Visceral Vim

Date: April/May 2000

Venues: Far East Square, Lot 1 shopping Mall, Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, NUS, Temesak Polytechnic

Director: Tan How Choon, with contributions from dancers

 

Synopsis

Visceral Vim was an outreach project staged in various public venues. It was also performed in schools as a special Arts Education Programme. This explosive dance performance was a combustible concoction of pulsating drum rhythms, primal human sounds at once noisy and soulful, dancers moving to an irresistible beat projecting energy through a kaleidoscope of cascading manes strange beyond imagination.

 

In the News

 

Funky Spunk

By: Malcolm Tay
Source: The Flying Inkpot, 16 Febuary 2000While some may beg to differ, the NUS forum can be a stuffy place to be in. So stuffy that even the presence of boisterous bazaars has been reduced to mundane affairs by its state of stuffiness. In such a situation an outreach project like “Visceral Vim”, with its gaudy props and costumes, may come across as a much-welcomed splash of colour and commotion to the commonplace bazaar that was going on simultaneously.

To describe it as “strange beyond imagination” just about summed up the feel of this presentation, which was staged at what looked like one-half of an amphitheatre – a circular space that was surrounded by a few rows of thick steps on one side. Positioned at the side of the performance area were three volcanoes that came in bright shades of yellow, green and purple. Performed by four dancers and one percussionist, it began on a suspiciously brooding note, to the sound of gongs and tolling bells. Starting from the middle row the four dancers, who were tightly wrapped in white cloth, gradually made their way to the bottom of the stairs. To the bewilderment of some people, three of them drifted into the nearby bazaar while one dancer lingered on the steps by herself. After drawing a few amused looks, the dancers eventually gathered together in the circular space, only to separate and cluster intermittently into pairs and trios. This calming, yet evocative segment of movement seemed to suggest that something was being suppressed, and that thing was eager to release itself as they moved frantically in circles.

With energy as its theme, the latter half of this performance illustrated the liberation of this pent-up power in the form of wacky and uninhibited drama. Bereft of their original get-ups the entire cast, three of whom were at the top of each volcano, looked like living Troll dolls with their garish wigs and costumes in the latter half of this performance. On top of hysterical cackling, shrieking, bestial noises and loud declarations of Œuh¹, they appeared to be engaged in some kind of verbal exchange, which made little sense to onlookers. The display of madcap movement that followed combined nicely with the riveting beats of the drum, contrasting sharply with the pensive choreography of the earlier section. The most entertaining bits, however, involved a few hapless spectators who were dragged into the performance by several dancers. Some were lead into repetitive movements around a volcano while others walked around in single file, but most looked like they wanted the ground to open up and swallow them.

Lasting for approximately half an hour, “Visceral Vim” was a spectacle that was nonsensical at times, but enjoyable nonetheless. In a nation that has recently been assaulted by the commercialised varieties of Irish dance, Dance Dimension Project seems ready to prove that dance is not only for the tight upper-lipped, but can be crazy, fun and for everyone to enjoy.

 

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