First presented at Co:Lab 2014, A Box Full of .This (BFOT) by Dapheny Chen
will be performed again by seven Re:Dance Theatre (RDT) dancers at the end of this month. A collection of personal stories that revolve around a set that resembles a house, BFOT explores how tight living spaces affect our lives and relationships. Inspired largely by the shrinking HDB units in Singapore, the piece poses a relevant question to all who reside in singapore: do such close living quarters bring more tension or comfort? The Ridge spoke to Dapheny and some of the dancers about their thoughts on the piece and about the arts in Singapore.
Were you involved in the choreographic process? If so, how?
Rachel: Yes, under the direction of Dapheny, we were very engaged in the choreographic process. We used our personal stories to reinforce her ideas and extend her voice
Mingzhi: Yes. In the creative process, we worked on reaction based exercises where we
were made to develop more connections with our movements. She also made us talk a lot and openly about our emotions and feelings and journeys within our stories.
Any funny memories to share?
Dapheny: There are too many to share! I always believe in having a good laugh during the creative processes. There is this line that one of the dancers says in the dance: “I see broccoli in my faeces”. We had such a good laugh over this factual but gross statement! We put it in the work because you would only mention such a gross fact to someone close such as your housemate.
What advice would you give to your younger self with regards to dance?
D: I would tell my younger self to be more daring, grow “bigger balls” and challenge my body and mind in more ways than I can think. Also, to watch more genres of art besides the performing arts as I remember watching a mostly ballet performances as a kid. Don’t dismiss anything as boring! There is always something to be interested in.
How do you foresee Singapore’s art or dance scene to change?
D: Our arts scene is slowly evolving. There are increasingly more collaborations and the boundaries of each genre are slowly becoming more invisible with more conversations occurring between artists. The art scene is slowly becoming a sharing of wealth and health among artists and the audience.
Eileen: Art is slowly becoming more easily accessible to the audience.
M: Young people are being exposed to art at a younger age through MOE and NAC. Art will no longer be a foreign idea and practicing art will be more acceptable.
Stacie: The local scene will showcase bigger and bolder ideas and become more on par with the arts scene in other countries.
What do you think is necessary for a vibrant arts scene and what steps do you think Singapore can take towards achieving this?
D: The problem with the arts scene now is that a bulk of the general audience is still rather conservative and resistive to ideas out of the norm. We need to learn to be more accepting and loosen up on censorship so that art will be more genuine. It would also be great if we have more funding from both the private and government sector.
R: I think the government should take steps to provide art to audiences at more affordable prices or free if possible. At one of the Australian festivals I performed at, the government bought out a show and gave free tickets to the public to attend. We as a society should be ready to raise awareness and appreciation of the arts.
M: There should be more opportunities to share and collaborate among the artists where funding will be provided by the government. Rules and regulations should also be more relaxed on the kind of art we want to produce.
Has your experience in NUS affected the way you approach dance?
Jeryl: Academically, I think my studies in NUS has allowed me to view dance with a different lens. While some people approach pieces emotionally, the first thing that comes to my mind are mechanical, scientific engineering stuff (my area of studies). Being in NUS Dance Synergy has also made me more appreciative of the artistic exchange opportunities with foreign artists and the facilities open to students in NUS. The positivity, enthusiasm and passion for dance the other dancers in Synergy possessed has also inspired me to desire to dance more and treasure every moment I spent dancing.
Tickets will be available free of charge at the door an hour before the show opens!
A Box Full of .This
By Re:Dance Theatre
28 January 2015
UCC Theatre, NUS