With his roots in Germany and Singapore and trained at London’s Royal College of Art, director and performer Choy Ka Fai was surprised a few years ago to find that the Western view of the Asian contemporary dance scene is still based on a series of ideas about exoticism. This formed the starting point for the SoftMachine project, which he took to thirteen cities in five Asian countries to interview over eighty choreographers, dancers and programmers. The result is a series of video interviews and documentary films about creators from China, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan who offer a view of the Asian choreography scene that has little in common with the preconceived ideas from the West.
SoftMachine also includes live performances such as those performed at the Grec Festival, which, from the very beginning, introduce audiences to Surjit Nongmeikapam, a young contemporary dancer from India trained in classical dance and martial arts who is one of the leading dancers from his country in exploring contemporary forms of the art of movement. The next performer to take to the stage is Rianto, an Indonesian dancer specialising in Lengger, a form of traditional erotic dance that he performs characterised as a woman. Based in Tokyo, Rianto has also worked with contemporary choreographers, and is therefore a living example of the tensions between the more traditional and more contemporary forms of dance. A double helping, sprinkled with humour, of the extraordinary diversity in Asian dance and the delightful merging of Asian traditions with the modern world.
Soft Machine was commissioned by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay (Singapore) for the 2015 Da:ns Festival.
The project was developed with the support of the National Arts Council (Singapore) and backing from TheatreWorks, Singapore- danceBox, Kobe - Kyoto Experiment - Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts (Bangalore) and Living Dance Studio (Beijing)
Soft Machine Digital Archives is a co-production between deSingel internationale kunstcampus, Antwerp (Belgium).
This presentation is made in collaboration with Fundación Teatro a Mil
Concept, direction and documentation: Choy Ka Fai Choreography: Rianto, Surjit Nongmeikapam Performers: Choy Ka Fai, Rianto, Surjit Nongmeikapam Dramaturgy: Tang Fu Kuen Lighting Designer: Andy Lim, Art Factory Sound Designer / Sound Concept: Zulkifle Mahmod Production Director: Yap Seok Hui, Art Factory Tour Manager: Mara Nedelcu Photography: Law Kian Yan
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