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Dance review: As It Fades conveys the power of splintered memories

Published on May 9, 2014 11:01 AM

With his seminal production of As It Fades, choreographer Kuik Swee Boon seeks to take his audience through the looking glass. In an ever-changing world marked by jagged mountains of glass shards, he sends his cast of 15 racing, rippling and roiling with thrilling exactitude.

Originally choreographed in 2011 for the Singapore Arts Festival, As It Fades stems from the festival's theme, I Want to Remember. Revived in a new production which opened on Thursday at the School of the Arts Drama Theatre, the work expounds the inexorable erosion of tradition and heritage in our fast-paced cosmopolitan society, and draws upon the fragments of memory that still remain.

Zhuo Zihao sets a vinyl record in motion on its player, and a scratchy Hainanese folk song rings out. The dancers' spectacular physicality is not only seen but heard - a foot brushing against the floor, a measured intake of breath - and consequently highlighted. The comforting lilt of the song is juxtaposed with forceful dancing, in sharp contrast to its pastoral lyrics.

Kuik's signature movement vocabulary is writ large in As It Fades. The choreography is minute yet expansive, pointed yet luscious and undeniably demanding. Jessica Christina, Kuik's clear muse for this work and his subsequent creative output, puts in a stunning performance, displaying complete command of her instrument. Whether vaulting over Zhuo's shoulder or crouched, muttering by a chair, she evinces a fragility-laced delirium that beckons the eye.

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