Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Short and Sweet and Extra Spicy

Hello, everyone! My name is BB, and I'm with the Nunuk Ragang dance piece. Long time reader, first time contributor here.

It's been quite exciting reading and watching everything that has been put on this blog. It really makes me feel the spirit and the pressure of the festival. Concentrating more on the spirit rather than the pressure, though :P

Like Illia from Nerds Gone Nuts, I'm going way out of my comfort zone by deciding to choreograph Nunuk Ragang. For the first 2 weeks after I was informed that one of my dance proposals got accepted, I was hyperventilating and feeling nauseous. "What had I gotten myself into?", I thought. Unfortunately, despite the hyperventilation and nausea, I still haven't lost weight.

Although I have choreographed some short and sweet pieces before, I have never done anything like Nunuk Ragang before - not in scale, choreography, number of dancers or even dance genre. But the Short+Sweet Dance Festival was an opportunity and a challenge that I just could not let pass. Where and when else will I ever get a chance to get all these weightless, dancing people out of my head and on to the dance floor?

My Short+Sweet journey has been sweet, definitely not all that short, and extra spicy with all the things that normally go on during a production plus other extras thrown in. I've had dancers who have had to withdraw due to injury, scheduling conflicts, locating rehearsal venues, costumes and so on.

But, I've also had extra sweet moments, like dancers who have stepped up and found replacement dancers for me. Dancers who have helped each other learn the choreography, and who have given me such wonderful and valuable feedback on what they think of the dance and how to make it better.

Above all, it is the experience of the interaction that has truly made this journey a most memorable one - telling them about the legend of Nunuk Ragang, seeing them identify and then make the legend their own, accepting and relishing their roles, conversations, mamak sessions and laughter ... lots and lots of laughter.

Despite having Warriors and Tribesmen in the dance, I have decided on not having any props, such as shields and spears and swords, at all. This is mostly because of the difficulty in choreographing those props into the dance sufficiently so that their presence is justified, and also because I'm afraid that we might hurt ourselves and each other since we don't really have a lot of time to practise.

One of the Tribesmen said something to me along the lines of, "If it's because of budget, we can improvise mah! You know the sauce pans? We use the lids lor!"

I had this image of my fearsome Tribesmen holding dinky little round metal sauce pan lids in their hands as they stalk menacingly down the dance floor, and I burst out laughing.

When I recounted the story to the Warriors, they came up with one better: "Sauce pan lids? Use trash can lids, lah! Bigger, mah!"

I told a well-regarded dancer prior to start of rehearsals how nervous and intimidated I was, and she told me to just enjoy the journey. And it has been a wonderful, educational, exhilirating, enlightening journey for a dance piece that I regard as my personal challenge. I'm hyperventilating again, can you tell? :P

I can't believe that Week 1 is starting and that Nunuk Ragang will go on-stage next week! Are we ready? We will be. We're planning to come and watch everyone in Week 1.

So, on behalf of the Nunuk Ragang team, break a leg, everyone! ... Preferably someone else's...

BB Ostella Adam

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