Arts Dance with Me Esplanade Theatre Studio Preview Singapore

Preview: Dancers’ Locker 2021 – Elemental Beings by Frontier Danceland

Dancers’ Locker, the flagship annual programme by Frontier Danceland showcasing works by company artists, returns this year with an intimate live performance that will take place from 3rd to 5th June 2021, at Aliwal Arts Centre, Multi-Purpose Hall.

Rehearsal of a section of Elemental Beings, choreographed by Ma YueRu.
Photo Credit: Frontier Danceland

Co-choreographed by company artists Sammantha Yue, Mark Robles, Ma YueRu and Tan Xin Yen, Elemental Beings distils basal elements of human existence to find an embodiment of a more primal state. The work is set to an evocative original score by Ecuadorean music composer, Omar Khalife and immersive atmosphere crafted by local lighting designer, Liu Yong Huay Faith. Creating an intimate sensorial experience for the audience, it seeks to invite introspective connections to each of one’s own body.

The four company artists attempt to find strength in numbers through their first collaborative creation of a physical performance as they navigate familiar yet seemingly shifted grounds of live theatre amidst the current evolving pandemic environment.

Rehearsal of a section of Elemental Beings, choreographed by Sammantha Yue.
Photo Credit: Frontier Danceland.

It has been a journey of constant negotiation between the different minds. “Originally, I started off with the simple and open question of whether cavemen were more content than us. I wondered how we have evolved from modern life and if we could find a paring down of the elements that we prioritize in our lives to find a sense of rawness and simplicity in them. I also wondered how modern life has affected our personal embodiments,” says Ma, while Yue’s source inspiration came from Japanese photographer, Rinko Kawauchi’s Ametsuchi.

“Her work prompted me to consider ideas of community and livelihood – what it means to me and its embodiment. This further led me to Plato’s The Symposium and Sigmund Freudian’s theories as research references that influenced the work.” With positivity, Yue says that with “three minds working together, there’s so many ideas we can bounce around and the possibilities are endless.”

The spirit of inquiry perpetuates through the different editions of Dancers’ Locker. The upcoming edition of Dancers’ Locker – Elemental Beings features Frontier Danceland’s continued foray of interdisciplinary explorations between dance and different mediums of visual art, following the 2020 edition that saw the experimentation of performance and choreography through the audiovisual medium of film as mediated through the screen. Both Robles and Tan challenged themselves to integrate multi-media projection and sculptural elements respectively alongside the live engagement of the bodies through movement. Robles says, “The most challenging part for me is visualizing if the various elements of our entire creation will come together as a cohesive whole.”

Rehearsal of a section of Elemental Beings, choreographed by Mark Robles
Photo Credit: Frontier Danceland

Artistic director and mentor, Ms. Low Mei Yoke shares that the choice of the intimate venue of Elemental Beings was not due to “safety management measures brought about by the pandemic, but to support the company artists’ experimentation and unleashing of their creativity. There seems to exist an indescribable vitality in small spaces that not only nourishes artists, but also attracts audiences.”

With only ten audience members for each performance, “the close-proximity (while observing safe distancing) performance and viewing experience offers a liveness and freshness that entails both vulnerability and adventure for the performers and audience alike. The dynamic interplay of happenings within the space, including the performers’ state of being, atmosphere, small mishaps and chance surprises, forms a unique experience.”

Dancers’ Locker 2021 runs from 3rd to 5th June 2021 at Aliwal Arts Centre. Tickets and more information available here

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