I took a break from the usual coding sessions and went to watch a dance performance put up by Indancity, one of the leading dance groups from SMU, my first experience in watching a full length dance performance by fellow students. Contemporary and though provoking was how I felt when I sat through the entire 2 hours of what seemingly randomly choreographed movements. But it was not that case.
The entire piece revolved around the theme of life. It is after all, in celebration of the 5th anniversary of Indancity. Together, the five items revolves around the five elements: Spectra, A Toast to Life, Ring – Time – Dusty 《年轮－光阴－尘封》, Fragile Metal, Trapped Freedom.
Out of the five, two caught my interest and attention, A Toast to Life 《敬》, and Trapped Freedom 《困》.
A Toast to Life 《敬》 used water as a tool to bring out the experiences of life, the life of the dancers in the item. It started off with the girls gurgling to the Sound of Life. Screaming into the air before falling into the support of the fellow dancers seems to express the pressures we face in life, and how others would readily assist us in cushioning the fall. Human staircase formed, with a crawling dancer walking up, seemingly referring to the passage of time in life, while the rolling girls on the floor with another lying on the top expresses the pleasures of life and frolicking in water.
It was indeed a toast to an ordinary and magnificent life, and a toast it was ended with.
Trapped Freedom 《困》 was the last item in the programme. It started off with a group a girls entering a rectangular white box. One has to wonder if attire: white dress, overlaid with red jacket had another inference, an inference to the society we are in currently. The movements expressed the feeling of lethargy being caged up. Parallels were drawn: a group of dancers moving to the same beat while a pair of dancers were as though as they were going through their saddest time in life, dragging feet and slumped shoulders. The white box, a representation of a cage, was so jarring in the background that one is consistently reminded of why the dancers were in pain, in anguish.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
– From the poem I Know WHy The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Perhaps I was reading too much into it, but it seemed like a sad way to end the performance.
I usually would not comment on fellow friends’ and students’ performances, but this time, there is much too think about.