Haze in the heart

Haze, Danang Pamungkas’ emotionally charged work.
Haze, Danang Pamungkas’ emotionally charged work. PHOTO: JOSEPH NAIR



Maya Dance Theatre

Goodman Arts Centre Black Box


For Creations 2015, Maya Dance Theatre presented five diverse, engaging works themed around hypocrisy - continuing the company's open programming and artistic direction.

Indonesian choreographer Danang Pamungkas' site-specific opening work, along the corridor outside the theatre, was an emotionally charged work. Titled, Haze, it was less about local weather issues and more about unresolved matters of the heart. Three dancers swirled, ran and rubbed palms against skin against a dramatic row of haphazardly placed fluorescent light tubes against the wall.

Inside the theatre, home-grown choreographer Peter Gn's Amorph(us) We Are Not Who We Are was a perfect counterpoint to Danang's work, with fluid fragments of movement coalescing into phrases as the dancers formed hypnotic patterns that amalga- mated and dissolved.

Known for her sweeping movements and pure studies of the kinetics of the physical body, Singapore's Foo Yun Ying surprised with a work that touched on the ills of the media's portrayal of the ideal body. With slapstick humour and showmanship, the dancers poked, prodded and jiggled through a very refreshing display.

Noted Tokyo-based Indonesian dancer Rianto presented a work steeped in his traditional Javanese dance vocabulary, while tremendously relevant to contemporary times.

The highlight of the evening's programme had to be the collaboration between Singapore's Jereh Leong and Thailand's Phitthaya Phaefuang (better known as Sun). Appearing almost nude, the two male bodies interacted with a sensuality rarely seen in local dance. Through their intimate physical negotiation, ideas of power play, taboo, desire and eroticism played out, in a work that elegantly straddled the thin line between the acceptable and the forbidden.

Leong never faced the audience, while Sun was constantly tossed around, sometimes violently - apparently relishing the manipulation - reinforcing the dark desires seething beneath this dangerous duet.

Some movements could have transitioned smoother into others, but that is just nit-picking.

By acknowledging varied indivi- dual identities and showcasing variety, Maya opens its doors to as many artists as possible.

It is this sort of generosity that the Singapore dance scene needs more of.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2015, with the headline 'Haze in the heart'. Print Edition | Subscribe