dance-Oke was a blast! Held on Saturday, the event was a great time dancing along to music videos in the style of karaoke, with dancing in place of singing. After Kai introduced herself, Bernice and Jereh and the event, we launched into the first video on our playlist: the upbeat Bollywood song Chammak Challo. It took a while for participants to overcome our initial hesitation and ease into dancing along to the video amongst strangers, but by the time we reached the second video, everyone was grooving along to the familiar tune of Happy by Pharrell Williams.
One sentiment shared by all participants was that they appreciated the relaxed, intimate atmosphere of the session. There were no rules imposed, no strict choreography to follow – we could move around the space as we pleased, dancing when we felt comfortable enough to and resting when we needed a break. It was very pleasant and very refreshing to be able to dance however we wanted to, together with people who felt just as at ease and had come to the event with the same intention of dancing freely. I personally came out of the activity feeling that I’d lost most of my initial inhibitions with dancing outside the isolation of my own room.
I found it surreal, in a refreshing way, to see so many people dancing together to music videos of all genres, from pop and hip-hop, to Disney tunes, to Bollywood, K-pop and French music. Not quite a flash mob, but a cosy gathering that evoked the same excitement and awe of seeing a large-scale flash mob. The activity saw participants of all ages, from infants to people over the age of 60. In a such a diverse group of so many people, it was inevitable that a few of the music videos requested would be foreign to some of us. Not that that was a hindrance. Instead, it was exciting to see what videos others had suggested and learn a few new songs to add to my music library.
When the dancing segment of the activity came to a close, we settled down for a live interview session moderated by musician Chong Li-Chuan, who previously worked with Kai on a number of occasions. Calling it a live interview makes it sound a whole lot more formal than it really was, though – the atmosphere resembled more of a casual chat between Kai, her collaborators Bernice and Jereh, Chuan and us, the participants. Chuan introduced Kai and her work, inviting her to share more about her previous works, including Fish, produced as part of the Substation’s Director’s Lab, and her fake PhD on choreography.
Kai’s journey took her from creating work away from arts institutions, in Europe, navigating performance making on her own, learning and indulging in the process of creating art. She would like to keep it that way, always keeping art enjoyable, and not pigeonholing her work into the categories of ‘dance’ or ‘theatre’. Many of us came away enlightened about how she has developed as an artist, and with an admiration for her courage in pursuing her passion for dance and the making the decisions she has made.
A huge thank you to everyone who came down to indulge in an afternoon with us, dancing and chatting with the three collaborators behind Indulgence! We hope you enjoyed yourselves and shed your inhibitions. If you’d like to see more of Kai and her work, do join us for the performance of Indulgence, which runs from 20-23 May, 8PM, at 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 6737-7213 to book your tickets now!
BY: Yingbi Lee, Engagement Intern