Review: Forecast 2.0 The Singapore Project, Supercell Festival

Virginia Balfour

Forecast 2.0 The Singapore Project explores identity in a contemporary, connected, click-bait world.
Review: Forecast 2.0 The Singapore Project, Supercell Festival

Forecast 2.0 The Singapore Project. Photo by Eamonn Sweeney.

The Supercell: Festival of Contemporary Dance, has returned to Brisbane for a third season, aiming to spark conversation about civic engagement and social change.

The festival combines performance with workshops, films and works in progress by Australian and regional artists. This year’s festival theme, The View From Here: Australia and the Asia-Pacific, hopes to create debate about Australia’s place in the region. The festival’s curator, Kat Usher, says the theme reflects growing concerns for humanity: urbanisation, communication and body politics, and each piece in the program presents ‘little peep-holes’ into the lives and experiences of people in the region.

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Forecast 2.0 The Singapore Project, presented on the penultimate night of the festival, combines three short pieces by Singaporean independent dance artist/choreographer teams Amelia Chong, Albert Tiong and T.H.E Dance Company. The pieces explore identity in a contemporary, connected, click-bait world. The stage is simply set with black backdrops and minimal lighting.

In the first piece, Namuh, performer/ choreographer Amelia Chong, emerges foot-first from a tarpaulin chrysalis onto a darkened stage. Against a pulsing background track, the piece fuses local ethnic dance practices with more traditional elements of contemporary dance. Chong is a skilled performer, and even though the tarpaulin chrysalis section is perhaps a little long, the piece is mesmerising.

The second performance, Double, performed by Gan Kee Lui and Syaril Amri Ben Mohammed Tajuddin explores the endless and repetitive nature of contemporary communication. Albert Tiong’s piece is a dizzying blur as the two dancers spiral and weave around the stage, both chasing and following each other in a manic attempt to keep up with technology.  Set against a soundtrack which mimics scratching scurrying animals, the piece is manic, hypnotic, repetitive and ultimately monotonous.

Forecast 2.0 The Singapore Project. Photo by Eamonn Sweeney.

The third performance, Un-form, is performed by Anthea Seah, Brandon Khoo and Lynette Lim, members of T.H.E Dance Company. It presents a dystopian nightmare, slow-motion horror pitched against manic obsession. The piece is about our position as individuals in an increasingly complex and connected society. For the majority of the piece, the individual performers dance independently in their own self-bubbles. While all three dancers are skilled and their individual performances interesting to watch, the piece perhaps works best when the performers briefly come together.

The choreography of all three pieces is reflective of the Martha Graham school of contemporary dance, centring on the gut and twisting and writhing its way across the stage. There are moments of originality, most notably in the first piece where the fusion of ethnic and contemporary dance is both subtle and creative. The dancers all give a consummate performances, however Amelia Chong deserves a special mention. Already recognised as a stand out female performer at New Zealand’s Short+Sweet Festival, her performance is captivating and highlights her obvious talent as a dancer. 

Supercell is ambitious to promote new and emerging regional talent. Although not without its raw edges, the Forecast 2.0 The Singapore Project performance highlighted some fresh and interesting talent, and it represents a commendable step towards the festival’s aspiration of making Brisbane an international centre for contemporary dance performance.

3 ½ stars ★★★☆
Forecast 2.0 The Singapore Project

Supercell Festival of Contemporary Dance
Performer/ Choreographers: Amelia Chong, Albert Tiong and T.H.E Dance Company

6 April 2019
Brisbane Powerhouse

 

About the author

Virginia Balfour is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She has extensive experience working in the UK film and television industry as a producer and director, as well as an NGO film-maker in the USA. She is a published author and journalist and lives with her family in Sydney.