Flying from Beethoven's Fifth and other inspirations
by Estelle Rosen
Born and raised in Singapore, of Peranakan Chinese descent, Yvonne Ng (B.F.A. Honours,York University) is a Toronto based dancer, choreographer, presenter, producer, curator, arts educator and artistic director. An Ontario Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts award winner, Ng is the artistic director of princess productions (since 1996), the umbrella organization for tiger princess dance projects (tpdp) and the award-winning dance: made in canada/fait au canada festival which she produces and curates. She has taught in the dance departments of Ryerson and York University, the theatre department at Juniata College (Pennsylvania, U.S.A.) as well as Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and La Salle College of the Arts (both in Singapore). Ng has toured tpdp to Singapore, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Australia, China and across Canada. She is also artistic director of Series 8:08 (since 1994). Ng will choreograph SoloDuet, two new works exploring identity and its fluidity, in collaboration with dancers Mairéad Ellgate, Luke Garwood, and Linnea Wong May 6-10 at Toronto's Theatre Centre. www.princessproductions.ca
CHARPO: As choreographer of SoloDuet, what were some of the challenges in presenting these two dance pieces, how do they complement each other and what would you like audiences to come away with?
NG: I'd like to first state that these two dance works were not created to be a diptych. I have made related works in the past and this time, mostly due to circumstances, both works come from very different inspirations and processes. There was a challenge in allowing these dance works to grow organically and independent of each other. On the one hand, I didn't want the same choreography or movement vocabulary showing up in both works and at the same time, I had to guard against the two pieces becoming polar opposites. Each has to stand on its own merits. (cont'd)
NG (cont'd): In Metamorphosis of a Solitary female Phoenix, I looked at, examined and took the original solo and used that choreography as the building block for the rest of the work in building the different worlds for Linnea. It might be easier for readers to understand my process if they relate it to Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Everyone remembers "dum dum dum DUUUMMM" but if you listen to the whole work, there is where you find the genius, (NOT that i'm referring to myself as a genius!) - it is the work behind the four signature notes that makes it so much more than a catchy jingle. I'm neither Beethoven nor a genius, but architecturally that is what I had in mind when I was building out from the original solo. My intent was to create a work that supported the character or myth that Linnea and I had built, not just an echo or amplification of the original, more like prequels and sequels.
In Magnetic Fields, I began with the imagery of the physical properties of magnetic fields and how that mirrors relationships, particularly when they are new and evolving. We (with Mairéad and Luke) spent much more time improvising in the studio and inventing movement vocabulary than the process with Linnea. In large part, that was due to the fact that it is a duet and that Mairéad and Luke had not danced together. In order to spend 30 minutes on stage in front of an audience, we had to build time together and while we were developing vocabulary, they were also developing familiarity and trust.
What I want the audience to come away with is perhaps insight into their own experiences. I want them to be moved, to remember and to have the images and situations resonate with a part of their world. I'm interested in what they see and the stories that they see and experience. I have woven my own life into these pieces, but that is something that only I can see.
May 6 - 10
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