Friday, June 15, 2012

Fast and furious future

Belle and Arco Renz after the show
Dark and brooding was how I found the opening fifteen minutes of the contemporary dance performance tonight, which went under the banner of Crack. Three female dancers, Belle, Narim and Kethya started slowly in their actions and gestures and built up into jerky movements rather than what I could seriously term dance. Next it was the turn of the three male dancers, Ratana, Rady and Pheap to do likewise, all the while providing what appeared to be a breaking out, or away from the traditions of the past and embracing a new, faster and more furious future. That was plain to see in Belle's extended solo, much of it without background music, where you could hear a pin drop in the sold-out, standing-room only, theatre. As ever, Belle is a captivating dancer in everything she does, seemingly endless energy, balance, poise, straight lines mixed in with a frenzy that is utterly impressive. In the post-show discussion, she touched on how important breathing is to the performers, and she should know, as she gave a twenty-minute master-class in movement, without outwardly appearing to breathe. The group dynamic caught me smiling as they flitted in and out of the stark strobe lighting, increasing pace all the while before Kethya, soon to return to her studies in the United States, gave a more measured solo and the hour-long show came to an end. The six dancers and choreographer Arco Renz will be taking their show to three European cities in a few months time, and they admitted that each performance is slightly different, as the dancers are able to improvise in their own individual way, within the fluid structure of the overall piece. It was certainly a million miles away from the traditionally-structured classical dance for which Cambodia is so well-known. These dancers are in the vanguard of a new and exciting phase in dance and break down barriers whenever they perform. Long may it continue.
Arco Renz speaking, Belle listening, at the post-show discussion

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived in Cambodia and tried to work as a teacher and choreographer there. In spite of my extensive background, post-graduate education and experience as a dance and movement specialist, I could never teach at AMRITA. Well, I could if I brought some funding money for them of course!

August 7, 2014 at 3:57 AM  

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