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I find this contemporary dance piece “As if to nothing” which reflected to “The important of time” is very interesting in terms of the meaning that all dancers express feeling towards the audience and the question of “What have we done so far in our lives?” It came up in my mind as I observe the dance piece. It is a very strong idea about a person’s life and brings upon a great impact when expressed correctly. Another aspect of the piece that I admire is how the choreographer made use of the dancers and the space on stage. The effects of the video recording with different angles and the use of space with the blocks is a very effective way in communicating the message to the audience. Thus I will be reviewing these two aspects: the theme for this piece and how does the choreographer achieve the effects of the video recording and the use of space. Lastly, I will be explaining the overview of the whole piece whether or not the choreographer has successfully fulfilled the intent of his work.
The idea of important of time in this piece is catchy, as it is very relevant to a lot of us. As we know, time can change everything or even destroy many things in our life. We often do not realize a lot of minor details that happens in our life as time pass because it has become a routine for us. I reason I feel that this idea is interesting is because I strongly believe that the idea that a choreographer is trying to portray in a dance piece must always be relevant to the audiences that you are performing to. A lot of dance pieces have failed to
connect because the audiences could not relate to the idea that the choreographer wants to communicate. Although it might be a very basic decision, a lot of choreographer missed this and made a piece that only they can relate to.
As we can see in the beginning of this piece, the dancers played with different elements for example talking while dancing, repetition and exploring the speed of each and every movement. The first one that I have observed is “repetition” and “talking while dancing” at the same time. The female dancer kept repeating the same sentence “what am I doing hereâ€¦?” (in Cantonese). Well, it took a while for me to get the meaning of it. I felt that she was trying to express her feeling of regretful about why she was still doing a particular thing at this period of time and yet she could be doing a better one instead. However, the choreographer linked daily routines, such as brushing teeth with repetition to show that it is something that I am doing in my daily lifestyle. As the audience, I was trying to focus on what’s going on with different individual on stage. I personally think that it is a little of a distraction to see different dancers doing different actions repeatedly. In my opinion, it would be more effective if all of them are doing the same action. This will keep the audience’s focus on the idea of the story.
One of the aspects I particularly liked, and was present in the second scene in this performance, was the play of lights. This scene made use of the lights extensively to enhance the effect of the performance and personally, the lighting were vital in the effectiveness of the performance. Shapes of lighting were being used and most of these shapes were squares, rectangles or strips of light across the props. This was unique for me because spotlights were usually in circle but in this performances, all the spotlights towards the props were, not circles, but rectangles or squares. It gave me the feeling that the dancers were being enclosed
in a box and confined to the space within those boxes “walls”. A particular scene of the performance that I remember vividly was the scene where Peggy Lam, the female dancer was being carried by 2 male dancers in and outwards from the particular small box in square shape. I can see that she is very light and even one hand can carry her up passing through the hole of the box. This particular moment gave me the sense that the she was searching her memories, trying to think back what she had done in the past. The frustration that I can felt it from her emotion reminds me the important of time in my life.
Movable props also played a big part as the choreographer successfully fulfilled the meaning of “As if to nothing” in this performance. The dancers kept changing the position of the props in different patterns like “L” shape, doors with square window and others. It gave me the feeling of nothing is permanent; nothing can remain the same in a particular period of time because time can destroy many things. In my opinion, the choreographer has cleverly expressed that “nothing is permanent” by just moving the set around the stage. It is definitely simple, but effective in the sense that the props were represented our memories or time.
Another interesting choreographic intention was how the choreographer played through the video by showing the dancers movements whereas dancers were dancing the same movements on stage. The question of “Why did the choreographer wanted to show the dancers’ movements through projection?” appeared in my mind as I observed the dancers dancing on stage and at the same played with the projections. There was a segment which the dancers were dancing behind the props. The screen where placed at the ceiling facing the dancers. This scene was very powerful to me. Each dancer simply walking through the screen with so much conviction and focus in their eyes through the projection and though I was seated rather high up and far away from the stage, it was as if I could feel the intense focus in
their eyes as they walked forward, seemingly with a purpose of getting somewhere. I was captured in the moment so intensely and it was breath-taking, the power of such simplicity. I started to gain a new knowledge where by the projection is my memory and my daily routines are the dancers’ movements. To explain in detail that can link to the theme of the whole piece, “nothing is permanent”, time can destroy many things but if I take a picture or record video of any interesting things that I have done in the life, it will still remain.
Overall, what inspired me the most is the sense of being a professional dancer on stage. Dancers’ performance quality must be good so that it give the audience an overall image that can link to the theme of “nothing is permanent”. T.H.E dancers looked ready to perform, giving their full energy and high spirit to dance for one and the half hours. The dancers also showed good emotions as they immerse themselves into the dance theme “As If To Nothing”. This value should be with all dancers at all time. If I observe the dancer’s spatial awareness, I can see that the dancers are very precise when moving the sets around. I can see a lot of discipline involved in carrying out this piece. The dancer’s movements are also very sharp and strong.
In conclusion, in terms of the idea, I think that the piece brings a very meaningful idea to be expressed to the crowd and it definitely has a lot of values such as discipline and professionalism for aspiring dancers like me to learn from. I find myself drawn to works that have the courage to “push beyond the norms” and give the audience a unique experience. This is the main reason that this performance “As if to nothing” stood out as a memorable experience for me.
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