Contemporary Dance Showcase: Asian-Male Episode 7’ presented by E-Side Dance Company.





By Lizzi Wood


Last night I was invited to review ‘Contemporary Dance Showcase: Asian-Male Episode 7’ presented by E-Side Dance Company. The showcase comprised of a series of 6 short pieces from various male choreographers who all performed their work. Flicking through the programme after the show it would seem that all of the dancers have some high accolades behind them, are working and have worked on some really exciting dance projects and between them have trained and performed all over Asia and beyond.



While, generally speaking, I didn’t feel much connection with the pieces or their narratives, it is undeniable that the dancers were all fantastic performers and it was evident that a lot of hard work went into the making and execution of the choreography, which made the work more enjoyable. There were times where I didn’t feel very engaged with the performances; interestingly, during one piece, D. N. A. by Lee Tsung-huan, all of the dialogue was presented in Cantonese (however, just to note, the dialogue is printed in English in the programme, but I didn’t realise until afterwards). It was the second half of his performance, without dialogue, that I felt less engaged with. In the first part, he performed sitting at a desk. He moved his body on and around the desk in unconventional ways that made me think about the simple and repetitive ways in which we interact with objects we use on a daily basis. I found it humorous in places, but I suspect I mightn’t if I’d have understood the dialogue!


It seemed that, while the showcase’s theme was to encourage the choreographers to ‘ the gateway to their inner selves on stage, dancing with their unique body language and inviting audiences to join their journey of discovery.’, there was a theme of dream-like quality between the pieces. Often surreal, both bright and dark simultaneously and often relatable dream-like moments: like in ‘Body of Compass’ by Lee Jun-wook, where he’s lying on the floor on his side with his legs running, but they’re obviously not carrying him anywhere – we’ve all had those dreams, right? Running but not getting anywhere. And in Kelvin Mak’s ‘Made in…’ where a projection of people wearing white masks is looming over Kelvin performing, dressed all in white, white hair and white mask, on the stage below.


The highlight of the show for me was ‘Fools’, choreographed and performed by Wang Yeu-kwn. It seemed light-hearted, a little bit slapstick and I even let out a few giggles at his recurrent falls (another dream-like reference).  I’m fairly sure it wasn’t meant to be a strictly serious piece despite being the only one laughing! My only gripe with this piece was that it was too short; this is the one I’d liked to have seen more of.


Having majored in Choreography at a contemporary arts college, I even shock myself when I say I have seen tiny work performed in silence. Two pieces were shown partially in silence, one of which was ‘Body of Compass’ by Lee Jun-wook and I must say how impressed I was with how light on his feet he was. Flicking his body up from the ground into a jump in the air and landing with hardly any audible sound is a testimony to the excellent technique that he has clearly worked hard to achieve. I enjoyed the moments in this piece where, intentionally or not I don’t know, the shadows cast at the back made it look like there was more than one dancer on stage.


The last piece, Unexpected Step by Choi Jae-hyuk, was beautifully executed. Moments where he held a position on the floor that gave an impression of ‘free falling’ provided another dream-like reference to me. The various lighting plots had clearly been well mapped out and complemented the performance well helping to create moments of compelling atmosphere. I found myself, at one point, on the edge of tears because of a moment that was beautifully lit, teamed with some really clear, strong lines, almost in silhouette, from Choi Jae-hyuk – I’d no idea what the moment was about or the narrative of the piece even, but it was a really strong visual and emotive image. Similar striking visual images came from Akinori Suzuki in ‘KAMUIRU’; his topless body making clean lines of movement in moody lighting was something to behold.    


At just one hour and 20 minutes running time and tickets for $120 I would recommend this show to any dance fan, I appreciated the talent and hard work that had gone into the showcase.


This production has now closed. For more information, click here. 

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 5.0


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