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Preview: Night Walker by RuanAtWorkz Musical Arts

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This April, RuanAtWorkz Musical Arts presents Night Walkers, a newly commissioned work combining Indian classical dance set to a mix of traditional instrumental Chinese and electronic music. Playing at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, expect a musical and visual feast as we follow this journey of a troubled composer, a curious night elf, and a tireless sound designer on their journey into the night.

“To know a person, you have to first know their culture because culture is not just an identity but also a sense of belonging. Only through culture can we ensure our values and beliefs are passed from generation to generation. This is why we have been advocating the importance of multiculturalism through our presentations. Audiences at Night Walker will have a chance to experience a seamless integration of different cultures and different artforms on the same stage, which is rarely seen.  Furthermore, we hope that through our collaborative music and dance, we can evoke your emotions and stir your imagination” said Neil Chua, Artistic Director and Founder of RuanAtWorkz Musical Arts.

Night Walker blends three unlikely art forms – Bharatanatyam, one of eight major Indian classical dance forms with its origins in Tamil Nadu; Ruan (阮), a traditional Chinese string instrument with its roots dating to over 2000 years ago; and contemporary movements accompanied by electronic music – all packed within a 60-minute spectacleAudiences can immerse themselves in the lilting tunes strummed by Neil Chua, a professionally trained Ruan musician; revel in the intricate choreography of Bharatanatyam dancer, Bala Saravanan Loganathan, all strung together by the beats of emerging sound designer Aw Wei Zheng.

Taking inspiration from the traditional Chinese method of timekeeping, Night Walker is performed over five acts that correspond to the five watches over a day. Over the five watches, it follows the Night Elf into the night as he explores the emotions of a troubled composer. Each stage is also a creative depiction of the history of Ruan, from its discovery, fall from grace, and rebirth.

Says Night Walker mentor and Creative Staging Director Lim Chin Huat: “It is important for us, as veterans, to pass down our knowledge to ensure the continuity of our heritage; and for young practitioners to innovate from our experiences to keep abreast of the times. Night Walker is a culmination of an 18-month long creative process which started off as an experimental work, and has grown to become a collaborative effort where two generations come together to sow the seeds of our shared ideas.”

Night Walker promises a refreshing departure from the conventional viewing experience. Bringing visitors into the thick of the action, Night Walker will lead the audience  into ‘a space within a space’ where they are invited to take their place on stage, amongst the actors. To ensure that no single performance is the same, there will also be spontaneous interpretative choreography between Neil and Bala, as dance movements and Ruan music interact and respond to each other.

Says Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre Low Sze Wee: “The Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre is always interested to collaborate with local arts groups to produce innovative  programmes. We are excited by the possibilities of fusing  Indian classical dance with Chinese traditional music, and hope that our audiences will be surprised and delighted by what they experience.”

Night Walker plays from 2nd to 5th April 2020 at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre Auditorium. Tickets available from SISTIC

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