Bored in the house and I’m in the house bored! , according to Tyga and Curtis Roach. But that’s something that doesn’t quite apply to Maya Dance Theatre (MDT), who have been spending their circuit breaker working on a brand new project exploring the concept of time.
Premiering on 10th August 2020, Stop & Smell the Roses will be available on MDT’s website for free. Conceived by MDT artistic director Kavitha Krishnan and assistant choreographer Shahrin Johry, this ‘screendance’ was inspired by Shahrin’s personal experiences during this pandemic. Shahrin recently returned to Singapore from his overseas studies, only to be greeted by a world plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic. With Singapore placed on DORSCON Orange and employment opportunities placed on hold, anxiety started to grow. But instead of succumbing to them, instead decided to change his perspective and see the circuit breaker as a positive predicament, and hence, stop and smell the roses.
As Shahrin presented his experience to Kavitha, the revelation grew into a concept that they were eager to explore in a performance, using dance as a medium to capture the human experiences of time during this period. Both Kavitha and Shahrin rallied together dancers, musicians and a filmmaker to bring their ideas to life. “Moving and negotiating time in our urban space has always been a question in my mind, but I had never really got a chance to engage with it–– until the circuit breaker allowed us to experience a time of discovery, reflection and occasionally, healing.” states Kavitha.
Due to the circuit breaker restrictions, the team was unable to hold physical meetings and rehearsals, instead resorting to Zoom calls and the digital space and digitally medium. For the majority of the dancers, this was their first time being part of a dance performance mediated almost entirely via digital means online. “Although we are working in different spaces, I felt that we are still connected because of all the effort that we put in together for this project,” says dancer Eva Tey.
Stop & Smell the Roses features music composition by Kailin Yong and the vocals of Peni Candrarini (Indonesia) and Ajith Bhaskaran Das (Malaysia), and videography by Mohd. Yahssir. Embodying Maya Dance Theatre’s signature artistic expression of hybridised contemporary and Bharatanatyam, are dancers Kavitha Krishnan, Shahrin Johry, Subastian Tan, Eva Tey, Sufri Juwahir, Sheriden Newman, Bernice Lee, Lavanya Dave, Gino Babagay, Li Ruimin, Sharul Mohd, Shruti Nair, Iswarya Jay, Charmain Ho, and ScRach MarcS.
Reflecting on this new project being first ever online dance performance from MDT, Kavitha says: “The only constant is change; the project in midst the isolation offered a refreshing change to yet continue with reflections and gratitude.”
Stop & Smell the Roses debuts on 10th August 2020 on Maya Dance Theatre’s website.
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