Date & Time: 21 & 22 Dec 2001, 8pm
Venue: Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel
A mermaid, beauty and her beast, and a giant skirt invite you to share their secrets. LASALLE Head of Dance Caren Carino creates a fantasy world in three short pieces for the child within you. Music by Earl Norman.
Balanchine-trained veteran Ballet Master Tony Llacer explores the birth of mankind as inspired by the Book of Genesis.
In another piece, a variety of dance forms are set to conventional and unconventional percussion music by Philip Tan.
Featuring guest choreographers Caren Carino and Tony Llacer and original music by Earl Norman and Phillip Tan.
Ecnad commissions choreography and music for year-end show
8 October 2001
Veteran choreographers and professional musicians come together to create works for Ecnad Project Limited (the former Dance Dimension Project). This is in line with Ecnad Project’s vision to create wholly original work, that is, as far as possible, ensuring that every aspect of the production is original.
Titled Fantasy Creatures and Other Things, the December showcase will feature choreography by Caren Carino, Head of the School of Dance at LASALLE-SIA, and Tony Llacer, Ecnad Project’s Ballet Master.
Apart from guest choreographers, Ecnad Project has also invited musicians Earl Norman and Philip Tan to compose music especially for the choreography.
Artistic Co-Director Lim Chin Huat will rest from his choreography duties and put on his designer hat to produce an array of colourful costumes and provocative sets to complement the guest artists’ work.
To Jack, Love, Laugh and Dream. Mom.
Choreographed by Caren Carino
Music composed by Earl Norman
These vignettes of a children’s storybook (of no particular title or story) feature the Mermaid, The Fairy Queen in her big skirt, and the love story of a Beauty and her Beast. The choreographer dedicates these 3 works to her son, Jack.
In The Beginning ….
Choreographed by Tony Llacer
Inspired by the story of creation in the Book of Genesis, the dance revolves around the wonders of nature. Experience the sounds and movements of the world when it first began unraveled to the music of Villa-Lobos’s well-loved Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 for soprano voice.
Choreographed by Tony Llacer
Music composed and performed by Philip Tan
Guest performance by Lim Tiong Kiang
In a lively display of dance styles and techniques, innovative pianist, percussionist and composer Philip Tan leads this musical experiment in exploiting the individual characteristics of the human voice with lyrical piano texture, electronic sound manipulation and live percussion instruments. An engaging relationship between dance and music where both visual and aural senses are challenged.
21 & 22 December 2001, 8 pm
Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel
National Arts Council Annual Grant
By: Ma Shaoling
Date: 22 Dec 2011
Original source: theflyinginkpottheatrereviews
Ecnad Project Ltd, the former Dance Dimensions Project (DDP) is known for being a “multidisciplinary movement based company”, due to its track record of unique multimedia dance productions. FANTASY CREATURES AND OTHER THINGS once again proved the company’s originality and ability to collaborate with local musicians, although this is somewhat a high price to pay for compromising technique and artistic maturity.
The first two ballets choreographed by guest choreographer Tony Llacer, who is Ecnad’s ballet master, are commendable attempts for a company more familiar with contemporary dance. The effort however, was overshadowed by its less than convincing effect.
‘In the Beginning’ was inspired by the story of creation in the Book of Genesis, and was performed to Villa Lobo’s ‘Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 for voice and cello’. The first pas de deux began with the male dancer centered in omnipotent presence, a scene that obviously reminded one of Balachine’s famous ‘Apollo’. However, the similarity ended just there as far as choreography and technique were concerned. For example, it was disappointing to see a usually strong modern dancer like Choo Leh Leh attempting weak pointe work, accompanied by jerky lifts during the pas de deux. The second couple showed equally unpolished techniques, making ‘In the Beginning’ a less than convincing interpretation of Mother Nature, except perhaps for the ethereal Soprano voice echoing in the background.
‘Percussion One Variations for 8′ revolved around the dancers’ interpretations of love, exploring their relations with one another, and with their art. It began with a dance of courtship accompanied by a poem first read aloud, and then it slowly picked up into a song.
The pas de deux, albeit interestingly choreographed, seemed lacking in emotion, as the dancers were too engrossed in executing their individual steps to coordinate in unison. Six other dancers joined the stage, pirouetting from one corner to the other, resembling a corner-to-corner exercise that is often seen in a dance class. Musician Philip Tan at this point increased the previously lethargic tempo of the piece by his experimental percussion accompaniments. However, one cannot help but feel that the dancers could hardly keep up with the thumping beats, maybe because such fast rhythms require equally neat footwork that the corps de ballet lacked. Their port de bras arms were hardly held in place, not to mention the weak turnout and feet that were not even fully pointed. Such slip-shod work could have been made less apparent if the company had not attempted technically challenging steps such as jetes and arabesques. Interestingly, Philip Tan’s invigorating taps and little jumps while he performed with his instruments came across less self-indulgent and more appealing.
The last piece ‘To Jack, Love, Laugh and Dream. Mom’ choreographed by Caren Carino consisted of vignettes from a child’s storybook, featuring “the mermaid, the fairy queen in her big skirt, and the love story of a Beauty and her Beast.” As the title suggested, this piece was indeed a favourite among the youngsters in the audience. Ecnad Project Limited’s Artistic Director, Lim Chin Huat put aside his dancing shoes for this performance to concentrate on costume designing. His hard work was evident in the elaborate costumes worn by the dancers for this piece, and this visual stimulation made up for the otherwise lacklustre choreography. Random kicks and uncoordinated lifts were executed throughout the dance, bringing the last segment to a disappointing end.
All in all, one misses the comparatively more earnest experiences that marked Ecnad’s previous works. Sadly for FANTASY CREATURES AND OTHER THINGS, it was the percussionist’s amateur but simple dancing that saved the day.
By: Malcom Tay
Date: 21 Dec 2011
Original source: criticaldance.com selected reviews
Formerly known as Dance Dimension Project or DDP for short, Ecnad Project Limited was founded in 1996 as Singapore’s first full-time contemporary dance group. Today, it is more accurately described as a multidisciplinary movement-based company, aimed at challenging the definition of dance and performance space. Led by artistic co-directors and founding members Lim Chin Huat and Tan How Choon, Ecnad is no stranger to performing overseas, as well as collaborative projects with various foreign artists like Indonesian dance artist Bimo Wiwohatmo, Maxine Heppner from Canada and San Francisco-based Michelle Stortz.
Since the days of DDP, the company has shaped its own brand of dance theatre – mostly full-length productions that combine nuanced movement with innovative costume and set designs by Lim [Chin Huat], specially commissioned music, and other elements like spoken text, animation and video processing. The beautifully depressing a-the-bird, which was last seen by sell-out audiences at the Belgrade International Theatre Festival in September this year, is one such work that best exemplifies its efforts. Ecnad’s latest season, Fantasy Creatures and Other Things – its year-end presentation (December 21-22) of three short pieces by Tony Llacer and Caren Carino – was then an uncommon digression from traditional preferences.
A native of the Philippines, Llacer trained at the School of American Ballet on a scholarship, studying with the likes of Eugene Loring, Vladimir Dokoudovsky, and George Balanchine himself. With Llacer’s In The Beginning… and Percussion One – Variations for Eight, audiences saw Ecnad dancers engaging in a more technical, academic mode of movement. Set to Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 for voice and cellos, Beginning invokes the story of creation from the Book of Genesis. Curtains open to the crack of thunder, revealing a clump of cloaked bodies that fall away and roll offstage until only two remain. The man, played by Kon Su Sam, is unveiled, his arms unfolded and caressing the air in long strokes, as if using his limbs for the first time. His female counterpart, performed by founding member Choo Leh Leh, appears from behind him, her feet encased in point shoes. Together, in their misty blue unitards, the Adam and Eve figures dance a duet of mutual discovery, carefully walking her in a promenade while she balances in attitude. Another similarly clothed couple (Tan and the experienced Lim Peck Lee) takes the stage with their own barefoot pas de deux, later to be joined by Kon and Choo for the finishing tableau of outstretched arms and arabesque penchés.
Percussion One is a longer, more difficult dance that has the dancers clad in a distorted version of the customary black-and-white practice costume; one half of the leotard is cut off at the thigh, the other half is left long and loose, with an additional skirt for the women. Pianist-percussionist-composer Philip Tan (who also composed the music for this piece), along with vocalist Lim Tiong Kiang, accompanied the cast of eight, located on the left with a microphone, a piano and a pair of drums. It begins, oddly enough, with one man’s pursuit of a woman. Lim [Peck Lee], who is at first seated coyly on a rock wearing her black point shoes, receives a flower and a card from an ardent Tan [How Choon]. Pleased, they dance to a reading of Helen Steiner Rice’s poem, The Gift of Lasting Love. He then removes her point shoes, as if symbolic of his successful conquest; their bodies move in symmetrical patterns and shapes to confirm their relationship, against a sung improvisation of the same poem. This gives way to a section of allégro combinations, driven by the infectious rhythm of [Philip] Tan’s wild, frantic drumming. Turning leaps, piqué turns travelling across the stage, the lower extremities beating briskly in ballonné steps.
Ecnad dancers are expressive, sensitive – anything but virtuosic technicians. Which is perhaps why Llacer’s balletic creations suffered from a lack of refinement and confidence in execution, bereft of a schooled, disciplined elegance and smoothness that ballet dancers tend to have. This was more apparent with Percussion One: given the music’s improvised nature, the rhythms are quicker and not as predictable; the floor patterns are larger; the footwork is more complex. More room for mistakes. In one brief segment, four dancers wielded slim white ribbons with an awkward, ungainly demeanour. Ecnad, it seems, is not ready for Swan Lake or rhythmic gymnastics just yet.
In contrast, Carino’s To Jack, Love, Laugh and Dream. Mom. was better performed, but represents an altogether different style. Currently heading the dance department of the LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, Carino studied with Betty Jones at the University of Hawaii when she was sixteen, and has since worked with artists ranging from Anna Sokolow to Kei Takei. Her choreography for this dance is more leisurely-paced, even pedestrian at times, and uses the torso more actively. Dedicated to her son, To Jack comprises of several vignettes depicting scenes from an unknown children’s storybook. There is the sultry Mermaid, laying claim to her watery domain (in the form of three sea creatures’ undulating bodies) with her slinky hips and wavy arms. There is the pair of impish, jester-like fairies, scooting in and out of the Fairy Queen’s enormous red skirt, held up by wires to resemble a giant web. And there is Beauty and the Beast, danced by Choo and Kon respectively. What is interesting about this Beauty is that she is no weak wallflower. She is, in fact, strong enough to bear the Beast steadily on her shoulders, just as the Beast carried her onstage on his. To music by Earl Norman, To Jack may be child-like in approach, but certainly not childish.
With Fantasy Creatures, the five-year-old company has shown no fear in embracing a movement aesthetic that it is not quite so comfortable with, even if the attempt falters somewhat. Rather than being complacent with the usual suspects, there is nothing better than a group of artists with the courage to push their limits.