Early bird bookings open this week. I really like the mix of familiar and fresh programming. My picks:
Memory II: Hunger, Living Dance Studio (Beijing) - One of my favourite dance theatre ensembles since their visit with "Report on Giving Birth" here in 2005. Their new production looks at personal memories of the Cultural Revolution. This should be powerful stuff.
Crack by Arco Renz and Amrita Arts - Who could forget Renz' madly intense Heroine that was here at the arts fest last year. Plus one of my favourites among the Southeast Asian groups exploring classical forms. I never imagined the two could be put together. But from what I've seen in the last few years, Amrita's director Fred Frumberg has made some good collaborative choices in bringing non-Cambodian artists to work with the company. I'd trust that this is another wonderful adventure.
As it Fades by T.H.E - Sneak previewed at the Contact festival last December. Swee Boon is trying a new look, more raw and less (apparently) produced. I liked.
"Dance Greats" programming on Pina Bausch, Merce Cunningham and Kazuo Ohno - and takes on their legacies by Ohno's son and Boris Charmatz (Musee de la danse). Yum.
Dance/film series - This was great last year, if poorly attended because of bad scheduling and publicity. This year the films have been branded "I want to remember..." with half on the dance greats and another series of dance shorts by Singaporean, other asian and international filmmakers. Don't quite understand the repetition of some programming choices though.
Javanese Moonlight Intertwined - I just can't get enough of Javanese dance and look forward to these court dancers. The dancing is paired with a contemporary acapella/gamelan music experiment. I suppose I could risk it. Even the cheesy title isn't going to put me off.
What I hate - the arts fest website. The mishmash categorisations by themes that all sound like the same thing: "Histories" "Personal memories" "Lost languages and memories". There must be better ways to convince audiences to cross genres, other than frustrating and confusing them with the programme.
My rant here. To suffer the SAF website yourself, click here.