Dance Box @ Actors Studio

Posted on September 30, 2013

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Last week we premiered the 10minute version of uncommon ground in Malaysia. The week started off with a lot of work in the studio getting the piece back into shape for performance. Also, making little notes to ourselves about how we want to develop parts for the full-length work and what we might want from a Malaysian collaborator.

Bilqis also set up a radio interview for us on 98.9BFM, which was very interesting as we have also been on the radio together in Australia, Soma Soma really. Meera, the radio announcer, was very good at asking the headliner questions for those who have chosen a career in the arts, “is there any money?” and “do you have another job?”. And although she seemed to think that Dance Box as an event sounded like a hippy gathering, it was lovely to have the opportunity to speak about our work and our project. Thanks to everyone who listened in!

We performed at the KuAsh Theatre in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (or as the suburb is commonly know, TTDI). This was the first time Dancebox was presented at this theatre, a blackbox set up, seating about 200 people. The actual space was very new with some incredible facilities, like dressing rooms, showers, kitchenettes, a lovely entrance, box office and merchandise area but some odd things too, just a curtain between stage and backstage – No Talking!!!

In between plotting and performance we found Artisan Roast and relished in our first real coffee here in Malaysia. We also walked to 1 Utama, a significant shopping mall, equipped with indoor rainforest and waterfall, a collection of indigenous Malaysian fish, a rooftop garden, baseball batting cages, over 180 eateries, karaoke, snooker, a dive centre, and a rock climbing wall. Australia step up! Having said that, there is a reason for this kind of extravagant shopping investment, apparently, most families spend most of their free time at shopping malls. Weekends come and so do the masses.

Uncommon ground opened the evening, and although we have performed the work in Toowoomba, Canberra, and New Caledonia we were both quite nervous, as we knew several people from the local dance community had come specifically to see it, and also quite a few members of the Taff family. We were happy with the performance but both reflected that whether it be a result of the space, the audience, a changed intention or the country, something had definitely shifted.

The evening continued with five other performances. Han Fong Dance Group presented a Tang Dynasty-inspired Court Ladies, which snagged the Best Female Dancer award at the Hong Kong Bauhinia Dance Championship in 2010. Honey a contemporary look at the trials and tribulations of Polygamy, by UM Dance Department graduate Syaffiq Hambali. A contemporary, high energy Indian dance (kathak) solo by Maniyarasi Gowindasamy, Sshhh… by Maria Devonne, student at ASWARA reflecting on regretted silences. And Chemical X, a ballet, hip hop fusion, by the students of Dancingtime Academy of Ballet & Music, a super cute power puff performance!

The evening went off without a hitch due to the supernatural talent of Bilqis and her Assistant Producer, Stephanie Ho.

After the performance we headed into Jalan Alor for a delicious dinner with some lovely artists, a few drinks and a little dance at Pisco’s near Bukit Bintang.

All in all a very successful venture, we think!

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