Photo: Bernie Ng, courtesy of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

Photo: Bernie Ng, courtesy of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

Rianto’s “Medium”: Of Journeys, Transformations & Corporeality

1st November, 2018 - ARTS EQUATOR

Slowly the light reveals a solitary human body conveying a sense of sleep or is it semi-consciousness? Now, the entry of layers and strands of sound. Gentle clink of cymbals. Do I now hear the sound of waves lashing the shore? The lilting sound of a human voice comes wafting in. A female voice. And all of a sudden, we are made conscious of the gender binary – what appears like a male body on stage (barely visible) moving and responding gently to a female voice.

Contemporary Indonesian dance artist Rianto’s choreographic work Medium opened at the Esplanade’s da:ns festival on October 16. Performed fundamentally as a solo by Rianto and dramaturged by Garin Nugroho and Tang Fu Kuen, the work combines folk ritual, contemporary dance and classical Javanese dance as well as lengger, a traditional cross-gender dance form from Central Java. The influence of classical Indian dance is also palpable … CONTINUE READING


30th November 2015 - The Straits Times, Singapore

VISWA PRANA: The Cosmic Breath, a special commission of the Esplanade's Kalaa Utsavam, was rooted in the bharatanatyam dance form. Choreographed and performed by Rama Vaidyanathan (India) and Ajith Bhaskaran Dass (Malaysia), the 90-minute work also featured more than 20 local dancers. Artistic direction and script were by Gowri Ramnarayan.

 The production set out to explore breath as the basis of life, facilitating interaction with the environment, internally and externally. It opened with much promise. Dancers executed abstract movements with powerful musical support in the first segment, Prana. The dancers' bodies undulated gracefully. The rhythm and repetition were suggestive of breath cycles. They then entered in pairs, traversing the stage in repeated movement patterns. This was followed by circular movements of the body that conveyed the idea of breath... CONTINUE READING

A sense of pathos was conveyed in Cry Jailolo.PHOTO: BERNIE NG, COURTESY OF ESPLANADE - THEATRES ON THE BAY

A sense of pathos was conveyed in Cry Jailolo.PHOTO: BERNIE NG, COURTESY OF ESPLANADE - THEATRES ON THE BAY

Powerful tribute to ebb and flow of life …

16th October 2015 - The Straits Times, Singapore

Through the dark stillness emerged the sound of a quick and determined tapping of a foot. The lower body of a male dancer, dressed in red pants that extended just below the knees, was gradually seen. Slowly, his bare upper torso became visible. He stood there at centre stage, bobbing up and down.

That one movement and the sound that it produced conveyed the idea of an individual that is closely connected to land and sea. He could have been human, fish or even coral… CONTINUE READING 


Rani Nair is riveting in Future Memory... 

5th September 2015 - The Straits Times, Singapore 

Red sneakers, sleeveless top, unshaven underarms - Rani Nair's irreverence was endearing and atypical in the context of classical Indian dance. Future Memory was centred on the solo piece Dixit Dominus that was choreographed by Kurt Jooss for dancer Lilavati Hager, who chose to gift it to Swedish-born Nair.

One segment had a video clip of Hager's performance playing on the television screen with Nair comfortably perched on the television set, looking down at the late dancer and providing the audience with her analysis of the dance.

With the central theme of "what you take, shall be lost to you - what you give, will remain yours forever", the piece was powerfully poignant. Although it dragged in a couple of parts, Nair was refreshingly unassuming, lending focus to the dance and issues of history, memory, inheritance and legacy.... CONTINUE READING




June 12th 2015 - The Straits Times, Singapore 

FIRE & ASH, a 90-minute performance piece that was part of the Dance India Asia Pacific Showcase, was scripted and directed by Ramnarayan who also played the pivotal role of narrator.  The production at the Esplanade Recital Studio on Thursday witnessed the coming together of spoken text (mainly English) with dance, vocal music, poetry and visual art. Underscoring the work as an attempt "to understand the primordial paradox called Siva", the narrator then explained ash and fire as symbols of destruction of negative forces and rejuvenation of positive energies... CONTINUE READING