) commemorates the company’s 30th Anniversary by performing two memorable works from Singapore Dance Theatre’s repertoire as well as new works created for the company dancers.

For audiences who have seen Another Energy by Timothy Harbour (resident choreographer at The Australian Ballet) and Shadow’s Edge by Ma Cong (resident choreographer of Tulsa Ballet), you will get to reminisce these two pieces of performance, in addition to Tim Rushton’s world premiere of Evening Voices.

As the lights went dark and the rustling of footsteps hinted the arrival of dancers on stage, the piece began with a line of dancers filling up the entire length of the stage as they slowly got closer to the audience.

In Another Energy, a circular beam against the backdrop draws your focus in. The dancers execute their moves with swift dynamic precision of lines and angles, with bodies extending beyond their own interpersonal distance. A flurry of energy swirls on stage as the dancers cut through the negative spaces. The dancers weave in and out of their duets and trios easily with grace and they become a single entity. Nearing the end of the piece, the music begins to quieten down and as the lights start to dim, the circular light beam illuminates against the dark, casting silhouettes onto the moving bodies before everything disappears into the blackness.

The second item is a new work by Tim Rushton, the Artistic Director and Choreographer of the Danish Dance Theatre. In contrast to the piece before, Evening Voices showcases a more melodious quality that resonated within the dancers’ body. The music for this piece was All-Night Vigil by Sergey Rachmaninov, and its richness seemed to pour out of the dancers’ body movements. They swam across the stage as they wove through each other, forming a horizontal line in the middle of the stage; their right hands were connected to another’s elbow, creating a rippling of waves. Tim talks about how he often finds himself being driven by the music in this choreography, and that is prominently evident in the way the movements interlace with the music.

The evening ended with Shadow’s Edge by Ma Cong, which encapsulated the entire journey that the dancers have brought us to that evening. This piece conveyed a sense of mystical and hopeful outlook as dancers emerged in bright orange outfits; the audience could literally feel the energy on stage. This is a visually enthralling choreography that pulls your focus in.

As the dancers took their final bow, audiences were left with a memorable performance that is not easily forgotten.

by Chua Pei Yun