Virtuoso physical techniques between tradition and contemporaneity
The “SoftMachine” project by the Singaporean artist Choy Ka Fai investigates the contemporary status of dance through a research across Asia to inspire a new series of choreographic experiments and creations. It consists of a multimedia archive of 88 interviews with choreographer, dancers and curators, as well as for documentary dance pieces. Within the festival frame two of the pieces are being presented. They present two choreographers coming from different Asian cultures and their views on what is contemporary.
Rianto is a dancer from Banyumas Indonesia who specializes in the traditional erotic dance of Lengger, while being equally versatile in other Javanese traditional dance forms. He mastered the cross-gender dance repertoire at a very young age, and continues to enchant male spectators with his seductive female impersonation. Rianto also performs and collaborates with many contemporary choreographers. Since moving to Tokyo in 2003, he has developed different choreographic practices, deriving and departing from his traditional beginning. The documentary performance explores the tensions between choreographic practices of the traditional vs contemporary, the masculine vs feminine, and the urbanist vs ruralist.
Surjit Nongmeikapam is a young contemporary dancer from Manipur, India, who has learned various forms of classical Indian dance and martial arts. He is one of the first few dancers in Manipur to engage with contemporary dance forms and seeks to promote its development beyond the traditional conservative Manipuri cultures. The documentary performance presents the process of creating a new dance performance for the consumption of the European audience, revealing the artistic strategies, marketing ideologies and the precarious attempt at exoticizing oneself.
Choy Ka Fai graduated from the Royal College of Art, London, with MA in Design Interaction. He was the resident artist at Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin from 2014-2015. His research springs from a desire to understand the conditioning of the human body, its intangible memories and the forces shaping its expressions.His projects have been presented in major festival worldwide, including Sadler’s Wells London; ImPulsTanz Festival, Vienna; Tanz Im August, Berlin; BITEF in Belgrade and others. He conceived the project “SoftMachine” as a response to the persistence of mystification and exoticism in stereotypical representations of contemporary dance from Asia
„Ka Fai investigates and extends the boundaries of choreography into the documentary, it is an innovative and bold production contemplating dance and life as an inseparable contour.” FiveLineAsia, Singapore