Wednesday, February 5, 2020


Eden Planted is an exercise in futurology. Eden Planted contemplates 'the fall of man' reversed, the concept of returning to a new paradise in our technological age. (programme note)

William Yong - Director/Choreography
The themes of this work are timely and urgent, touching upon human evolution and how we envision the future....Eden Planted proposes a cautionary view of a re-engineered world, through movement, sound and visual design. The musical score by Anishinaabe dancer/composer Joshua DePerry (DJ Classic Roots) evokes the heartbeat of the land, integrated with techno beats. The work challenges us to consider carefully the legacy we're creating for future generations.

Mimi Beck, Dance Curator
Perhaps one of the most striking moments, among many, occurring during this hour long tour de force of sci-fi proportions, is a triumvirate of couples - two men, two women, one woman and one man - in pas de deux like configurations elegantly hoisting and gesturing, possessing an engaging flair for gender relations that imagines an enigmatic Eden where all kinds of couplings may occur.

But this Eden, in the hands of director/choreographer William Yong is also a beauteous and potentially monstrous place where the past lurks behind each new technologically inclined movement. One scene, replete with high tech stilt-like appendages attached to a taut shirtless male dancer maneuvering through the space presents an eloquent form of measured, athletic awkwardness as he attempts to interact with another dancer - both somewhat unable to completely complete the connection the stilted and the unstilted seem to be attempting - suggesting a new kind of human that may have difficulty becoming fully integrated into the 'future.' But with time, Eden Planted intimates the possibility of integration, growth, and ultimate demise.
Gorgeous projections by Afaq Ahmed Karadia, complemented by intriguingly beautiful costumes by Lisa Mann, give the piece an almost Hunger Games tone - without the high terror - that moves in and out or gauziness, plastic adorned bodies, futuristic appendages, and a lone black tulle figure with a delightfully manipulated bird midway through the evening.

A panoply of language - Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese - is spoken by other lone figures, inserting global and faint biblical implications that move through ideas of nurturing gardens to spinning deceptive horizons, tempests about to deploy, and decisions that must be urgently made.

This is no simple Eden. The ensemble of six dancers, through great skill and subtle movement, mixed with a softly emphatic acrobatic sense, roll a sharply bent body around the stage like a mechanical human being puppeteer'ed about - some contorted, wheel-like breathing form staying true to a circular origin. The sheer strength and varied physicality of this moment, and the overall work, never fails to enthral as a timeworn sense of a flawed yet perfect Eden replays itself in a future sci-fi like environment, begging the question, "If I don't have the courage to commit to reimagine creation, who will?" (programme translation from Spanish)

William Yong's re-imagining is gorgeous, meditative, simultaneously haunting, empowering and forewarning as it moves through many possibilities for a future paradisiacal garden framed by high tech prowess that intersects with the evolution of human bodies in perpetual motion.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for your insightful and beautiful review. We really appreciate your writing for the dance work. Good luck with all your projects. Thanks a lot.