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  M1SFF09: VARIACIONS AL-LELUIA [Preview and Review]
« on: January 12, 2009, 11:37:28 PM » by alvintck
M1 Singapore Fringe Festival

Angels take flight

Fairy tales and fantastical imagery dealing with fear and hope inspire this dance from Spain

tara tan
arts reporter

You would not think that Variacions Al-leluia (Variations Of Hallelujah) is inspired by children's fairy tales.

The dark and sensual universe that Spanish choreographer Juan Carlos Garcia crafts for this dance piece features a curious mix of Spanish rock stars, giant inflatable angel wings, mannequin heads that look stoic and dancers spinning around on trolleys.

In an e-mail interview with Life!, Garcia, 51, explains his vision: “The main inspiration for this work are the tales written for children, which use fear to generate hope.”

The work, which alludes to poetic and religious imagery, attempts to create the presence of worry and fear.

It is described by the choreographer as “a little rock 'n' roll mini-opera”, with three dancers and Spanish rock star Murfila performing to an ambient electronic soundscape.

Using sleight-of-hand tricks and clever lighting, the dance piece plays on illusion and perception.

Performed by Lanonima Imperial, which Garcia founded in 1986, the fantastical piece will show at the Esplanade Theatre Studio on Friday and Saturday as part of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival.

This is the group's first trip to Singapore after extensive tours in Europe, and Garcia is aware of the challenge of presenting his work to an audience of a different culture. 

He says: “I often ask myself: How is the audience going to react to my piece?  We have got very good reviews in Europe, but now we are going to present this work to a far-off culture.”

Explaining the cultural significance of the fantastical imagery in Variacions Al-leluia, which has props such as angel wings, Garcia adds: “Angels have a very precise meaning in our culture.  They are beings with positive and renovating energies, they are symbols of hope.”

His artistic vision, with its chiaroscuro asethetics smothered with a heavy does of ambiguity, is often compared to the surreal movies of film-maker David Lynch such as Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive.

He says: “We were clear that if we wanted to develop a poetic work, we should break with the classical and develop the relation of dance with other arts like music and images.”

book it
VARIACIONS AL-LELUIA
Who: Lanonima Imperial
Where: Esplanade Theatre Studio
When: Friday and Saturday, 8pm
Admission: $19 and $27 from Sistic
(www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)
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OFFBEAT FANTASY

review | dance
Life! people
The Straits Times
Monday, Jan 12 2009
Page C8


VARIACIONS AL-LELUIA
Lanonima Imperial
Esplanade Theatre Studio, Saturday
tara tan

Like the giant, inflatable wings which lolled lazily on stage, this 
abstract work grows on the stuff dreams are made of.

With a dark and bare stage, a smattering of props and four people, 
director Juan Carlos Garcia created an evolving universe of ideas in 
Variacions Al-leluia (Variations Hallelujah). The 60-minute piece was 
based on the nightmarish elements of children's bedtime stories.

When the audience entered the theatre, the dancers were already there, 
warming up and oblivious to our startled presence. The director walked 
onto the stage, muttering instructions to one of the dancers.

From the beginning, Garcia distorted the audience's sense of fantasy 
and reality. In one scene, a yowling, shaven-headed dancer confronted 
her image in a mirror atop a revolving trolley. Her reflection stalked 
her and she leapt menacingly onto the platform in pursuit.

Later, Spanish rock star Murfilla “battled” a winged dancer. Strumming 
her electric guitar and releasing guttural wails, she trod on the back 
of the fallen angel.

Another dancer convulsed while surrounded by stoic mannequin heads 
impaled on sticks as Murfilla beat an upturned bucket like a petulant 
child.

The three dancers conveyed strong personalities. Miryam Mariblanca's 
lightning-quick scamper on all fours across the stage was like that of 
a jaguar's. Yester Mullens had gangly, limp-kneed swerves while Olga 
Clavel showed off wildly swinging limbs and dexterous flexibility.

Watching their duets was like listening in to an internal dialogue 
where bodies embraced the themes of sensuality and religious mystique. 
The dancers did not adhere to the beat or melody of the electronic 
soundscape; the dance leaned on neither rules nor reason. But that was 
the strength in Garcia's work: ambiguity.

Confronting his bramble of haunting images was like finding your way 
through a smoggy night with no signposts or clear directions. You have 
to abandon rationale and follow your heart.

Photo Caption: No rules or reason in the dance. PHOTO: MONICA LOU


* n39389589759_6148.jpg (6.95 KB, 200x133 - viewed 331 times.)

« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 11:19:14 AM by alvintck »
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