Sunday, November 27, 2016

DANCEWORKS PRESENTS tiger princess dance projects/Yvonne Ng

 photos by Cylla von Tiedemann

Yvonne Ng 
tiger princess dance projects

Yvonne Ng's two dances reveal interrelationships of identity, memory and history. The title of the first  piece, In Search of the Holy Chop Suey, is humorous, but it asks a rather profound question. What makes us who we are? - Mimi Beck, Dance Curator

“In the late seventies/early eighties, there was a TV series called In Search of … that focused on mysterious phenomena, e.g. Loch Ness, Holy Grail, Big Foot, etc. But they would never find the ‘thing’ that was the subject of the particular episode. Chop Suey is a dish that reportedly originated from migrant Chinese workers who lived in the U.S.A. in the 19th century. When I was young, living in Asia, I wanted everything Western. I knew about the dish and equated it to something Western/North American. The title is a comment on my belief that each of us has a deep desire to find meaning for our lives — even as that meaning eludes us and/or is not what it seems.”
The two works comprising Yvonne Ng's double bill act as perfect counterparts to the experience of identity in both solo and ensemble formations. In Search of the Holy Chop Suey plays with an elaborate set piece (designed by Silvie Varonne & Yvonne Ng) that Ng inhabits during the entire twenty minute performance. She peeks out, intimately resides within, and humorously penetrates, as she takes part in at times manic, pensive, and all around engaging movement. Utilizing built-in cloth arms on the outside of this gorgeous contraption, Ng and her fabulous installation prop traverse the stage in a playful and mesmerizing manner. Especially engaging when she is peering out of the many surface layers of the tent-like structure, and moving her hands in and out of various arm extensions - Ng becomes a kind of multi-limbed goddess like figure, simultaneously honouring and delighting in humorous poses that reflect the complex identity structures and influences that she works into the overall piece. 

There are moments when one yearns for a break from the elaborate sculptural tent in order to give performer and object a space in which to breathe and separate - possibly enacting  and adding less prop connected choreography to the piece. And yet, in tandem with the second offering of the evening, In Search of the Holy Chop Suey provides a short, delightful, and at times powerfully manic waltzing camp[y]ground that speaks to the act of identity formation in a world where displacement and cultural amalgamation can create a very layered sense of who we are and what our collective and individual lives mean within the larger scheme of things. Visually, Ng's moveable tent is a world, a playhouse, a kind of micro/macro cosmic, blue layered omelette'ish, swiss cheese, hole filled layer of culturally caged and cagey proportions - a  mini paradise of form and substance that dominates yet enwraps the performer in a beautiful and enchanting dance habitat.

In the second offering of the evening - Zhong Xin (meaning human centre in Mandarin) - Ng further develops the  concept of identity in a less performance/moving insallation mode with three skilful dancers who take on a variety of engaging choreographic sequences. Luke Garwood exemplifies intense varied movement at its finest. The individual performances stand alone as extended examples of identities being formed both separately and as a threesome. Mairéad Filgate, in a b/w patterned dress genders the costuming in a way that elegantly opposes blended identity as the only feminine signifier onstage. And yet her powerful presence acts as a beautifully realized third element of the triumvirate of identity created in collaboration with Ng and the other two performers. Irvin Chow brings a robust presence to an invigorating ensemble, and rounds out the trio with nuanced and layered presence that at times couples in enigmatic ways with Garwood's contrasting physicality. All three dancers inhabit the space with a beautifully conceived sense of finding inidivudal spots to feature themselves within, yet discovering each other by the end within a powerful and layered three pronged display of ecstatically refined denouement - as they stand together and present a final tableau that powerfully ends their diverse search through identity formation and expression.

tiger princess projects presented In Search of the holy Chop Suey & Zhong Xin at Harbourfront  Centre from 
Novemebr 24-26

No comments:

Post a Comment