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Dance With Me: Dancers’ Locker 2020 by Frontier Danceland (Preview)

Frontier Danceland annual Dancers’ Locker programme returns this year with a digital twist. Featuring 6 unique short films by company artists Ma Yue Ru (Singapore), Tan Xin Yen (Malaysia), Sammantha Yue (Singapore), Konrad Plak (Poland), Mark Robles (Philippines), and Keigo Nozaki (Japan) developed with artistic collaborator and film producer Jeremy Chua (Singapore), this year’s Dancers’ Locker is the culmination of a three-month long audio-visual exploration into alternate forms of presenting performance, and will be streamed online this Saturday.

The Frontier Danceland company artists who will be presenting new works (Left-Right, Top-Bottom: Keigo Nozaki, Ma Yue Ru, Mark Robles, Konrad Plak, Sammantha Yue, Tan Xin Yen)

Since late May, the 6 company artists have been experimenting with various audio-visual forms as an extension of their choreographic practices, and examining ways of expanding the notion of performance making through cinema, in collaboration with local independent filmmakers. With themes and topics ranging from domestic anxieties and the recently concluded Circuit Breaker measures, to explorations of alter egos epitomized by the emergence of drag subculture in popular culture, they will present new and exciting works-in-progress for the screening, followed by a live Q&A session. An accompanying process journal will be launched alongside the works, which include additional materials on the working process and creative journey of the artists and their works.

Behind the scenes of ‘You are 56, still counting and keep counting; I am 25.’ by company artist Tan Xin Yen

An example of the diverse interests held by the company artists could be seen in Tan Xin Yen’s work ‘You are 56, still counting and keep counting; I am 25.’, a deeply intimate examination of mortality, familial attachments, and displacement. Torn between her desire to pursue her dreams in a foreign country and her intense longing to return to Penang where she was born and raise, Tan’s work utilizes a traumatic event as a departure point for the phantasmic journey of a wandering spirit’s home-coming as it retraces the important spaces of its youth. Ms. Low Mei Yoke, Artistic Director, shares: “In the wake of COVID-19, the format and content of Dancers’ Locker 2020 has evolved in an unusual direction. Beyond the soul-searching needed to ascertain and reclaim the fundamental nature of contemporary dance, the company also had to explore alternate ways of presentations that can best illustrate and maintain the integrity of this art form, hence the transition of the programme from a live performance showcase to a screening of filmic works. We aim to use Dancers’ Locker as a starting point to explore the potentials of digital media in performance-making, and we hope to expand our horizon, and charter a new path for the company.”

Behind the scenes of ‘Here today, gone tomorrow’ by company artist Sammantha Yue with artistic collaborator and film producer Jeremy Chua.

“Our working process has been very spontaneous and free-forming,” says Mr. Jeremy Chua, a film producer and the artistic collaborator of Dancers’ Locker 2020. “Since the dancers are not bounded by formal approaches of filmmaking, we have been employing a lot of improvisation to develop and create their works. Art forms often inspire one another to re-examine and innovate, and as civic life slowly begin to occupy digital spaces, the artists are also finding a new way to communicate and intervene. I am excited to see what their final creations will be.” “I am profoundly grateful for this platform,” says company artist Sammantha Yue. “To have gone through this journey of conceptualizing a work that means so much to me, and getting to watch it actualized with the generous support of a team fills me with a great sense of fulfillment and relief.

Behind the scenes of ‘Pause’ by company artist Ma Yue Ru, with independent filmmakers, Nelson Yeo and Linh Duong

“It’s been a wild ride diving into this new form and re-looking what it means to choreograph and be a dance artist,” says company artist Ma Yue Ru. “It was definitely a learning curve working with Jeremy, who really pushed us to re-think the process of creation, our role as an artist, and to really think about how to make our works resonant. He was constantly questioning our intent and concepts in effort to really ground us in what we want to say, and I’m definitely very thankful to have worked with him. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to create this short film with the help of an incredible team, and am excited to see not just the work that comes out of it, but also the future possibilities for our art form propelled by this global disruption.”

Photo Credit: Alfonse Chiu

Dancers’ Locker 2020 streams on 12th September 2020 at 8pm. Admission is free with booking via Peatix

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