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Dance review: To Beat The Butterfly's Wings by Arts Fission

Published on Apr 18, 2014 11:31 AM

The diminutive, venerable presence of Angela Liong is unmistakable. The artistic director of Arts Fission introduces her latest project - a result of her long-time research on climate change - by inviting the audience into the performance installation.

The unconventional setting of an art gallery, Artspace@222 in Queen Street, means the audience-artist relationship is altered. Gone are seats and the need to stay in them, gone is the fourth wall. Yet, there remains no overt engagement with the performers. This deconstruction of a regular theatrical experience means the audience may miss more than they see, as the action takes place in four separate rooms. But it produces unexpected moments of intimacy for the unhurried, and begs a second viewing.

To Beat the Butterfly's Wings is admirable in its collaborative nature, with Liong assembling a formidable team which includes composer Joyce Beetuan Koh, sound designer Yong Rong Zhao, visual artists Sai Hua Kuan and Wang Ruobing, and lighting designer Genevieve Peck. The work evinces rigorous dialogue and rumination on the central theme of the Butterfly Effect, which states that a small change can have drastic effects in a later state.

Sai and Wang create two seemingly holographic panels on either side of a room, depicting dancers in various stances. These shape-shift mesmerisingly, as the audience moves around the space, giving the performance an added dimension.

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