Enjoy arts performances in new NAC series From The Living Room, which starts today

Dancer Li Ruimin is among 30 artists and arts groups in From The Living Room.
Dancer Li Ruimin is among 30 artists and arts groups in From The Living Room.PHOTO: COURTESY OF NATIONAL ARTS COUNCIL

SINGAPORE - Choreographing and staging a dance performance at home is no mean feat, as dancer Li Ruimin has learnt in recent weeks.

Li has to work within space constraints, avoid disturbing the neighbours and also take care of her body as the floor is too hard for dancing.

Li, 28, says: "When I know I am trying more repetitive jumps, I may sometimes put a yoga mat underneath to cushion the jumps before taking it away when I have more or less decided on the choreography."

On Wednesday (May 13), she will be putting on a dance which uses Chinese dance and aesthetic principles, and examines what it means to be Chinese today.

Li is among 30 local artists and arts groups which will be holding virtual performances in their homes in From The Living Room, a new online series commissioned by the National Arts Council (NAC) which starts on Monday and runs until June 20.

The series is part of the NAC's #SGCultureAnywhere campaign, which brings together an array of Singapore arts offerings on one digital platform. The campaign is hosted on the A-List.Sg website, which serves as a one-stop platform for online plays, concerts, virtual art exhibition tours and other resources related to arts and culture.

In From The Living Room, local dancers and musicians will stage performances at home, which are streamed every weeknight at 8pm on the NAC's Facebook page.

A total of 30 performances, each about half-an-hour long, will be streamed in the series. Theatre practitioners such as Janice Koh, Jo Tan, Pamela Oei play host by introducing the programme and interviewing performers.

The series this week will feature contemporary dancer Sufri Juwahir; dancer Li; classical music group The Lorong Boys; Carnatic music trio Sai Vigneshwar, Sai Akilesh and Sughosh Pavan; and clarinet ensemble CLARQuinet.


CLARQuinet is among 30 artists and arts groups in From The Living Room. PHOTO: COURTESY OF NATIONAL ARTS COUNCIL

The series is produced by Andy Chia, founder and artistic director of cross-cultural music company SAtheCollective; music director, conductor and producer Adrian Chiang; and Zhuo Zihao, associate artist of T.H.E Dance Company. 

Zhuo, 39, says the series reveals the human aspects behind performances, which people usually miss out on.

 
 

"Instead of learning about the artists through stage performances, the dialogue between the hosts and artists, their accents and the way they speak or express themselves presents a whole new way to understand and appreciate the content."

He adds that virtual performances also invite artists to engage more deeply with their work due to the constraints of the performance.

"Artists have to learn how to present and make sense of their work within the boundaries of the medium. Otherwise, it will just look like a recording of movements with accompanied audio."

For musician Akilesh, 34, the series will be his first time collaborating with other performers virtually.

His group will on Thursday be playing Carnatic music, the classical form of South Indian music, which has an improvisatory nature, he says. They will be presenting three songs in Sanskrit and Tamil.

 
 

The mridangam (drum) player says: "We kept the improvisatory aspects to the minimum as the goal was to present the compositions in a succinct fashion. Most Carnatic compositions are highly religious in nature and each composition often extols a specific deity, varying with each composer."

Akilesh adds: "I hope that audiences gain insight into forms that they aren't used to and through that, certain forms can get demystified."