Dance Lab

Central Saint Martins, London, 2012

Wanting to explore my interest in theater, I studied abroad at Central Saint Martins and enrolled in the Performance Design and Practice program. For Spring Term 2012, the Year 2 students exercised a 4 week dance lab. Collaborating with the London Dance Center, the students designed, choreographed and produced a 30-minute performance every week. Starting fresh every Monday morning, the students would brainstorm, conceptualize, rehearse and finally perform on Friday afternoons. The objective was to push traditional theater. Aside from working in an unconventional white space, the students were encouraged
to be inspired. The performances only provided images, leaving it up to the audience for interpretation. 

 

Inspiration



Process


Production

Journey (Week 1)

Week 1  described a journey that the audience were to take along with the performance. Divided into 3 parts, the show had 2 1-minute intermissions where we took the viewers to a different room, thus further enhancing the journey. The story told of a girl's day from rehearsal, to performance, to train ride home. Ultimately, it also illustrates the relationship between the individual and the mass in a beautiful and abstract manner.

 

Frenzy (Week 2)

Like the name, the second week was a whirlwind. Not wanting to be tied down, the group produced new ideas until the day before the performance. The performance ended up being a circus/playground-like showcase that consisted of over 10 shorts. Week 2's production had no specific meaning but to give the audience a good time and bring them back to childhood memories. In addition, the team played around with materials, costumes, light, sound: anything we could find, and rearrange it in a unique way, striving for difference and inspiring images. 

 

Follow the Nightmares into Reality (Week 3)

Inspired by Hansel and Gretel, the show for week 3 took on a more traditional approach by following a storyline. The story starts with two children chasing each other, and then put into bed by a doctor and a nurse. The both wake up one at a time and go on separate journeys, haunted by varies creatures. When they finally reunite, the audience sees them in bed at the original state again. However, when the doctor and nurse turn around, they appear to resemble two of the creatures from before. The production illustrates the idea of a nightmare/dream, yet confusing it with reality, leaving the audience to decide if the children were simply dreaming, or was their real life an ongoing nightmare?

 

Rhythm (Week 4)

The final week began with watching a series of videos in search of inspiration. The team finally agreed on the uniqueness of Tango, a short animation made by Zbigniew Rybczyński. The film showed repeating movements. Each character would repeat 1 movement throughout the film, and every couple of minutes a new character would come in with their movement. At it's peak, the image showed chaos yet harmony as no character ran into each other with their repeating moves. The scene then starts to dissolve and finally going back to the first person that came into the picture. This was the essence of the final week's show as the group made a reproduction of this animation with our own interpretation and added sounds.