Thursday, September 21, 2006


I decided to try my luck at getting a standby ticket to this 'soldout' production. I was counting my lucky stars when I managed to get a ticket at the eleventh minute. Within seconds of settling into my seat, the house lights were switched off, and the journey begins.
The production was a 'rojak' (an Indian/Malaysian salad dish commonly found in Asia) of talents and creativity. Akram Khan brought together the French, Taiwanese, Solvakian, British, Belgian, German, Australian, Pakistani, Japanese and Indian, onto the stage demonstrating their individual expertise. He brought fusion of music, dance and theatre and introduced culture and tradition. There was interaction between the dancers and the audience, the music and the dancers, the dancers themselves and the musicians themselves. Philip Sheppard, cellist and composer, was excellently moving, Coordt Linke, percussionist, put up an intensified performance. Both vocalists, Faheem Mazhar and Juliette Van Peteghem and violist, Alies Sluiter, were also creditable. The sets and costumes by Japanese designers, Shizuka Hariu and Kei Ito, were raw and zen-like, intimidating yet carries an aura of calmness.
The performance showed reminiscence of other choreographers' style, movement and motifs, which did not impress me much. I was prepared sparks and fireworks, something extraordinary, from this new collaboration of two outstanding performers. However, I did not think it was exciting enough to move me. Sacred Monster, comprises of solos and duets, in which individually demonstrate a new movement style and vocabulary (The solos were choreographed by different choreographers).
Sylvie's solo was choreographed by Lin Hwai Min (Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan). I thought some of the first few movements looked like an acoustic version of Maliphant's Two. For the first couple of minutes into the solo, the movement bears identical flow and motifs, but in a slower pace, to a live vocalist. The solo began to pick up its own form when Sylvie started moving around the vast space, and adding details of hyper-flexed feet (probably inspired by Chinese dance, or Indian dance) whilst merging into much more contemporary movement.
Akram's Kathak solo brought out his best. His lightning-paced footwork with armwork varied from water-rippling to razor-sharp quality. He demonstrated dynamism with clever use of space.
Their first duet commenced with the interlacing of each other's hands, whilst facing each other. While holding on to each other, there seemed to be an invisible force of energy circling around and within them as they moved. Once detached, their Matrix-like movements tried to contain this energy, yet it seemed like it is this energy, that are repelling their bodies like magnet. As they are self-indulged between themselves and the movement, the music seemed to be in a different world, it was like watching 2 different shows on the same stage.
The following duet was in complete contrast to the previous. Movements were staccato, and puppetry. It bears the style of an Indian dance form, basically from the simple transference of weight footwork and its bouncy nature. The gestures from the upper body was animated, fun, and dialogue-ish, almost like a stop-motion film.
The last duet, Sylvie hugs herself around Akram, and unfold her body onto him. That instant, it was an almost similar position from the first duet from Wheeldon's Polyphonia. The only difference was, Sylvie was facing Akram (instead of facing the audience), when she was supported on his hips. Facing each other, encompass a spiritual energy within them. Their movments synchronised and harmonious. Personally, I thought that this part of the duet was organic. Coming to the end of this duet and the performance, both dancers were springing off the floor. I thought it was interesting to see that in their attempt to jump in unison, their feet were doing what they were used to do, she had hers pointed (extended), and he had his relaxed. Was it intentional? Or was it something that both dancers could not escape, tradition?


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