Following their series PANCHA last year about domestic violence and abuse, Maya Dance Theatre returns this December with a brand new collaboration with German company Iptanz. Centering around the idea of body shaming, Puffing Bodies is a dance-theatre production conceptualised by Ilona Pászthy (Artistic Director of Iptanz) and Kavitha Krishnan (Artistic Director of Maya Dance Theatre). When the two met at Tanzmesse, an international network for contemporary artists in Dusseldorf, Germany last year, they engaged in discussion on society’s fascination with the body and how negative comments about the body impacts people, from which Puffing Bodies was born.
Puffing Bodies highlights society’s fascination with the “Perfect Body”, an obsession that has led countless individuals to strive to achieve physical perfection, from chiseled bodies to impeccable skin as they , in order to conform to the ideal physical form. From this ideal stems self-doubt and insecurities within us that encourage imperfections, constantly keeping us yearning for perfection that only leads to dissatisfaction if unmaintained and unachieved, with no end in sight. Puffing Bodies then reflects on this path, addressing the psyche of individuals who embark on the journey to discover themselves beyond beauty that is just skin deep.
As part of their research process, the creative team spent months on research and engaged in discussions with psychologists, victims of body shaming and cosmetic/aesthetic surgeons to better understand the issue of body image, body shaming and its impact. Collaborating with photographer Zhenghui Lim, the team has also prepared a photographic installation, which will be part of the production, along with a mini visual installation created with youths at risk from residential care.
Produced by Imran Manaff, the production is helmed by both artistic directors Kavitha and Ilona, with dramaturgy by Jeremiah Choy. The work features dancers Subastian Tan, Eva Tey and Vetrivelan Gunasekaren from Singapore, and Diana Treder and Stefanie Anna Christina Schwimmbeck from Germany, with music composition by Andy Yang (Singapore) and Zsolt Varga (Hungary). The work will first be featured in Germany in September, before opening in Singapore in December.
Puffing Bodies plays from 4th to 7th December 2019 at Centre 42. Tickets available from Peatix