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Lisabel Ting
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

Showbiz

Socially awkward dancing

The Straits Times | Lisabel Ting | Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

Frontier Danceland's performers (from left) Joy Wang, Adrian Skjoldborg, Adele Goh, Hwa Wei-An and Christina Chan show off their dance moves.

Differentiation. Playing the piano. Cycling. All of us have different skills, most of which we rarely get the chance to use.

Dancer-choreographer Hwa Wei-An calls these underutilised skills "extra baggage", which is also the name and theme of his piece that will be part of contemporary dance company Frontier Danceland's Dancers' Locker 2014.

Now in its sixth year, the platform is meant for emerging choreographers within the company and the company's associate artists to experiment and develop short works. It is opening at a studio in the Goodman Arts Centre later this month.

Frontier's artistic director Low Mei Yoke says: "It won't be on a stage, but in a studio. So it's very open, it's a very different sort of thing to play with. There's more freedom."

This year's programme will feature five new works: three from choreographers within the company, one by Wu Yixin, an associate artist, and one created by dancers from Pulse, Frontier's year-long scholarship programme.

Wu's Direction is about pursuing what is ahead; and hai, which is choreographed and danced by Pulse dancers Ellen Zeng, Chermaine Wong, Cheryl Ong, Joanne Ng and Rachel Gan, is about social awkwardness.

Hwa, one of Frontier's three choreographers, says of his piece, Extra Baggage: "The genesis of the piece, the key idea, is that there are all these things which we've learnt through our lives, but that we've never gotten to use, so why not use them?"

The 24-year-old himself began his journey in dance as a hip-hop and breakdancer, but now performs mostly contemporary dance. He says: "There are a lot of things that I've never gotten to use in a serious performance on stage."

Hwa, who will be dancing his own creation, will be bringing elements of hip-hop on stage, while other dancers will be reaching into the dusty corners of their own skillsets to dance ballet or to move with a chair.

Another Frontier dancer, Adele Goh, has created Take Me To Your Leader, which she says is thus named because "it's the idea of something alien, foreign, because in my piece, I create a new world".

Goh, 23, began crafting her piece with the help of a large bouncy gym ball. As she explored movement with the ball and her two dancers, "it started to evolve into the idea of dependency between them. Then it started being more about the ball and its personality, and how it mimics some part of human nature... sometimes, it listens and moulds to your body, and the next minute, it throws you to a completely different place".

Rounding up the trio of works from Frontier's own dancers is A Coup's Sticks - a play on the word acoustics - by Wayne Ong.

Ong, 28, says the performers will be playing instruments such as hand drum, guitar and flute during his piece. He says: "We want to see how we can put in this without trying to be musicians, but rather dancers being in charge of their own acoustics, which is not often the case. Often, we press 'play' and dance to something else, but here there is no backing track."

Book it

DANCERS' LOCKER 2014 - CLOSE ENCOUNTERS

Where: Frontier Danceland Studio, Goodman Arts Centre, Block M, 02-52

When: July 25, 8pm; July 26 and 27, 3 and 8pm

Admission: $12 (matinee) and $15 (evening). To book tickets, e-mail admin@frontierdanceland.com or call 6336-1526


This article was first published on July 08, 2014.
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