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Friday August 23, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday August 23, 2013 MYT 12:17:04 PM
by qishin tariq
Albanian choreographer Brigel Gjoka showing dancer Tan Bee Hung the steps to his piece RECRECiT
MEMORY is a dancer, flitting about then jumping to the centre stage of your mind at the most unexpected trigger.
In its up coming production – Winter 33°C – the Kwang Tung Dance Company explores the idea of memory, from how it is created through two dance pieces by two choreographers from very different backgrounds.
The project brings together Kwang Tung art director Amy Len and Brigel Gjoka of Germany’s Forsythe Company to showcase two dances in Kuala Lumpur from today to Sunday.
Len says that the title Winter 33°C is not reflective of the theme of memory, but rather, symbols of the collaboration of Gjoka’s Western training (winter) and her Eastern roots (33°C).
Albanian dancer Gjoka was also in Malaysia in February, where he conducted a two-day workshop with dance students in Aswara, organised by Goethe-Institut Malaysia.
Len, who choreographed Earth. Track reveals that the dances, though similarly themed, were written independently from each other. In fact, Len’s piece is a revisit to one she had written more than a decade ago.
“I wrote Earth. Track back in 2002, but came back to it as I wanted to present something that I knew would be different from what my fellow choreographer would bring to the table,” she says. Like how the ideas from the original Earth. Track form the basis of her reinterpretation, Len says that Chinese classical is now a starting point for the dance.
“I want to show the progress I’ve made as a dancer and a choreographer,” she says, adding that the dance will feature more contemporary moves, but use the very same costume design and props from 2002. The “props” in this case are hair extensions nearly two metres long that the dancers trail behind them, like Chinese calligraphy brushes.
“Training has mostly been about learning the dance moves, without tripping over their hair,” notes Len, laughing. She explains that the way the hair follows in the wake of the dancers reflects how people’s actions leave a trail of consequence and memories to the environment around them.
While Len’s dance looks toward the making of memories, Gjoka’s piece is inspired by how the mind recalls said memories and muddles the lines among true events, dreams and deja vu. Gjoka, who takes on the roles of choreographer, as well as set and costume designer, shares that the set was inspired by a stroke of deja vu too.
“I had drawn out a vague idea of what I wanted the set to look like. Then, after a performance in a Korean theatre, walking out I saw these lights on the hall’s roof that looked exactly like what I had imagined,” says Gjoka, still slightly surprised by the experience.
The multi-disciplinarian shares that the stage he had in mind would be populated with stand lights that would flare like neurons blasting in one’s brain as it recalls thoughts. The dance, titled RECRECiT, explores how the mind sometimes records a memory differently.
Gjoka notes that though the choreographers did not have a chance to meet before planning their dances, they later discovered several similarities which helped synchronise the project.
Perhaps when two things are meant to be, they just have a way of working out.
> Winter 33°C plays at the KuAsh Theatre in Taman Tun Dr Ismail in Kuala Lumpur, from today to Sunday. Visit www.ilassotickets.com or call 03-4047 9000 for details.
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