3. Unfound – Christina Chan
Or, “A good time was had”. With emphasis on the past tense.
From the 2 pieces I’ve seen of Christina Chan’s (this, and Traces We Left Behind), it seems that she takes a very personal, individual approach with the dancers. Each dancer is a human who leaves a trace on another, so there’s a shared intimacy, a bond between dancers. They interact with each other as people. The moves are always deliberate, planned, careful brushstrokes, like interlocking cogs: this marks that, which rotates the other, and we all fall apart. But for all its cautiousness on the technical side of movement, there’s also always some sort of underlying reflection on the humans.
The last major solo performance Reece Hudson had with SDT was at the SDT Choreographic Workshop 2016 in September, in a piece by Wing Liu, which ended with Ines Furuhashi-Huber and Nazer Salgado in a beautiful, touching movie-esque romance of a pas de deux together (French colonel in the rain with his mandolin). The centre portion of Wing Liu’s piece was Reece, as the last cyborg man, put together and abandoned by other man-machines. Spasming, twitching, staring out into the lonely emptiness, all accomplished without being overly-hammy.
That’s the sort of physical expressiveness and humour required for Unfound, a piece that allows dancers to ham it up even as it looks straight at you knowingly.
Lookit this couple, they’re so in love. They start the dance with their backs to us, wriggling and rocking to some inaudible beat. They quickly find another, collapse together in a heap, and every turn of her foot brushing his calf makes him roll over; every touch of his arm turns her. Bi Ru leans forward as far as she can go, like a human version of a cartoon parody of a setter dog, until Reece catches her hand and restrains her.
There’s a stunning control in their connection: clutching fists and squatting slowly together, and before their butts can touch the ground, rising up again slowly and then squatting again, and then rising back up again, all the while staring at each other through their mirrored sunglasses, in which they can really only probably see their own visage.
Can’t do without you, can’t live without you. My favourite of these interlocking moves is Bi Ru upside down, a long plank with her foot resting against Reece’s shoulder, when all that holds them together is the same clutched hand. Physics!
There are moments you wonder at their strength: Reece suspended horizontal to the ground, clinging to her right ankle, while she holds his leg so that he can remain in mid-air; Bi Ru clambering and squatting aboard his back to see the world together while he remains turtle-like, and slowly sinks to the ground.
So much fun, so much fun. Instagram-worthy moments of perfection: Bi Ru, seated in an invisible float (those famous unicorn or etc floats), raised high above his head as he trots around briefly while she jogs her legs in an invisible infinity pool; Reece on his back, legs-up as he watches TV or games or just stares out and away, while she rests on the stool created by his upturned feet. We love our time together.
We’re on holiday, I’m hailing a cab, hold me fast.
What a marvellous Saturday it was; three shows down, one last show to go! Thank you to everyone for your enthusiastic support tonight. 👏🏼 🖼: Chua Bi Ru and Reece Hudson in Unfound by Christina Chan 📷: Bernie Ng (@msbern) #singaporedancetheatre #supportSDT #passagesSDT #contemporarydance #christinachan
This is not the hardworking, long-suffering couple of Age of Innocence. Rave and roll with it, we’re so in love; embracing the other and jumping, knees up — a child-like, childish love.
Unexpectedly, the music switches to I started a joke, which started the whole world…. And now they are apart. Aren’t they at the same party still? They do move in synchrony, wriggling and bopping at the same time, and even scratching an itch with wriggling fingers at the same spot on their backs, but perhaps they no longer see each other. There are very faint echoes of old moves from before as they drift apart, Bi Ru seeing the world, or squatting slowly with an extended hand and no partner across from her to haul her back up.
There’s some rolling on the ground, but no longer together, and by the time they wake up, they’re on opposite ends of the stage, and we’re back to absolute quiet: and they push up their sunglasses: and Bi Ru, slowly turning, sees Reece, but he’s too busy looking out at us.
We’ve seen Bi Ru from early, energetic days in Blue Snow and in more recent days, with mobile expressive features in Gigi Gianti’s Bliss, so casting her in this was a fitting choice.
I bashed out the previous review just to get here before it was too late. Just felt it would be good to get as far as this pas de deux, because not many would have seen Reece Hudson at the Choreographic Workshop, as it was quite small, and I wanted to talk about how the way he dances translated successfully into a work like this.
The lovely part about contemporary works, as mentioned previously, is that in full-length classical works, we don’t always get to see everyone for a prolonged period of time, because those are usually about the principals. So I think it’s worth taking time to talk about various dancers.