A Legacy Of Dance
By Lee Li Ying
Organized as part of the Exxon-Mobile Campus Concerts, SDT Legacy, staged on September 11, was one of the rare chances you’ll get to see Singapore’s leading ballet company. Drawing from a repertoire of critically acclaimed works, the night’s line –up included Toru Shimazaki’s Absence of Story, Don Quixote’s Pas De Duex, and Goh Choo San’s Fives.
Performed to Brahm’s evocative Vivace Ma Non Troppo, Absence of Story was inspired by the composer’s unrequited love for his best friend’s wife. Moved by the depth of ache for the lack of the relationship, Shimazaki’s abstracted ensembles and open-ended choreography demonstrated the pathos of the broken-hearted lucidly.
The dancers have to be given credit for pulling off the challenging choreography with an accustomed, breezy ease. They were technically brilliant, and demonstrated exquisite stamina and control for such a fast-paced piece. My only grouse was the lack of emotional commitment to the passion that first fueled the choreography. Their frozen smiles were well-illuminated and made more obvious by the fact that the audience was just meters away from the dancers in the small theatre. Rosa Park and Chen Peng’s sensational technique and rapport in Don Quixote’s Pas De Deux stole the night for me. Doing what they were best at, the SDT Senior
Artistes demonstrated virtuoso technique in masterfully delivering one of ballet’s most spectacular and challenging variations. Rosa was the star of the night — coquetting deliciously with her fan and competing in a thrilling coda with Chen before rounding off the stunning performance with the famous 32 fouettes.
Choreographed by local dance legend Goh Choo San, Fives was a fitting ending to the night’s performance. Dressed in flaming red unitards, the dancers executed many of Goh’s signature ensemble patterns competently. Though it is by no fault of the dancers, the 15-member cast looked dangerously compact on UCC’s small stage, and the lack of space took away some of the linear elements that made this piece powerful. All in all, the company’s choice to stage contemporary pieces alongside classical works not only showcased the dancers’ versatility, but also demonstrated the company’s growth and foresight. SDT has grown from strength to strength in its 25 years and shows no signs of slowing down.