Preview: Indices of Vanishment by RAW Moves

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Theatre practitioner Edith Podesta takes on the role of choreographer at dance company RAW Moves’ 2017 edition of its annual Repertory Platform. Performed by the RAW Moves Company Dancers, Indices of Vanishment aims to examine the connections we have with personal artifacts and explores the psychological space clutter occupies in our daily lives.

Podesta was first approached by RAW Moves with the theme of clutter and initially stumped as to how to relay the theme in the form of dance. Eventually, she drew inspiration from her own family experiences, specifically her grandfather, and crafted the piece that follows the story of three characters attempting to move out and move on, but hindered by the reluctance to relinquish their physical and emotional baggage.

indices-of-vanishment-photo-credit-lee-xinzhi
Photo by Lee Xinzhi

At the preview of the show, we were presented with two excerpts from the performance, relaying to us the sheer sweat-inducing intensity of the technically complicated but brilliant choreography. Speaking to the three dancers after, they revealed that Podesta’s choreography and direction was different from what they were used to. Coming from a theatre background, Podesta’s choreography dictates that every move must have its meaning, and a stray movement could come with additional, unnecessary symbolism detracting from the piece, similar to the way physical theatre pieces operate. For the dancers, the rehearsal process left them more exhausted than a typical dance rehearsal with the amount of precision and thought that had to go into their every movement, synced to sound designer Teo Wee Boon’s music. Artistic director Ricky Sim helped guide them through the process and push their physical boundaries to break new ground. Armed with the knowledge that they put so much work into it, we definitely appreciated the preview even more.

Indices of Vanishment will be held at the Aliwal Arts Centre Multipurpose Hall, a considerably smaller space than RAW Moves’ studio at Goodman Arts Centre. It’s set to be a real challenge for the dancers to perform in such a space, coupled with the beautiful but complicated choreography. Audience members will be up close and personal with all the action, able to see every muscle twitch, every drop of sweat and the wealth of meaning drawn from their facial expressions, a definite highlight of the performance.

As with all dance pieces, Indices of Vanishment recommends you come with an open mind and then form your own interpretation of the piece after. Promising a thorough exploration of the allure and danger of the material things in life, Indices of Vanishment will be a true visual treat that will have you questioning your emotional attachment to earthly possessions. 

Indices of Vanishment plays at Aliwal Arts Centre from 23-25 February. Tickets available from Peatix

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