SINGAPORE DANCE THEATRE:BALLET UNDER THE STARS 30TH JULY'06
An evening of mixed bill of classical work and new works but company members. This outdoor event began with a bring your-own-picnic-basket, followed by a hip hop act performed by a school of teenagers. Their number looked unrehearsed as lines were not properly placed, and unison were not taken seriously.
The main event, Singapore Dance Theatre's Ballet Under the Stars kicked off later than the published time. It was delayed for 20 minutes. It began with Petipa's Raymonda Act III. As stated in the given programme that the original choreographer was Marius Petipa, however, the choreography performed by the dancers were changed, and adapted. Of such, the Tarantella solo, performed by Chihiro Uchida, was changed, losing the demi character essence and quality in the use of epaulment. The stage seemed too small for the staging of this act. Dancers in the corp seemed to be struggling to avoid kicking their legs into each other's body.
Zhou Lin and Fu Liang took center stage as the main principal couple. Zhou Lin demonstrated assured technique, however, she was behind the music in most instances, and her interpretation as the leading Raymonda was a disappointment. Fu Liang demonstrated strong and assured technique, showing off virtuosity and style. However, in general, the entire cast did not provide enough entertainment for this number. As an audience, it looked like the dancers were doing steps instead of dancing. Expressionless throughout a wedding number, one may assumed that Petipa will not be pleased with that.
Thierry Malandain's Dying Swan did it for me. The concept behind the piece was done beautifully. He approached Fokine's solo with a twist and modernism. He adapted 3 women, with 3 solos using the same music, but 3 different movement motifs, but still sharing the same theme and style. Natalie Clarke, Zhou Lin, and Sakura Shimizu, each dancer with different physicality, and style of moving looked splendid and priceless in their individual solos. This piece is quirky, soulful and yet meaningful.
Tan Yaling's Mozart was up next. In marking the 250th anniversary of the birth of the classical composer, Yaling created a piece where one dancer, Mohd Noor danced the title role, and 2 other couples. Mohd Noor performed his solo with confidence and ease. His movements were carefully crafted and he made the solo succelent and captivating.
Sakura Shimizu's Reflections of Dusk was a short piece performed by 5 males and 1 female dancer. It was lyrical but the movement vocabulary was closely mirrored to the previous number, and the following piece, Robert Mills' Paradise Falling.
Singapore Dance Theatre is flooded with Chinese export dancers, with 1 female dancer who is native, and a couple of Australians and Japanese. It seemed apparent that the company's strength still lies in contemporary ballet works.