T.H.E Dance Company
Esplanade Theatre Studio/Last Saturday
T.H.E Dance Company has struck gold with South Korean choreographer Kim Jae Duk, and they know it.
Appointed resident choreographer this year, Kim is a precociously talented maverick who composes his own music for his high-octane dance pieces.
Mr. Sign is Kim's first full-length creation for the company and displays his signature movement vocabulary of stylised lopes, bobs and quivers spliced with detailed gestures. While certain sections feel overlong, the work is hard-hitting with a tinge of humour.
A single fluorescent tube flickers on as Lee Mun Wai combines the discreet and the expansive to begin the work. The stage seems to be enveloped in a consuming force field, sending the dancers into whirling spins and sudden drops. Their gentle power gains momentum, escalating to an apocalyptic climax of impactful hits and thrusts to Kim's driving music. Anna Rouhu lights the stage sensitively and very suitably.
The work's stunning sections of danced unison are a sign of solidarity, as well as a commentary on social conformity. When one dancer deviates, he or she does so out of agitation, questioning the norm and exerting the self.