By Andre Frois
A Walk in the Park with the works of Takemitsu
Published on 10 April 2018
Members of the audience are invited to approach dancers, artists and curators in the musical garden of A Takemitsu Season: The Spring Soirée, and they will react accordingly, describes Angela Liong of Arts Fission.
Besides being an artistic director, Angela Liong is an innovative expressionist. The co-founder of dance company Arts Fission has many feathers in her illustrious cap, but says , “I don’t take stock of what I’ve done. I just want to keep moving forward.”
The first phase of A Takemitsu Season: The Spring Soirée, involves creating uncanny visuals that will arrest the general public and entice them to embark on their personal journey into the arts. Held at the Japan Creative Centre, this intimate setting at Nassim Road holds an audience of about 50 to 80 people.
Dancers covered in flowers, folded like a paper crane and hovering in a rustic environment, are the kinds of images that Angela hopes will stir curiosity within members of the audience, who just might realise that art is not exclusive, but applicable to people from all walks of life. “Arts Fission continually seeks to put on different kinds of productions, in different presentations, which will push us to new projects,” she says. “My productions are about self-expression and communication—communication to the fullest. If our audiences remember our productions years from now, then we have succeeded.” She’s even going to be serving Japanese tea at this performance. To her, A Takemitsu Season: The Spring Soirée is, in some respects, a walk in the park. “I want to welcome audiences to immerse themselves in art, and hopefully more members of the general public.”
“A Takemitsu Season: The Spring Soirée is a treasure hunt.”
Stroll between two performance spaces and six Arts Fission dancers, who will all be part of this immersive art installation, hosted by Cultural Medallion recipient Liong and Composers Joyce Beetuan Koh and Shane Thio. The trio will welcome their guests by serving them Japanese tea in traditional tea cups. The audience will then be invited to scour performance spaces for cut-up strips of the music score to present them to the artists, who will interpret the pieces.
Photo courtesy of Arts Fission
“We want to introduce the late Tōru Takemitsu and his work in a fluid style, which showcases more depth and dimension than a conventional recital. “
This great classical Japanese composer was greatly influenced by the traditional Japanese Zen garden. He was also one of the most respected Asian composers of Western-style music.
“We’re doing this to illustrate that art is not cheem (Singaporean expression meaning lofty and complex). “
Angela encourages the audience of ‘A Takemitsu Season’ to enjoy the performance, instead of reading into every movement, or every lift of the finger. To her, dance is like music, where the story naturally progresses the further you get into the story.
“We’re planting seeds to sow a greater appreciation for the arts.”
For Arts Fission, ‘A Takemitsu Season: The Spring Soirée’ is actually an exposure programme, and a new testing ground for them. The opposite of a long-suffering seated performance, attendees will be free to move around the production, and Angela hopes that this new take on how performances are enjoyed, will be one that people will remember for a long time to come.
“This project is a prelude to bigger productions – like Garden Uprooted, which is held in collaboration with The Philharmonic Orchestra.”
This bigger production will take place in May at the Esplanade, and will feature intergenerational dancers. Expect to see senior citizens dancing alongside young dancers in this cultural and experimental mashup. Angela believes that people of all ages and backgrounds can participate in art, and audiences should be treated to see performers from all walks of life.
Outtake from ‘Fire Monkey’
Photo Courtesy of Arts Fission
“Our art is meant for people buying groceries in a market as much as they are meant for intellectuals and academia.”
Everyday people in everyday places is where Angela often finds the inspiration for her next piece. Thus, it is with this mindset that Arts Fission wants to refresh how the public perceive art . Instead of limiting themselves to a theatre, Arts Fission wants to explore more innovative and invigorating ways to bring art to everyday spaces, and let the masses be a part of art too. Arts Fission has previously performed pieces in malls, across staircases and even at a public park.
“I don’t like grand words like choreography.”
To Angela, creativity is a skill and daily discipline, that is akin to passing ingredients to a chef. With love and practice, a chef uses his senses, smells and hands to make a heart-warming meal.
Outtake from ‘Make It New’
Photo Courtesy of Arts Fission
“We seek to eventually introduce our style of work into the corporate world, because art inspires people and helps them grow.”
Where Arts performances in workplaces might be commonplace in North America and Europe, Angela finds that Singapore is still hesitant, and she wants to bring the business and art world closer together. She believes that art can inspire people and ideas, and wants to introduce more programmes to the working world. Not only does it help employees unwind, but it can unlock new ideas. Through dialogue, Angela believes that she can show even the likes of data miners and accountants that their worlds of numbers versus art are actually dynamically similar.
A Takemitsu Season: The Spring Soirée is a free admission musical performance that will take place on Saturday 14th April 2018, from 2pm to 3pm, at the Japan Creative Centre at 4 Nassim Road.