SOLO

SOLO

Date: May 1998

Venue: Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel

Choreographer: Lim Chin Huat

 

Synopsis:

DDP celebrated its second anniversary with¬†SOLO. Portraits of different individuals were gathered into a kaleidoscope offering glimpses of intricate emotional-scapes. Quite literally,SOLO¬†refers to the act of watching drums or “awaiting the gong” in Chinese. Bridging the gap between tradition and modernity, this avant-garde performance jolted the audience into an unadulterated celebration of life.

 

In the News (1)

Solo Or Shou Luo, It’s A Great Team Effort

By: Li Xueying
Source: Life!, 13 May 1998

SOLO -a one-man show. Shou Luo -awaiting the gong. So what have these two in common, besides sounding somewhat similar?

Both are two sides of the same coin, the respective English and Chinese names of a contemporary dance performance by Dance Dimension Project (DDP). And both, according to artistic director and choreographer Lim Chin Huat, have their significance.

The performance, part of the celebrations for the ensemble’s second anniversary this year, features 14 dances. But contrary to the conventional implication of being solo, most of them involve more than one dancer.

Lim explains: “The name Solo came about because when I I did so one by one for each dancer. Initially, everyone is solo, before I put them together.”

Shou Luo has a more romantic background. As a child, Lim was very much intrigued by the traditional Chinese gong, whose sound fellow villagers in his hometown in rural Johor would expect as heralding the start of cultural processions.

Thus, he sees “awaiting the gong” as representing the spirit of enjoyment and appreciation. Indeed, Solo is a simpler performance than previous DDP works in that the high visual impact that characterised the others has been cut. Colourful props and costumes are omitted and there is more emphasis on subtle body movements.

Lim says: “We are concentrating more on the intricate emotions and the mood of the dances. They are more personal and sensuous.”

Adds Tan How Choon, producer and dancer: “We are also zooming in on little stories close to the daily lives of individuals.”

With titles such as Dreaming, My Elbowroom and Crossing Spaces, the dances run the gamut from being avant-garde to having distinct classical-ballet influences. Interesting concepts, such as the use of conical-shaped cardboard as a symbol of beauty, and imagery are a mainstay in the abstract dances, while at other times raw energy is what sustains the dances.

Despite the youth of DDP and its seven members -all in their 20s -it has garnered recognition in the performing arts scene here. Goh Lay Kuan, dancer-choreographer and Cultural Medallion-winner, says of the dancers: “They are very serious and committed in what they do, and to know so clearly what they want, and to sacrifice so much for it -that’s very rare. They give a lot for their love of dance.”

Their dedication can be seen from the numerous projects the group has embarked on in two years for little material pay-off.

For example, it started Dance Intonet recently to assist fledging choreographers by showcasing their talents and offering feedback. It is also in the midst of a planned four-year series of free outdoor performances and has held regular workshops by foreign professionals. The group also found time to stage seven productions each year, such as Schizone, Plastic and B-Cycle.

This is no mean feat, considering that the DDP did not even have a studio for rehearsals until it moved to Telok Ayer Performing Arts Centre recently.

Tan admits: “It was tedious renting places for rehearsals but we did it anyhow.”

Well, Solo or Shou Luo, avant-garde or classical ballet, there is definitely more to come from them.

 

 

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