World Beat

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 May, 2006, 12:00am

What's going on around the globe

Mainland-born sculptor and painter Sun Yu-li is teaming up with Singaporean dance troupe Ecnad to bring paintings and sculptures to life.

For Land Before Time is a 10-minute improvisational dance that relies on a spontaneous interaction between Sun and the dancers to create something ephemeral. Each performance is unique and unrehearsed. Sun paints onstage, with his brush strokes stimulating and reacting to the dancers' movements.

Last December, Ecnad performed on a canvas of Sun's, laid on the floor, echoing the grace of the painting with their footwork and movements.

'Sun's work is based on universal language,' says Melissa Ng, one of Ecnad's artists. 'The philosophy is based on the search for the origin of the first dot, from which comes the line, then the plane. So when he draws, everything revolves around this.'

For Land Before Time was part of FireBall's 'artist work in progress' programme - staged at the Arts House recently - for which artists were asked to imaginatively use the rooms and spaces of what was Singapore's former parliament.

Now in its second year, Fire- Ball is conceived as 'a tribute to the kinesthetic art of dance'. The event, organised by Ecnad, brings together artists from diverse disciplines. Ecnad, an experimental contemporary dance troupe, often integrates its performance with original music, video projections and funky costumes. The least that can be said about the performances is that they're thought-provoking.

For FireBall, Ecnad has also teamed up with several fashion designers for another unusual collaboration: Designers on a Dime. Fashion designers Andy Ng and Lynn Lim, and costume designer/choreographer Rusman Rahmat have been commissioned to create original apparel to inspire new choreography.

Dance and fashion have had many celebrated partnerships - the likes of Maurice Bejart and Gianni Versace, Merce Cunning-ham and Rei Kawakubo, and the Parsons Dance Company and Donna Karan - but FireBall's collaboration is different.

Instead of dance influencing the costume design, it made the designers' commissioned art wear the focal point, forming a new dance that flows with the lines and structures of the creations.

One designer created an outfit with a long, uninterrupted seam, clearly inviting the dancer to make continuous, flowing movements. Accompanied by the live rhythms of local percussion group Ankara, the performance brought the old parliament's chamber to life.