For most of us, dancing equates stumbling blind through a horde of awkwardly gyrating bodies in a dark club on Friday night, with a booze-addled mind convincing you that this is the epitome of excellent judgement and fun. Those actually adept at the art of dancing, however, prove that the fluidity of the body in movement is an act to be marvelled at — something photographer Tan Ngiap Heng captures in his latest photo series, Anatomy of Performance. Providing an insight to the unseen world of local theatre and dance, Tan documents various productions in 24 images, which were exhibited at The Arts House.
With such an extensive exposure to, and passion for the world of theatre and dance, we spoke to Tan about his take on the storied art form, and which five performances were the most impactful to him.
Anatomy of Performance by Tan Ngiap Heng will be held at The Arts House until 4 September 2016.
“Strong Language” danced by Ballet Rambert, choreographed by Richard Alston
“Strong Language” was the first contemporary dance piece that I fell in love with. It was accessible, sexy and had a raw energy. Before that, the contemporary dance that I’d seen had been abstract and hard to enjoy.
Photo credit: The Alston Studio
“In The Middle Somewhat Elevated” danced by The Royal Ballet, choreographed by William Forsythe
“In The Middle Somewhat Elevated” was a roller coaster ride, pushing ballet dancers to the limit of their abilities, while the classical ballet language was being taken apart and put back together in abstract pieces. Also, the dancing of Sylvie Guillem in the piece was astounding.
Photo credit: Tristram Kenton
“Moon Water” danced by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, choreographed by Lin Hwai Min
“Moon Water” was the first time I saw Eastern philosophy organically incorporated into contemporary dance. It was devastatingly beautiful. The swirling movements inspired by Tai Chi were unique. The overall design was beautiful, with water on the stage set.
Photo credit: Hong Kong Arts Administration Association
“The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol” by Complicite
“The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol” is about the life of a peasant woman, but Complicite manages to elevate that life into a mythical state, finding the extraordinary in the mundane.
Photo credit: Complicite
“Petite Mort” danced by Netherlands Dance Theatre, choreographed Jiri Kylian
Jiri Kylian is the most elegant choreographer that I can think of. In “Petite Mort” he creates movements of exquisite beauty, and also incorporates humour while referencing death. His pas de deuxes are intricate and surprising. The music by Mozart is melodious, but dark enough to hint at death.
Photo credit: YouTube