T.H.E Dance Company was founded in 2008 and has since earned a reputation as one of the most seminal Singaporean and South East Asian dance companies. “T.H.E has performed at most major local arts and dance festivals including the Singapore Arts Festival and Esplanade da:ns Festival. In addition, our highly successful world tours have brought us to neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as international destinations – France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Korea, China and the UAE.” They will be organizing an incredible triple bill featuring Sun Shang-Chi (Germany/Taiwan), Xing Liang (Hong Kong/China), and T.H.E associate artist Jeffrey Tan (Singapore)! We were lucky enough to have a little chat with Xing Liang, who has earned a reputation as one of the most creative and successful modern dance choreographer in Hong Kong and China.
As someone who doesn’t really fully understand dance, especially modern dance, I was incredibly curious on what dance means to dancers. They spend hours honing their craft everyday without fail with each practice serious and meaningful, what is it exactly that drives them? For Xing Liang, “Dance to me is path of self-discovery, a process that has allowed me to discover that life has endless possibilities and variables… If it’s suitable for the choreography, I’ll incorporate some of these emotions and profundities – essentially a perspective on my current state of living.” I suppose that’s really the beauty of dance, a form of expression that does not limit itself to words or even pictures but rather is free to do what it can with the fluid limbs of a human body. While there are rules or even norms in dance, these rules are seemingly meant to be broken in the name of creative expression, the audience is really there to see and experience the vision of the choreographer.
Like many modern dancers who have a history in traditional or classical dance, most often ballet, Xing Liang can trace his dance roots to traditional Chinese dance. I have heard that classical dance often provides the foundation and fundamentals that modern dance exploits and manipulates. It is much of the same for traditional Chinese dance, “The most lasting affect of my traditional Chinese training has been in the vital use of the breath technique in my performance and choreographic career. Specifically, it has to do with an awareness of the internal flow of breath as an organic, driving force of movement… its movement philosophy“身韵训练, forms the basis for all traditional Chinese dance, where through rigorous and continual practice the dancer comes to master hand-eye coordination, physical movement and steps, in alignment with the flow of breath and rhythmic quality. Furthermore he must link each movement effortlessly, in a way that expresses emotion most eloquently.” The way he describes dance is really quite beautiful and the flow of the words akin to the flow of movement in dance, incredibly fluid and bizarrely natural.
Dance in every form has amassed a huge following especially in recent years and at every single level, from amateurs doing dance as a CCA in schools to the recent explosion of dance festivals found in every month of the year. Thus, it is not surprising that when asked to comment on the dance scene in Singapore, he had this to say, “I’m pleasantly surprised by the dancers I’ve met in Singapore, and I’m truly glad to be working with this group of young, passionate dancers from T.H.E. It’s particularly in more recent year that I see a high level of passion, effort and commitment from dance artists in the local scene, and I feel that this complete immersion in the craft is sometimes lacking in the Hong Kong and Chinese dance scene.” It would be great if Singaporean dancers and choreographers would soon become the innovators and pioneers of dance, cementing our reputation as a haven for creative expression.
Xing Liang’s choreographed performance, As Is, is a part of the Triple Bill and “the entire concept of As Is centres on the unpredictability of life – we can never presume to know what exactly will happen in the next hour(s), where in unknowing lies the beauty of the process, as opposed to the result.” I am already sold on the premise of As Is as I have always believed that the unpredictability of life is one of the most beautiful part of life, should life simply go according to plan, it would only mean confining life to your imagination. When life twists and turns, its frustrating but in the end you are somewhere you never imagined you would ever be and perhaps it’s more beautiful than you could have imagined. As to how it all fits into the Triple Bill, “I’ll leave it to the audience to discover As Is, and the meaning of the Triple Bill for themselves.” There just has to be a little mystery so that there can be a little takeaway at the end of it all.
His hopes and aspirations for 2015 is what we hope for our readers as well, “It would simply be to live everyday to the fullest, with sincerity and joy.”
Photo Credits: T.H.E DANCE COMPANY Facebook
2 – 4 APRIL 2015, 8PM
SOTA DRAMA THEATRE
POST-SHOW ARTIST DIALOGUE: 2 APR (THUR)
Tickets can be bought here! and cost either $28 or $38!