(Upcoming) Watch Singapore Dance Theatre ONLINE – Rhythm of Us – on SIFA Video-on-Demand!

O joy.

You may now purchase tickets at SGD15 to watch SDT’s “Rhythm of Us” from 13 to 20 Jun, here. 12 noon on Sun 13 Jun to 1159 on 20 Sun 20 Jun, to be exact.

You do have to register with an account and the e-ticket will give you a link to a VOD streaming website. Extremely pleased. (You may have realised that if something is on video, i’m probably not going to review it, because all eyeballs can see it. But maybe I will say something cos it’s up for a limited time, and i really want to Remember things.)

Since we can, we have embedded the instagram interview with Christina Chan, who is choreographing one of the pieces, and whose incredible “The Third Reset” was seen at the Made in Singapore choreographic workshop. The thing is, you can see a snippet of it in this video, with Ivan Koh and Jasper Arran – a snippet that is about using music that is already so well-known, and all I can think is that I didn’t at all register that the music was this super well-known and maybe some may say over-used piece (is it?) – all I registered was the dancing, and the choreography, the direction and the emotion. That’s how good it was. Yes. Yeah we piece out our enthusiasm without measure. i like this kind of interview ‘cos I like knowing how a choreographer might view things, and kind of getting an idea of lives like that (it’s nice that she’s interviewed by Elaine Heng who is her friend!). And it was interesting to hear about how she collaborated with Chok Kerong who is composing the music for the SIFA outing; and an idea of a blank sheet, of throwing thoughts together, which I think of as – sometimes you have to trust to kismet that comes out of throwing shapes into clay and clay into shapes; things fall together sometimes.

If you cannot view it here, it is available at this facebook link.

SIFA (was) + catching up, briefly

Singapore International Festival of Arts – Rhythm of Us was supposed to play tonight and last night. I did have a ticket with a friend. I wanted to put up the list so we don’t forget. Taken from the website here.

Meditation
Choreography by Janek Schergen
Music by William Walton
Costume Design by Chloe Hew
Cast: Chihiro Uchida


Variations From A Distance
Choreography by Pam Tanowitz
Music by Henry Cowell
Costume Design by Harriet Jung and Reid Bartelme
Cast: Elaine Heng, Yeo Chan Yee, May Yen Cheah, Timothy Ng, Etienne Ferrère, Shan Del Vecchio


The Light Behind Us
Choreography and Costume Design by Christina Chan
Music by Chok Kerong
Cast: Chihiro Uchida, Elaine Heng, Yeo Chan Yee, May Yen Cheah, Timothy Ng, Etienne Ferrère, Shan Del Vecchio, Tamana Watanabe, Satoru Agetsuma, Ivan Koh, Jasper Arran

I wanted to say – it’s hard to have shows now, but I hope everyone just stays safe.

In the meantime, here’s a very sweet interview with Chihiro! It’s from April 2021, and it brought a smile to my face 😀

Also, as always, there is the monthly serialised column at The Japanese Association, Singapore to catch up on:)

We (the audience) are still here (even if we are very quiet).

Ok, when it’s not so late I will say something about watching One @ The Ballet again (before COVID restrictions set in again) and how good it was – some things that really came to mind, like how Etienne came back with guns blazing – he has a fabulous, unique, characteristic grace when airborne, but there was also an added power, solid focus, absolute maturity and heft and strength in his performance. I never want to forget that moment when I saw him in One @ (after not watching stuff for so long); that incredible feeling.

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Have been savouring this version of R&J, recommended by a friend. I love it. The choreography isn’t pure classical – and it’s just perfect. It eats up the music, this one; it doesn’t waste reams of wonderful stuff. I’m actually more partial to watching rehearsals than full runs on youtube, because I am curious about rehearsals and because I can’t sit still for youtube, but this is different, somehow.

Peter & Blue’s School Holiday + Rhythm of Us (SIFA)

At last!!! We get to watch a ballet by Singapore Dance Theatre on youtube – so pleased – it’s a new one, Peter & Blue’s School Holiday. It’s so good to see a piece up in full, and now we can watch and rewatch it. The cast list is at the end – we’ve a new Peter (Jeremie Gan, taking over Etienne Ferrère), and the usual Blue (Reece Hudson) and Calico the Cat (Tanaka Nanase). If your TV is not a smart TV, you can make it smart by purchasing a Xiaomi stick (or box, depending on how old your TV is; a stick should suffice) …and then you can watch this on your TV 🙂

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Upcoming: The Rhythm of Us, a collaboration between Singapore Dance Theatre and Singapore Symphony Orchestra (and local jazz pianist + composer, Chok Kerong). Three new contemporary works, by Artistic Director Mr Janek Schergen, by Pam Tanowitz, by Christina Chan (whose work we last saw at the Choreographic Workshop). Hurrah. Anticipation!

hello goodbye congratulations

Belatedly, again.

Congratulations to Esen Thang for being promoted from Apprentice to Artist!

Farewell, and our best wishes, to Erivan Garioli, who was an Apprentice with Singapore Dance Theatre – last seen as one of Tybalt’s swaggering, vicious men in last year’s R&J (in a friend’s words, “Wah, he is fiercer than Tybalt…”); a dancer of great grace and charisma. We would have loved to have seen more of his dancing, but then COVID struck…Wherever he is now, we wish him well.

And hello and congratulations to Rosa Park, former principal dancer of SDT (just comb through the archives) – back as the Assistant Ballet Mistress of SDT. We had been wondering about such things for years… anyway, we are quietly pleased from the tips of our toes to the ends of our fingers.

Made in Singapore – Singapore Dance Theatre’s Choreographic Workshop 2021

SDT held a Made in Singapore choreographic workshop and staged pieces their dancers choreographed at the workshop, and from other choreographers – even more happily, they opened more sessions for folk who missed the first round of applications.

Given the limited seats, understandably, one could only get one ticket to a show and extremely happily for us, we got the show with Shan Del Vecchio’s piece, which was added in as a special item.

Tick-tock; we have a limited time span for our mental dictaphone. Please forgive me if highlights are not all in, because the teddy bear of the brain is small and can only hold so much stuffing.

Pictures, pictures first.

The workshop choreography was by 3 of the SDT dancers – no names to the dances (I couldn’t quite catch why – is it to avoid a note of finality and ‘done’-ness?).

1. zer0 by Rachel Lum

Sophisticated.

Opens with what is the hallmark of the night, which is giving every dancer a moment to shine – allowing us a glimpse into voices we might not be able to see ordinarily. Esen Thang – languid yet sharp elasticity, arresting the eye at every turn; Valerie Yeo – a slinkyroll of energy; slow moves to the throbbing trance-like background music.

The other four dancers join them shortly after. I just rather like the use of the body mechanics throughout the dance; a kind of awareness of the limbs and where people move (a leg raised over a body, feet on tip-toe) and how they should move together in pieces (does that quite make sense?)…

It’s a curiously enchanting piece – you can’t tear your eyes away. Though the music is sort of – well, trance music, I guess, you immediately see that the dancing completely embodies it and brings it to life in a very natural nuanced way; it enhances the music, it carries it across into your soul, and the dancing becomes one with the music. Entirely, you see how Balanchine said dance is music made visible. Kudos to the choreographer and the dancers.

There are moments where you can see that the dancers are like sculptures, like performance art – you can imagine them existing in another medium entirely, that is not dance.

Then when there’s no music – all of the dancers gather in a row at the back of the stage and don black skirts (on account of the theatre being above Uniqlo, I frequently wonder how much stuff comes from Uniqlo) and then Valerie shouts, “Six!” and they all react, and another dancer shouts another number like “three!” and three dancers wriggle, or “two!” and two run forward, then “one!” – but after a while, the numbers are merely numbers (and have no correlation to how many dancers rush forward – perhaps entirely up to them, since probably beyond 3.14, it’s hard to get the rest of pi without a mnemonic – how I want a drink, alcoholic, of course).

And now we go into completely comical hiccuping territory – at first, the shouting and the writhing was surprising; but you very quickly find yourself absorbed by the pulse and energy of this, also in part because of how gleefully the dancers participate in it – Stephanie Joe stalking the stage in a wraith-like circle, ablaze with a kind of haunted energy; the irrepressibly energetic Justin Zee writhing in a corner with (if i recall correctly, probably not) Valerie; by the time Mizuno Reo, as part of a trio of dancers, glances up suddenly with his skirts in his teeth and the trio starts leaping about with their fangs bared and skirts hanging from their mouths, you get a wonderful sense of the joyous madness – then the dryly comical Jason Carter puts his skirts in his mouth and shouts a muffled, barely meaningful “three“, to command everyone to march along with him – and at that moment the dance dares you to take yourself too seriously by now, because you really shouldn’t. (Yes, we said sophisticated.)

Our favourite moment probably is during what we think must be a song by Tralala Lovers. The music rattles along in a lively fashion, sung loudly in a language foreign to us; and everyone is a jelly snake wriggling in a group, or a jelly bean rolling upon the floor; and then at the height of the cheerful music, everyone gathers at the back of the stage and it all devolves into one long slow-motion fight – first you don’t understand, then you see Esen’s face curled up in a long wink, Jason’s contorted facial expressions as he pulls away from the madding melee, and then everyone is reaching forward, struggling, amassing, tearing apart, exactly like that moment in a movie – either at the rolling credits, or somewhere two-thirds in – when the action happens and the scrappy hero is trying to escape from the cartoon villains in a farmer’s market, complete with feathers flying, and dogs running away, and cars honking. (I don’t know which movie this is, though. But I know it exists.)

There’s no good way to fullstop this; jump stop next go. Congratulations, Instagram works today at embedding, and the 3rd picture is that madness of which we speak above.

02. Etienne’s Group

There’s a clarity and purity in the choreography that leaps out at you. There’s also a kind of gentle humour that you feel in your stomach without laughing out loud – you recognise it in the little wriggles of the feet as Huo Liang and Chua Bi Ru mince their wriggling way across the stage to the tickling of the ivories; the coy framing of the face with hands; the dancers in a group on their tippy-toes. I liked how there was a great deal of classical ballet choreography (to my eye) to the music, but also a chic contemporary look to it. One moment, Kwok Min Yi might be dancing in a very classic pas de deux fashion; and the very next, Huo Liang would be kneeling on the ground in a series of very contemporary-looking, angular poses.

It is really extremely difficult to choreograph for so many people in a kind of classical way because there will be patterns – and there’s a kind of quiet intricacy to how it’s patterned – the trio of men waltzing with frothy skirts in hand, in an ecstasy of music; the group dancing; the lines, the trios of men and women – but these are things you realise on hindsight because when you’re watching immediately, what you’re watching is the music unfold and you don’t quite realise, until later, what goes into the process. Part of the enjoyment is in seeing what the choreographer felt about the music, and how it flowed out through his mind and through the dancers.

One of my favourite things about this piece was how the dance brought out the dancers’ qualities in a way that you don’t always get to see in a lot of pieces. It’s like the choreographer knew things about them, about what they could achieve, and let these qualities shine. You get to see Yatsushiro Marina in a fragile, deeply emotional, haunting, strong solo that strikes you in the gut; Leane Lim’s wonderful taut lithe charismatic strength (also partnered very capably by two gentlemen); Jessica Garside in a powerful, strong solo, like a flower at the height of the summer.

(Other things I don’t want to forget – how it opens with Min Yi and Huo Liang in pure romance, Bi Ru entering to bright and luscious music; the group dancing in a bright white cheery number that looks simpler than it really is; men pulling up skirts over the kneeling ladies’ heads so the ladies are like blooms on the ground.)

Since we cannot embed instagram today, here is a link – Behind-the-scenes choreo. Would that we could and o, for more. But there should be official pics, so we will wait.. Here we go, see below. Also, see 4th and last pics of the set above.

03. Reece’s Group

This begins with Reece in a grey hooded cloak and clutching a staff, standing atop a bench, like a sinister mage out of a computer game. The dancers are in black pants and in a variety of white tops – and they just look…cool. Like jazz musicians, maybe. There’s a kind of hip, droll note to it – folk marching and bopping, rolling and jiving along to the jazz beat that brings to mind the Pink Panther. It also makes good use of John De Dios’ gymnastics abilities. Maybe I’m wrong, but at points I just felt like the choreographer had a very clear idea of what he was seeing in the music.

My favourite moment: the duo of Reiko Tan and Yamauchi Sayaka on the bench. It’s a kind of understated moment; they’re swinging their legs together, they’re holding hands and pulling each other close, they’re moving in synchrony, while in the background, ginormous creatures in grey slowly sway: essentially the other 2 girls perched on the other 2 guys’ shoulders, with grey skirts hanging off them such that they look like large grey triple-decker lampshades – tickles, without being slapstick. The backdrop accentuates the front; and what is in front gives the impression of laser-cut paper images – of something that is almost Studio Ghibli (not because of Totoro, though) and also out of a stop motion animation music video, or a kind of a Japanese or surreal Taiwanese pop music video* with laser-cut silhouettes. Again, I had that feeling that I was simultaneously watching the dance play out in another medium.

*(the two links are quite different – the 2nd one is a bit creepy at points. Definitely had vibes / thoughts of it during this segment; first video is as close as I can get to what I’m thinking about, I guess)

Everyone looked extremely cool and very good in this dance, can I just say. A lot of the dancers in this piece are group dancers, not frequently soloists – and it was good to see them like this. And we hadn’t managed to see much of John De Dios before COVID entered the picture, though we recall seeing him in last year’s R&J – and he put in a strong show (Again, things not to forget – when all don these grey skirts like ponchos, hanging over their shoulders and to their waists, except Reiko Tan, who looks very pleased – until someone stuffs a grey skirt over her head and shoves her back into the group; and they then jive slowly in a circle to this strangely smokey jazzy sound and you can sort of sense the atmosphere of being in an old-timey jazz bar.)

No pics could be located at press time. Please check out the 7th and 8th pics in the instagram set at the start. You see John De Dios caught in action in the middle of his massive mid-air back flip that covers a good bit of a diagonal of the stage.

04. Timothy’s Group

Starts out with the dancers in a row, wearing white plastic masks (these can be found for <$10 in Spotlight, maybe) – and then they each lift off the mask and stretch their bodies forward and roll their heads back in a yawn or a scream or a false laugh – and this has the effect of making it look as if they have ripped their mask off (even if it’s just a gentle lift); and then it’s masks on again. Somewhere in the beginning, a little after this, perhaps because of the stirring music, you might sense, momentarily, a mask slipping – and you can feel the inside soul and a deeply-sensitive side of the choreographer. Perhaps it’s the music; just the chords and the dance saying suddenly, this is me, talking to you.

The dance isn’t strictly black-and-white thematic. It doesn’t hit you on the head with a sledgehammer of “masks equals group dancing and strict conformity equals very bad, masks off equals very good”. But masks off, the choreographer gives you dances to savour: Chihiro and Kenya in a brief delicate pas de deux, she perched upon his shoulder; Chihiro in an elegant gracefully expressive solo that reminds us how much we miss watching her (we missed her Coppelia); Jeremie Gan in a raw uninhibited moment, almost a shout in the face, that powerfully revealed what lies behind masks; graceful ladies; then it builds up to delightful group and trio dancing to music – including that by Gabriel Prokofiev (a remix of one of the pieces heard in Swipe, I think) – a sort of freedom of movement, uninhibited.

Towards the end, when everyone’s put their mask back on again, they dance ala Saturday Night Fever, and the masks make everyone look creepy (do you really know your friends?), and your brain wanders briefly into thinking about clubbing and any other commentary, but the dance cuts straight away to something else and stops your brain from going down a conventional route, i.e. the piece is not a judgment on clubbing itself, but on herds. I thought this showed a kind of self-aware editing – made my point, I’ll move on.

At the finale, the masked masses swill back into a group of masked smiling figures bending at the waist and sticking out an arm to wave at you like they’re truly very pleased to see you. Or are they? …

(Note: it ends on a positive note at the curtain call, where everyone, smiling, removes and flings their masks up into the air, without a glance back at the masks as the masks clatter down behind them.)

Two links to some instagram pictures 🙂 (I could embed, but it is a Sunday afternoon and we want to go for a walk because the skies are blue, and bubble tea needs to be walked off!) See also the 5th and 6th pictures of the official set above.

05. The Third Reset

Officer workers gleefully gallivanting – so many folk in office clothes looking so giddily joyful, spinning in a circle, almost drunk with delight – and their office attire lends a discordant note to the affair that makes you wonder if they’re dead and in Heaven (or Hell, since wearing office attire in Heaven seems unduly restrictive) or else it’s some crazy hallucination on a mushroom because we can attest to the fact that this ain’t never happening. Ever.

We thought the Third Reset, as a title, might be something like Sailor Moon Season 1, where (spoiler…) everyone dies and then gets reincarnated on a wish or by magic (this is hearsay, supported by the internet – I’ve not watched that season).

We digress. The Third Reset is a seamless glorious headlong rush of a piece that folds you into its wings and enchants you and traps you – the choreographer has built up an entire mood that pulls you into the piece as the dancers pull one another along, dangling limbs and flailing feet, into the somnolent bodies falling upon one another like so many deadweights in a dream; the sweat-drenched pas de deux; of bodies anchored and bodies tumbled like pinwheels over backs – somehow, there’s a calm and canny use of joints and bodies so that every movement flows naturally but the overall effect is stunning, like a tumbling waterfall of sparks. Like a 1000 jigsaw pieces in a box.

We use the above to substitute for actually telling you what we saw because we cannot pin it all down – the gentle, elegiac partnership of Yeo Chan Yee and Ivan Koh; the raucous surreal dancing and forming a line with joined hands, and Ivan tumbling apart and falling out of line; the moment when an entire segment is repeated again and again, almost hypnotically; everyone piling together in a line like schoolchildren rushing to be picked for a game, and Shan Del Vecchio straining, squeezing himself in the middle of the group – I’m here, I’m here, don’t leave me behind, and that this is repeated once with the dancers at the back of the stage, backs to us, and once facing us, before they freeze and unwind.

Two pas de deux, in particular, are at the heart of The Third Reset. The first has Watanabe Tamana and Agetsuma Satoru, a piece which is inspired, inspiring, quietly touching, very pure and thrilling. We didn’t take any mental notes, and simply let ourselves be swept away, because it was just architecturally and emotionally complete.

The second is at the end, when the dancers are seated, watching, and Jasper Arran dances with Ivan Koh – light-footed tumbling and stumbling; wrangling and heart-rending, tussles and twists of emotion; raw and complicated, and open and wild – a kind of almost fumbling and feeling one’s way, romance and life itself, in a stumbling upside down fashion – all springing from a sincere emotion that comes from a place of compassion. Humongous respect for the choreographer for giving the emotional notes and direction that brought out this performance, and to the dancers for conveying the emotions.

I wished I could see the dance again.

Earlier this week, I was kidding with a friend that if one writes, “Words cannot express how I feel”, it might be that one feels nothing, and has no words. I suppose I have to take that back, because honestly, words seem a bit inadequate. You have to see it. It just defies…It’s not that I felt an emotion…the dance just flowed ever on and on and I watched on and on without stopping. Maybe the word is ‘mesmerised’?

Please see 2nd and 9th picture above.

06. Shan’s Group

It was 8:15 and I had resigned myself to writing We had heard that Shan Del Vecchio had a special piece that was only shown at some performances. Unfortunately, it was not shown at the performance we saw, but we are very sure that it would have been wildly inventive and exciting [then insert link to something on his instagram, to give some fair example, if any, on the assumption that there would be something to illustrate – hey yeah, look here]. Yes, I had prepared the “could not be reached for comment at press time” statement.

So when the Artistic Director Mr Janek Schergen entered and began talking about how each group of dancers (with their respective choreographers) had been assigned a leader and gone off to do the choreography workshop (props, entrances, exits, etc), I didn’t expect him to then segue into, “Shan came up with something so amazing that you just have to see it.”

Lights out, and a mystical synthesized hypnotic music, then a man entering, holding a bright light at waist level; he’s wearing sunglasses and he stops in the middle of the room and announces in a booming voice: “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Shan Pop Theatre!” He walks to the back of the room and places the light on the ground and it transforms into a hyper disco ball, shooting colourful rays through the room,.. then “domo arigatou mr roboto” plays – you might know it from Glee, as I do – and lights up, revealing Shan as the chap wearing sunglasses; and enter the dancers, in candy colours and polka dots, and a tall man wearing a large sparkly disco ball on his head.

Cast list at present count: Yamauchi Sayaka, Tanaka Nanase, Chua Bi Ru, Henriette Garcia, Yatsushiro Marina, Kwok Min Yi, Jeremie Gan, Huo Liang.

It’s a right blast. It’s hilarious perfect bubblegum fun — can-canning and hands fanning out, doll-arms and legs, 60s disco loud and proud and crazy and fun. Shan and Silver-Man stand in a corner, arms around each other – and at some point in time, Shan removes Silver-Man’s headdress to reveal Timothy Ng, who stumbles out into the crowd in surprise and then immediately joins in the fun.

There’s even a wink at the audience at the moment when everyone does great waving hands and cheers to say Look at him go! as Huo Liang, in the background, does a series of seemingly-neverending spins. I don’t recall if there was dabbing, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if there had been. In Shan’s solo, he leans right back and then demonstrates, unforgettably, the skill of moving one’s head independently of one’s torso and one’s torso independently of one’s head, robotically. It’s a moment that fits in perfectly with this craziness.

I think there was a 2nd song – but it’s the third that has my heart, of course – one of my all-time favourite songs, Classical Gas by Mason Williams, a superb classic work of genius, accompanied by madcap hilarity of the most inventive sort – go listen to it and the triumphant trumpets and glorious guitar. This performance is out-of-the-box, it’s cheerful, and it’s exactly what you want to have end off the night of performances. It’s something kids would love (Peter and Blue go time-travelling – or have a birthday party in contemporary music/ disco fashion) – kind of like how Zin! is. It’s for that lollipop kid in you who knows how to have a fun time bopping to music.

If you have a little time – do check out the photos below. And the 1st of the set above.

Mr Janek Schergen came in after to thank us – and he mentioned that the silver disco ball that Timothy had been wearing was actually a prop that SDT had lying about somewhere.

Which brings us to the end of this. I felt that the experiences and experience of the dancers really showed in their choreography. It didn’t look like a first work or student stuff – it’s like they had absorbed so much over the years and cogitated and chewed through it, and it had flowed and bled through their lines and then they fed it out into their works.

Now we go for a walk.

2021

We are in 2021 … a bit of a precipice-and-see-how-we-go time.

Singapore Dance Theatre’s first show, Coppelia, has had to be cancelled – guidelines from the National Arts Council must be followed, and the one guideline that might be an issue (amongst a fair number of others including number of masked versus unmasked performers) is “Performers should maintain at least 1m safe distance from others, although transient contact between performers during a performance is acceptable”.

In the meantime, One@The Ballet goes on, with care. Quiet snippets, like these, we share; because perhaps not everyone can be there (did I purposely rhyme? would I dare?).

And also! They seem to have gone on to put the next show on video – Peter and Blue’s School Holiday, a new Peter and Blue for the kids – Peter being the boy and Blue being the dog, despite Peter’s costume being Blue. This also conclusively answers the question of whether it should be Peter’s and Blue’s, or Peter and Blue’s (the latter unless we are talking about two different things, like Peter’s and Blue’s examination marks, I suppose – but then again..who knows; but wait, we were talking not about grammar, but about shows).

….and that is it! for where we are now.

Here is the latest collab of one’s dreams — Claudia Dean and Maria Khoreva. I’ve stopped at the point I can’t continue with at night, the part where Maria Khoreva mentions some very old studio where the door bangs suddenly..yep.

Singapore Dance Theatre – Season 2021: Dance From Within

We didn’t do any predictions this round since the world is exceptionally unpredictable right now.

Let’s go! There’s a minor chance we’ll get the names of the dancers for the posters wrong, but we are thrilled by a modicum of risk.

Coppelia opens the year – Minegishi Kana against a backdrop of Chua Bi Ru. I think having a dance performance would be superb – we don’t even know if we can hope for an orchestra even, but just imagining it..! Somehow, live music brings in this crazy new dimension to the music that a recording cannot. There are depths to the sound that stir the soul like a spoon in your teh. Coppelia is a cute light frothy happy favourite and it would be lovely if it did get staged. Previous models for the Coppelia doll (those I can recall) were Uchida Chihiro and Nakahama Akira.

Peter & Blue – School Holiday

This would be an all-new Peter & Blue, a fourth one. That is Jeremie Gan as the new Peter. I’ve always been mildly confused because Peter wears blue. I did think the boy was called Blue, for a while. Blue and the Peter.

Ballet Under the Stars

Classical weekend consists of Balanchine’s Serenade plus Theme and Variations, and Paquita by Marius Petipa. Contemporary weekend has Edmund Stripe’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (aka Shostakovich), Nils Christe’s Symphony in Three Movements (the piece about war), and Edwaard Liang’s Opus 25. This is a nice poster – Kwok Min Yi in a Serenade costume, with Elaine Heng as the backdrop. It is in July. The 7th lunar month is in August, coinciding with National Day, which allows us to sing that old parody of the national day song – “There’s a spirit in the air; it’s a feeling , that seventh month feeling we all share”.

Masterpiece in Motion

Timothy Rushton’s Quiver (a world premiere from he who choreographed Evening Voices), the company premiere of Ibsen’s House by Val Caniparoli, and then Nils Christe’s Organ Concerto, which is a solid piece of work. Chihiro and Kenya (I can’t confidently say the costume is from Organ Concerto instead of Symphony in Three Movements, but I can say it hesitantly), with May Yen Cheah in the background.

Passages

New works by Timothy Harbour (Linea Adora, etc), Natalie Weir (Jabula, etc), and NZ Royal Ballet’s Choreographer-in-Residence Loughlan Prior, and Ezikiel Oliveri whom I am asking my friend Google about. The poster shows (I think) Huo Liang – that is Etienne Ferrère in the background. I feel my powers of identification being tested; are those the trousers from Lambarena?

Nutcracker!! Akira and Etienne, with (I believe) Jason Carter as a soldier toy in the background. And such a pretty Xmas tree.

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While we’re at it, Akira’s in a Singapore Tourism Board video encouraging Japanese tourists to visit SG (when things are better) 🙂 She mentions how, other than the Merlion or MBS, there are nice places like the Botanic Gardens, East Coast Park, and Dempsey Hill. I do miss going out to places. Haha.

From time to time, I also watch videos by Ghib Ojisan, a Japanese chap living in Singapore (he married a Singaporean) who has definitely been to more parts of SG than I have.

Closing off with the song that I’m looping quite a bit right now. It is a truly incredible buzzy song that makes you feel like doing a thousand creative things. It can also power household chores like washing dishes and chopping vegetables.

The other song I’m quite fond of is from Tokyo Jihen – the ending theme for the drama “Watashitachi wa Douka Shiteiru”, which may have been a kinda sleeper hit, I don’t know – a thrilling plotline involving wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery), an old murder, and romance. This one sounds lovely and mysterious and dark, like a dagger in a sleeve.

World Ballet Day, articles, videos

Here’s SDT’s video for World Ballet Day 2020 Live! Video commentary (not easy at all!) by Elaine Heng starts at 55:40 – it’s a bit soft but gets clearer soon after. Being part of World Ballet Day 2020 is cool (here’s the full list for World Ballet Day 2020 – 40 companies). A few years ago, SDT started with a guest spot on The Australian Ballet’s video, so it’s great they had a full class up for World Ballet Day 2020. I’m a layhuman, I like watching the grand allegro (1:04:26 – Elaine mentions it) part best – all the huge jumps.

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There are some lovely articles in Japanese and English by Ms Yasuko Yeung on the Japanese Association of Singapore website, here. They really make us feel like we’re back at the theatre again, and bring back the joy of watching Singapore Dance Theatre perform live 🙂 Lots of gorgeous pictures in the articles, too. At this time we can’t watch or review anything, so it’s always great to see new articles.

There are also lots of little snippets about ballet on her instagram – from what we can tell, her husband, Marcus Yeung, was the Lord Montague of Romeo and Juliet earlier this year! (We listen quite a bit to the R&J music right now, so we know exactly when he appears, dragging his giant broadsword, to face off against Lord Capulet (Mohamed Noor Sarman, the SDT ballet master.)

There are also interviews up on the Singapore Dance Theatre instagram page.

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A cheerful little piece by May Yen Cheah – to music by Nakamura Kiyora (Kenya and Chihiro’s little girl, who turns 1 today, hurray! happy birthday).

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and i was looking forward to the halloween videos from SDT, and here we are! this has great merit in costumes and in the dancing. you can’t help smiling when you watch it.

Reviews, or lack thereof (but otherwise humming along gently)

Eh..we must say that in these Covid times, and since I’m not made of steel (see the last part of the Swan Lake 2019 review) and I live with elderly people, even if there are performances (which I hope there are!) I don’t know when I’ll be seeing them. We must test the waters and see how things work out. I should like to make my own arrangements for this. We will see how this works out.

Right now where we are, I did miss From Here On, not just because of Covid, but because the day before, I went for an operation. That’s what this list of shows/books was for. None of which I have actually finished. That’s okay. I have a short attention span, anyway.

Yes, so what was I saying again…

Let’s see how the new year goes. We can quietly follow the instagram of Singapore Dance Theatre – they have nice videos like Meet Me on Monday (latest video being with Satoru) and various ballet / stretching/ etc videos (which I can’t do for now).

Since we cannot watch shows, here are 2 videos. The first is a piece choreographed and danced by Chihiro to music composed and performed by the Lorong Boys. It was released a while back, really. We just.. are slow…

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❤︎ Very memorable experience creating this piece along with the beautiful music composed by Lorong Boys. I know one day when everything goes back to normal I’ll look back on this moment in life and remind myself that I should never take things for granted. @singaporedancetheatre @lorongboys ・ この自粛生活中に、シンガポールのミュージシャンの方々との、コラボ企画のお話をいただきました。素敵なメロディにインスパイアされて、自分で考えた振り付けで踊らせていただきました。これから先、普段の生活に戻った時、この動画を見直したら、きっと色んなことを思い出すのだと思います。大切にしたいです。良かったらご覧ください。 𖤐 監督は、憲哉くん 𖤐 潔良は、お昼寝中でした ・ #ballerinalife #singaporelife #momlife #balletmom #バレリーナ #おうちバレエ #ママライフ #シンガポール生活

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The second is a rehearsal of Sync from 2018 (I think the first girl disappearing off front is May Yen Cheah and then Chihiro follows her, but honestly…it’s so fast I can’t say for sure; and the couple dancing in front are Shan Del Vecchio and Li Jie).

Things I’ve learnt – green papaya and fish soup (which I had at the hospital) is truly amazing and settles the tummy; not to watch very intense shows at all, because the effect of GA plus intense shows results in a sleepless hour before bed – that said, I did enjoy the Thai drama “The Gifted”, which I had managed to skim through previously, and ended up rewatching the last episodes of. It’s a show about equality and the education system, and the sequel is showing now. But Gordon Ramsay cooking fast food is probably better for the system. Oh! and TwoSetViolin, last night; I watch them in spurts and they are dreadfully addictive. This morning, I’m also watching Love on the Spectrum – when I’m better, maybe I’ll do some crafts (poorly, but it’s calming) and bake. No Chinese herbs until everything is put together again; only goji berries, red dates, and yummy dried longans. Had my first caffeine today, and I am pleased.