By J.Raven Yep
“Nobody understands life. We only interpret life.”
Variacions’ director, Juan Carlos Garcìa mentioned this during the dialogue session held in the Esplanade Theatre Studio. True enough, that was the prominent theme of Variacions Al.leluia, the dance piece performed by Spanish group, Lanònima Imperial.
Variacions Al.leluia was presented darkness and the bizarre, deliberately throwing its characters into the deep abyss of uncertainty and insecurity. Here, three dancers move fluidly around the stage coupled with lightings to suit each change of mood, music and environment. Dancer Yester Mulens explained that their dance moves are formed with a “little part from movies” and “a little from the director”, citing his dance inspiration and motivation from manga movies like “Dragonball Z” as he plays the Devil’s Advocate in this piece.
Another unique feature of Variacions is the combination of song and dance, as opposed to the contemporary dance where the accompanying music hardly had words. Garcìa adds in the voice of Mürfila, a Spanish singer, whose occasional electric guitar solos empower the music with her versatile voice range. Her voice was manipulated to suit different scenes of the dance piece, ranging from that of an innocent child to the violent stabs and shrieks depicting fear and worry as the dancers move along.
Another thing I liked was the use of clichéd and non-clichéd symbols unlike most stereotypes. While Garcìa admits that the common symbols of the wings (symbolising light) and the mirror (symbolising darkness) are present, he also adds in psychological factors. A scene depicts darkness symbolised by the Fallen Angel against the light from the stabs of the singer’s screams and jarring strums of the electric guitar which one would associate to have the opposite effect than what it truly is.
“Dance as a language is communication without words,” Garcìa shares during the dialogue session, and Variacions truly is, communicating common symbols and telling the story of what goes on in the dark, in the bizarre world of the unknown. Hence, many things are left “open to interpretation”, says Haresh Sharma, co-Artistic Director of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival.
Share with us your views on Art & The Family.This review is part of ArtZine’s Special Coverage of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival. Read our reviews of the other festival performances here.