An unabashed, raw portrayal of rave parties, Crowd was held on Saturday, 1 June and Sunday, 2 June 2019 at Victoria Theatre as part of Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) 2019.
Inspired by the techno-rave scene of 1990s Berlin, Crowd sees 15 dancers create temporal distortions, alternative realities and dreamscapes, exposing the core of our “inner selves”. Victoria Theatre’s stage was covered by a layer of soil, with packets of chips and rubbish visible at the back of the stage to create the setting for an open-field rave party.
Crowd opens with a single dance walk onstage in slow motion followed by the others, all of whom dressed in casual clothing – the dancers donned tube tops, windbreakers, denim and track pants reminiscent of the quintessential 90s style. Every performer’s actions were controlled expertly – and seemed like a rebellion against the fast-paced music in the background – especially when they held their poses during the many standstill moments in the dance.
Once all the performers arrived on stage, the rave party took off almost instantly. Dancers were seen doing cautious sidekicks, brutal twists and moves that look as if they were collectively glitching – all inspired by the rich vocabulary of club dance.
Choreographer and Director Gisèle Vienne remarkably unleashed the cathartic power of the stage and drew audiences into its scenes of visual anarchy. We see the dancers begin to mingle and form solidarity, as their senses become heightened, and they collectively experience intense emotions at the rave. Each body is a full story, a whole book, which creates an extreme density of narratives. Even if you were to watch the enthralling performance several times, you would never be able to see everything.
The uncanny movement of bodies, coupled with rhythmic distortions and optical effects, captivatingly played tricks with the audience, rendering their linear perception of time still.
All in all, Crowd was an intoxicating musical outing, visual feast, and a searing dissection of violence at the heart of the modern human condition.
SIFA was held from Thursday, 16 May to Sunday, 2 June 2019 at various locations. For more information on Crowd and other shows that took place during SIFA 2019, visit https://www.sifa.sg/2019-programmes
Visuals courtesy of Arts House Limited.