Sunday, 30 April 2017

Sze's Dance Updates May 2017

Dear friends,

Hello, hope everyone is well! I've spent the past few months mainly in artistic research, teaching and advocacy with the Working Group for Dancers' Advocacy. I'm writing to share some recent writing on, and upcoming performances and workshops.

Upcoming: I'm performing 
Signs of a Nest by Susan Sentler
Thursday 4 May, 12:00 noon – 7:00 pm
Friday 5 May, 12:00 noon – 9:00 pm
Brother Joseph McNally Gallery, LASALLE College of the Arts
Admission free

This work by Susan Sentler, lecturer in LASALLE’s School of Dance & Theatre, reflects on signs that are becoming lost in their material sense, only to be held in virtual images. These images resonate in the landscape of our bodily memory and recall material traces. 'Signs of a nest' explores ‘nesting’ as an abstracted, repeated ritual, triggered by such images.

(Valerie Lim, Yarra Ileto and I are rotating as performers in this installation. If you'd like to catch me, please contact me closer to the date and I'll let you know when I'll be there.)

Upcoming: My Work-in-progress and workshops

Seeing with the Body: Videolab 2
28 May 2017 (Sunday)
Dance Nucleus Studio, Goodman Arts Centre
1:00pm to 5:00pm

How does the body understand its meetings with the city? How do those meetings become visual and tactile? Experience a collection of in-progress dance films and video installations by Chan Sze-Wei, Susan Sentler, Faye Lim, Chen Jiexiao and others.
This showing is in the format of a drop-in open studio. Come by and the artists will introduce their works and be available for discussion.

Seeing with the Body: Collective Making
Facilitated by Chan Sze-Wei.
2 June 2017 (Friday)
Dance Nucleus Studio, Goodman Arts Centre
10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Fees: Give-what-you-can
Limited to 15 pax, register here
A full day workshop where dancers and film-makers will work alongside each other, starting from moving with the body, to shooting, editing and commenting on each others' work. Bring and share your knowledge and diverse experiences. Open to all levels of experience. Where possible,please bring a video recording device (e.g. video camera, compact camera, smartphone) and a laptop for video editing (anything form Final Cut Pro/Adobe Premiere to iMovie).

Some recent snapshots of my recent work made possible through the ELEMENT residency at the Dance Nucleus Singapore:
Curse of the Pontianak: Hags have more fun at Co:lab, commissioned by the Esplanade Library and the Asian Film Archive, 18 March 2017. Yes, that's clips from the 1958 classic Cathay-Keris film Sumpah Pontianak. And a lady flying on my feet.

Talk to me and I slap you (installation, work in progress). Featuring Gabi Serani.

Tea Dances, short film featuring Wee Li-N, hopefully accepted for festivals and showing soon!

I began writing for the new Southeast Asian arts blog ArtsEquator last year:
"Pallavi in Time" by CHOWK: Seductive Virtuosity - A review of Singapore-based CHOWK/Raka Maitra's latest production, Apr 2017

Mattie Do: Horror Film? It's all Ballet - Conversation with Lao horror filmmaker, Dec 2016

Thursday, 27 April 2017

"Pallavi in Time" by CHOWK: Seductive Virtuosity

Photo by Bernie Ng. Courtesy of Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay

This was one of those rare occasions where I realise that I’m watching an important work of art. A discovery, a risk, a breakthrough, that will influence my aesthetic and many others’ for years to come.

Read at -

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Safe studios and stages

This is so important. It makes me think of the times i excitedly plunged myself into choreographers' request that put me in the position of strong female who was then raped or violated. And then the work i directed myself, to have a male collaborator crush and subdue me, and participatory work where the audience could potentially do anything to the performers, or when a one to one performer triggered the audience - leaving a couple of my collaborators shaking and in tears while i was thrilled at the "audience engagement". I didn't think then of the potentially traumatic effects on myself, on my collaborators, or the audience. I wanted the job then, so badly. From my privileged position, I wanted to be the fearless one known to be able to provoke and stir. My techniques as a past support group facilitator could open up "vulnerability is strength" in myself and others. 

I now see that some of this was quite terrible. I started to look at the ethical complexity of audience manipulation. I still think subjects of violence, pain and discrimination are important to talk about. I'm trying to learn how to direct more compassionately. I'm looking for better ways to incorporate trigger warnings in workshops, rehearsals and performance work that reach for intimately personal spaces. I'm looking for ways to preserve my own emotional and psychological health too. I'm grateful to my collaborators whom i directed in participatory pieces over the years and my workshop participants. Thank you... And I'm sorry where it was too much...and Please, let's keep talking. About how we can go to meaningful and electrifying places with safety and with humanity.

Killing Desdemona: Creating Safe Spaces for Dangerous Work
by Alicia Rodis, on Intimacy Directors International