SPROUTS ’10: Liz Fong & Max Chen

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.”

More details about the competition can be found on www.DanSing.org.sg and www.nac.gov.sg.


Momentum 2010

Opening tomorrow is Momemtum 2010, Republic Polytechnic’s Dance Festival themed ‘Bold and Beyond. In its third year, Momentum 2010 aims at promoting dance as a form of expression, as well as showcasing the best dance talents to be found in schools and institutions of higher learning in Singapore.

Billed as being youthful, vibrant and daring, the month-long Momentum 2010 resonates the feelings of today’s youth and celebrates the love and appreciation for dance – from the traditional to the contemporary. The exciting program culminates in the Showcase – a kaleidoscope of interesting and eclectic dance pieces guaranteed to invoke diverse feelings in the audience.

The dance showcase will take place on 26 and 27 May at the TRCC Theatre. Click here for the events line-up.


RPM: Revolution-Per-Minute


Come April, TheatreWorks/72-13 will be presenting RPM –Associate Director Choy Ka Fai’s new work for 2009, which also sees him collaborating with Japanese dance company, Contact Gonzo and director/performer, Li Xie from Singapore.

Revolution-Per-Minute -or RPM- is entirely based on the state of the human condition when involved in extreme shock. Together with writer Robin Loon, Choy displays this reaction through three protagonists: An accident involving a high-speed motorcycle and a pedestrian, witnessed by a passer-by. Contact Gonzo creates a form of contemporary dance where movements are derived from everyday actions. The performance will tie in with a sound and multimedia installation by Zulkifle Mahmod, making RPM a sensory piece of work. Expect a brilliant portrayal from Li Xie as she plays out the witness’ psychological trauma due to the accident.

23 to 25 April, 8pm (3pm matinee on 25 April) at TheatreWorks, 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road. For ticket purchase ($15-$28), please call 6737 7213 or email to tworks@singnet.com.sg.


Genée International Ballet Competition


Christopher Hampson coaching. Photo: Bruce Zinger.

Dance luminaries and aspiring dancers from all over the world will convene in Singapore for the Genée International Ballet Competition 2009 from September 3 to 12. The annual ballet meet, with its illustrious 78-year history, is the foremost platform in launching the professional careers of many young dancers in the international arena. The flagship event by the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), Genée promotes and sets the standards of excellence among young dancers by pitting them in a contest that assesses their dance techniques and performance quality alongside their contemporaries.

The Genée International Ballet Competition brings together an international faculty of teachers, choreographers, artistic directors and top dance talents from all over the world. The coaching sessions of the competition will be held at the studios of Singapore Dance Theatre and participants will get the rare opportunity to spend five days in intensive coaching sessions with Lynn Wallis, Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Dance and Christopher Hampson, award-winning International Choreographer, before competing in the Semi-finals and Final which will be held at the University Cultural Centre.

Click here for more information on the Competition Entry Requirements. Closing date for application is Monday, 3 August 2009. For ticketing information, click here.


Dance Production: Enter #1773


Dance Horizon Troupe (Singapore) returns to dance up a storm with a contemporary performance titled, Enter #1773. Conceptualized by upcoming choreographer Liz Fong, guest dancers Verity Jacobson (Australia) and Ding Qirui (China), come together with Dance Horizon’s resident dancers, to explore the human character in the personal, political and social setting of Enter #1773.

“The production brings in a fascinating interplay of relationship among a few individuals in their mundane life of work and entertainment. The contradicting yet harmonious display of personalities paints a relatively poignant but realistic picture of societal survival in a lighthearted tone. A concoction of human force, vocalization and gesture brought to light with the physicalization of an innate subconscious relationship with the objects surrounding us. A visionary testament of the human condition.”

Drama Centre Black Box (National Library, level 5) from 20 to 22 March. Tickets are available from Tickets.com.


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