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  M1SFF09: FALLOUT [Preview]
« on: January 13, 2009, 12:21:24 AM » by alvintck
M1 Singapore Fringe Festival
Life! people
The Straits Times
Monday, Jan 12 2009
Page C8

TIES THAT BLIND

Edgy San Francisco dance group Rawdance rips apart the traditional idea of a family

tara tan
arts reporter

The white picket fence, often seen as a symbol of ideal American suburban life, is smashed by forceful kicks and furious spins in the contemporary dance piece, Fallout.

Challenging the traditional nuclear family unit is dynamic American dance group, Rawdance, led by Wendy Rein, 31, and Ryan Smith, 28, both of whom, incidentally, come from happy, typical families.

"Despite that, we feel it is important to realise that the strength of a family lies in love and trust - which comes from any family, not just the one strict definition," says Smith, speaking to Life! over the telephone from his home in San Francisco.

Fallout is on tomorrow and Wednesday as part of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival, a 12-day fiesta of theatre, dance, music and visual art which started in 2005.  It is organised by The Necessary Stage.

Four dancers, made up of two men and two women, will embark on complex and intricate duets in the piece, "exploring every type of combination, man-man, man-woman or woman-woman".

Smith, who is gay, says the piece is in part a reaction to the passing of Proposition 8 in California recently, which eliminated the right for same-sex couples to marry.

He says: "The work tears apart the concept of the nuclear family, which has two parents and two children, to show its failures and limitations.  It centres, instead, on alternative families, which may be one's friends or community, or gay couples with children."

The edgy dance piece also has its quirky moments.  In a cheeky throwback to the 1950s public service announcements in the United States, which promoted the nuclear family model, the dancers play out "the battle of the housewives".

Armed with kitchen utensils such as spatulas and whisks, they launch into a comical robotic battle, poking fun at routine and family regimentation.

But these surreal and fantastical scenes are born from deep and bleak origins, says Smith.

"In climates of fear, the nuclear family unit is always promoted as a place of security," says the dancer, who met co-founder Rein when they studied at Brown University.

"During this election year, family values are constantly debated as a hot topic.  It is as if, when you have two kids, a dog and the white picket fence, everything will be all right with the world."

Fallout will be Rawdance's first performance overseas.  The company, which was set up in 2004, is fast gaining a reputation in the San Francisco Bay Area for its sleek and sexy works.

"Because the work is full of cultural references which are specific to American politics and history, it will be interesting to see what themes translate to Singapore audiences," he says.

taratan@sph.com.sg

book it

FALLOUT

Who: Rawdance
Where: Esplanade Theatre Studio
When: Tomorrow and Wednesday, 8pm
Admission: $19 and $27 from Sistic
(visit www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)

Picture Caption: While dishing out surreal and fantastical scenes, Rawdance examines the  nuts and bolts of what constitutes a family unit.  PHOTO R.J.MUNA
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* n41460387199_6879.jpg (8.19 KB, 200x220 - viewed 353 times.)

« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 03:05:09 AM by alvintck »
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