Now in its third successful year, SPROUTS 2011 is back once again in search of fresh, new choreographic prodigies to showcase their talent and creativity. This exciting event, organized by the National Arts Council together with Frontier Danceland, will take place from 23rd July to 3rd September.
Culturepush talks to SPROUTS 2010 winner Liz Fong, and finalist/best dancer recipient Max Chen about their taste for making dances.
NAC overseas Arts Bursary Recipient Fong Huey Jun, Liz, graduated from the New Zealand School of dance and came back to Singapore to continue her passion in dance. She joined T.H.E Dance Company in 2009 and has since been involved in all the 2nd Company’s productions. She is currently preparing/rehearsing for T.H.E Dance Company’s ‘As it fades’ production in the Singapore Arts Festival 2011. “Composition classes during my dance education in NZ have always been an interesting and intriguing experience for me. I realized that it propels me to think deeper, from exploring and creating movements on the various bodies in space, to structuring them in an interactive pattern, and finding ways in linking the intent of the work ,to even establishing a connection to the audience. All these go beyond physical means, and the thought processes and creation outcomes involved are an exciting challenge which i like to put myself through. In the NZ school of dance, we have an annual ticketed production that runs for two weeks ‘ The Choreographic season’ which showcases the potential works of the dance students. That is how I had the opportunity to put up my piece of work and gradually unearthed my interest in this area.”
About the SPROUTS competition: “The competition was a fruitful experience for me, developing a piece of work with my dancers within a relatively short period of time, and watching other competing items with their unique individual ideas, perspectives and ways of presentation. It was very helpful that the competition was a developmental process from the preliminary round to the finals, where the adjudicators openly share with us their feedback for our items after the preliminary round. You not only get to learn about your piece but you also get to learn from the comments given to the other items. And its this sense of positive competition because everyone essentially has the same passion and the same strive for betterment, that i feel makes the competition less a competition but more an inspiring growing phase in our life as a young choreographer/dancer. I learnt a lot about myself and my dancers throughout this process, be it mentally or physically. Working with people, struggling with myself when creative ideas fall short, and when everything just doesn’t seem to fit, it really requires a handful of determination and support and willingness to fall and try all over again. But one thing which I’m certain of is, despite the tediousness as with every artist (fine arts, music, etc) creating his/her work, the process is always a continuous one, as there are various possibilities to convey an intent of a work, and it changes with different phases of your life, how i interpret and put my piece together at this point in time may morph into an entirely different approach sometime later. Thus the competition and its result should not be an end to itself but a gateway to further explorations and creative efforts. I also come to learn that everyone who is involved in the process has something to offer so it is always important to be open to ideas and views from dancers or technical designers, because one own’s perspective especially as a choreographer can sometimes be too narrow and biased, listening to their feedbacks as part of the process may spark a better development in the work. The competition has definitely made me discover another aspect in dance other than performing which i am interested to work towards – creating. It has also opened up more choreographic platforms and opportunities for me, which I will be involved in the second half of this year.”
27-year-old Chen Guohui Max started dancing in Jurong Junior College, and did his National Service as an Artiste in the Singapore Armed Forces Music and Drama Company, during which time he discovered dance was his thing, and decided to make it a career. “I went to Lasalle, later transferred to NAFA, and then did my BFA Dance in Purchase College SUNY. Through the process of my development in dance, I began to appreciate movement arrangement, and how various elements of life/arts can come together in a choreography. Thus began my indulgence in imagination for choreography.”
About the SPROUTS competition: “I think the competition was a great platform for me, to explore a theme I had wanted to do, though not effective in its outcome, but certainly a good valuable beginning for my exploration of the topic. It was a good stepping stone, but since this a relatively niche market, not many people know how to appreciate the art so there aren’t many opportunities to begin with. This is where SPROUTS comes into the picture – to help the public understand and appreciate dance/choreography as well as providing opportunities to talents.”