Dancers become works of art

Dancers become works of art

The living, breathing works of art are dancers from contemporary dance company Raw Moves, as their Run Another Way performance steps off the traditional proscenium stage to occupy four rooms of an art gallery.

Artistic director Ricky Sim says that with the unusual location, he threw down the gauntlet to both the dancers and choreographers. He says: "It's a challenge. It's new for the company to do something like that."

The piece, to be performed from Thursday to Saturday, is an 80-minute long trio of works created by dance artists from the company, each running concurrently. The audience will have the freedom to wander between rooms, choosing which work they want to watch. Sim says that having to make this choice will also affect the audience's experience of the show.

He adds: "Part of the experience is knowing that you will be missing something and sometimes in life that is even more exciting. It evokes certain responses in you because you want to be kiasu, you want to see as many things as possible, but you can never finish it."

In one of the rooms will be The Turn, created by dancer-choreographer Matthew Goh, 21.

Four television sets on stands will play scenes from daily life, as a dancer wanders between the screens and talks to them.

Goh says: "I aim to explore different levels of loss, whether it's personal, environmental or something that happens in daily life.

"When you see him communicate with the TV sets, it's like him communicating with his friends, but through the cellphone or through a media device. To me, that represents the loss of human face-to-face interaction."

In the next two rooms is Melyn Chow's Re: Time x Space, which was inspired by a sculpture created by her sister, Sheila. The sculpture, Time x Space, is an angular, white module with a single cubbyhole large enough to accommodate a person.

The 25-year-old sculptor says that her work was inspired by a question: Is there more to life than this?

"So with my work, I'm inviting them to go into a provided space, a very controlled space, to think about this question that I've posed," she adds.

Melyn, 20, responds to the sculpture with movement, beginning with four dancers, all dressed in white, lying on the gallery floor.

She says that the unique location of the work affected her choreography. "The dancers lie down, and use very small, little gestures. If this were on a proscenium stage or black box, I wouldn't have done the same at all. "It's less intimate and you cannot see all the details that I am trying to portray."

In the last room will be Perspective by Heather Ou, 27, which investigates the relationship among different media. With a pair of headphones clapped over her head, she takes charcoal to paper and allows the music to influence her drawing.

Another dancer translates those shapes to movement and yet another translates the movement to speech.

At any point, the audience is free to intercept the process, for example by drawing on the paper. She says: "To me, it's interesting to see the relationship between stillness and movement."

She also wanted to explore different ways of looking at the same piece of art. "When we look at paintings and movements, what we see is different. What she sees is probably different from what you see."

Artistic director Sim hopes that Run Another Way will create new perspectives for the audience and his company's dancers.

"I told the choreographers to keep the work open so that the audience can experience it at different points in time. They can go forwards, backwards or stay. They may not see the whole complete thing, but the important thing is to experience the transformation of the work itself."

Book it
Where: Artspace222, 222 Queen Street
When: Thursday to Saturday, Thurs and Fri, 8pm; Sat, 3 and 8pm
Admission: $18. Tickets sold out, but extras may be available at the door 15 minutes before each show.
E-mail to ask about attending rehearsals

This article was first published on Oct 28, 2014.
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