Dance review: Surprises abound in broad strokes in T.H.E Dance Company's Triple Bill

The components of a mixed bill are often brought together both for their diversity and similarity, making for a programme of surprises and clever connections. T.H.E Dance Company opens its 2015 season at the School of the Arts Drama Theatre with what it knows best - the thrill of exacting physicality - but the programme leaves its dancers with little room to distinguish themselves from one work to the next. Amidst the darting and sliding, reaching and folding, there are hints of character which emerge but are never fully fleshed out.

The anguish-laden trio in Jeffrey Tan's Remains Remain course through some poetic passages, but do not quite submerge the audience in the deep waters of their sorrow. Tan creates some beautifully seamless partnering in which Evelyn Toh is held aloft and ably supported by Wu Mi, but the additional role of Kei Ushiroda's protagonist and onlooker since the piece's 2012 premiere seems incomplete and therefore, superfluous.

The flurry of activity that is Xing Liang's As Is is anchored by the virtuosic performance of T.H.E veteran dancer Lee Mun Wai. He performs with an understated command, uniting the piece's fragments with his monologue about giving and a stunning solo of combining the honesty of gesture and the liberating expanse of movement.

The rest of the dancers rush and roil around Lee, but their sense of urgency is driven by a quest for precision rather than revelation. Chairs collapse and feet shuffle, but they echo an empty silence. Shrouded in a grey fog, Lee reprises his monologue as a duet is drawn out in silhouette, learning about "all that give and take stuff" as darkness covers them in a blanket of dependency.

Closing the evening is the world premiere of Sun Shang-Chi's Nexus. A German-based Taiwanese artist, Sun offers up a hybrid of kinetics and theatricality which is incredible in places and peculiar in others. While the cast performs with the trademark attack of T.H.E, the slinky and explosive Chung Nguyen is the standout in this work, finding organic release between movements. As he holds his leg up like a gun to the audience, he emanates a quiet intensity.

Nexus has character, but it is mostly memorable in broad strokes. Meandering between drunken off-kilter moves, a seductive number in a bikini and an wild ride of emotions, the work's vignettes are random and undecidedly so. The lighting rig descends to ominous symphonic chords, compressing the madhouse of Shang's stage. This is perhaps the most indelible move of all.

book it

Triple Bill by T.H.E Dance Company

Where: School of the Arts Drama Theatre

When: Friday and Saturday, 8pm

Admission: $28 and $38 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to


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