Join these dancers from MARK to make a collective drawing in the city

Adeline Loh

July 23, 2017

… you’ll get to watch MARK in three of Singapore’s most iconic public spaces.

sifa mark 1

Here are the details:
23 Aug: National Library Board, The Plaza
27 Aug: *SCAPE Playspace
31 Aug, 2 Sep: MBS Event Plaza
5.30pm (1h 15mins)

Best of all, it’s a free admission event.

… this interactive site-specific dance has some pretty intriguing visual inspirations.

Nine dancers will be attempting to make a collective drawing – hence MARK, where they will be literally leaving their marks across huge pieces of paper in public spaces.

But there’s a method to this madness. Daniel and his dancers are taking reference from some pretty intriguing visual inspirations, including artists Nikolaus Gansterer (Figures of Thought) and Samson Young (Sound Sketches) whose sketches evoke a quality of ‘becoming’.

sifa mark illustrations

Daniel says: “Nikolaus calls his sketches Figures of Thought. There’s a diagrammatic quality to them which I like but yet these diagrams are not ‘closed’ concepts in the sense that they reflect specific quantitative meanings. The diagrams hover on the threshold of being meaningful. That’s very exciting, and I’m trying to get our dancers to work like this.”

Another important reference is Holi , also known as India’s “festival of colours” where people gather and throw puffs of coloured powder in the air. It’s also a way of “creating community”, play, laugh, forget and forgive.  

… these nine independent dancers performing in MARK have vastly different training backgrounds.

The eclectic bunch includes a Chinese dancer, an Indonesian folk performer, a vogue dancer and even non-dancers who are pushing their boundaries through movement.

Daniel says, “What’s nice is when you see how clearly different they are when they are performing the the same thing. They are not just robots executing a movement. They each have their individual identity in the work.” 

Meet some of the dancers here:

MARK moves away from dance as “representation”, but to movement as a process of relating to the environment. 

sifa mark 3

As an independent dancer, Daniel has never been interested in dance “ensemble work” where “dancers move in the same way”.

Instead, the dancers are being challenged to relate to information from their environment, including the ‘marks’ left by their fellow dancers and the responses from you, the audience.

Daniel explains, “The dancers won't be thinking about executing instructions in these sense of putting together a narrative or an image. That's what I call “representation”. I’m trying to snip all that away. 

Instead, the dancers will have to think on their feet a lot. They have to respond to a lot of stimuli, and each time they perform, different things will happen. What each dancer performs is really one part of the bigger picture.”

MARK is an extension of Daniel’s work and interests as an independent dancer. 

sifa mark daniel

The winner of Singapore’s Young Artist Award’s choreographic practice deals with relational politics in spectatorship and audienceship. 

Says Daniel, “The focus for me has always been on the relationship between the do-er (performer) and the see-er (audience). Since 2015, I’ve been trying to find a way of working with movement in a way that could be political.”

…. and here’s why taking part in an interactive work like MARK could be more political than you think. 

sifa mark 4

 “Maybe dance is more political than we would like to believe,” says Daniel, “We tend to think that theatre is the discipline that speaks, but dance is a blunt art form which doesn't say very much. “

Yet, Daniel proposes that the act of dancing in public can be “political”. “This act of people assembling to take a position physically suffices as a political act, even if it’s no longer about people with a very unified message or purpose. They come together because they are people who feel the need to come together.”

… and come be part of this collective dance-drawing in action!  

sifa mark 5

Says Daniel, “At least a third into the work, I want the audience to become aware of their own presence and bodies. Their physical presence counts for something in the work.” 

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  • 2017