Eusoff Hall Dance Production 2013/2014: Love is a Place
It's 2:54am in the morning after my second Eusoff Hall Dance Production, and I've been awake for about 19 hours (which is still more than a lot of my friends) but I don't want to let these emotions and feelings die down after the sleep, so I'm just going to pen down my thoughts for the past 4ish-month journey that I've had.
Joining DP is something that I don't have to think about twice. I love to dance, I get to perform in UCC Hall and the hall gives me points for that. So why not? But at the start of this academic year I was faced with a much more difficult question: to be or not to be a choreographer? I've always wanted to try choreographing something since I'm always bored and would come up with random steps, and to be honest I'm comfortable choreographing for an item in hall rather than somewhere else where people have 10-year background and can do splits like nobody's business. But still there were many uncertainties and doubts, and even when I know that I'd only choreograph with my co-choreographer, we were both really scared about things that may go terribly wrong, and that people are gonna judge and whatnots. But as you know me, being random and just anyhow, we signed up, and got chosen! Somehow. Probably because of my co-choreographer's background (10+ years ballet, doing splits like nobody's business... u know.)
Then we were already wondering what we were getting ourselves into. We had no idea how to start. Even with the script they gave us, we struggled with the song choices (except the more obvious ones like the emo dances or the final, hopeful and closing dance), and somehow stumbled upon "Bring Me To Life" for the nightmare item (as in I know the song but I didn't even think about it, then it just popped up on my iTunes and I was like, maybe?) And we got it! Lots of the things that happen next during this DP are completely accidental, but somehow things just magically fall into pieces.
Then comes the choreography. It's not easy choreographing a contemporary item, or any item, to a ROCK song by EVANESCENCE. Really? After our initial boost of creativity we just got stuck. For a long time with little being produced. I don't think I've ever been so sick of any song, but this song irritated me, not because I played it repeatedly, but because I played it repeatedly and couldn't get any step out of the song. Many a time we asked ourselves "Why did we do this?" and although the answer would usually be a frown like "Idk wth" or just a shrug of the shoulders, we knew that we did this in the first place because we believed that this can be something big, sensational and impactful. AND IT DID. SOMEHOW. (at this point it's already the next day coz I died and couldn't finish writing the blog lol). Despite all the negative comments especially regarding the feel and expressions of the dance (which turned out to be the most important and impactful aspect of our dance) and the constant nagging from my co-choreo and I to our dancers, they took that in mind and turned our dance into something magically, beautifully creepy, intense, impactful and amazing.
At one point of time, I kind of lost my hope. That the dance is going to be good. That the lights are going to be perfect. That the dancers will be able to emote on stage. How is any of this even possible when the day before show the lights were still a mess, the dance was still not that clean or impactful (although my dancers vastly improved over the last week. Seriously.) But thanks to my co-choreo's positive attitude (or at least that's what she's trying to portray to me so I won't feel so down), my dancers' reassurance and my little positivity left, I pushed on. Coming at 8am to change the lights. Fighting for 5 minutes to get that lights fixed. Running around buying welfare and gifts to hopefully encourage my dancers and giving them a good memory. Because somehow I still felt like it was going to be okay.
Moments before our dancers had to come on stage for the REAL performance, we gathered them for a quick go-through of expressions and performing and some pep talk. Sort of. Yet before everything started, one of my dancers was already on the verge of tears, without us even saying anything. At the moment I started to sob coz I could see how much the dance means to my dancers as much as it means to me, and how all of them have put in so much effort, commitment and hard work to improve so much and give the best they can to the performance. SAVEME has become much more than just a mere DP dance item for them, and for me too. Watching my item being performed in front of 800+ people on the UCC Hall stage was a surreal moment for me - when I started dance 5 years ago seeing how cui I was, I could never dream of choreographing an item that is performed on one of the best stages in Singapore. This time with perfect lightings, great audience, and most importantly 15 dancers who were so intense and strong they scared the shit out of that 800+ audience. I was proud, happy, and most importantly thankful that I did this. That my co-choreo and I did this together. That we somehow managed to find the perfect dancers for the job. That at the end, even though I was on the verge of tears many many times, I knew that there was no regret. That for one moment everything was perfect. That this dance was literally "brought to life".
EHDP 2013/2014: lots of emotions, lots of trying, lots of lessons learned. At the end of the day, what is left is not the dance steps or how successful the show was, but these feelings of seeing something that you are passionate about and work hard for coming to life in the most beautiful form possible. Thanks for the memories!
Can't wait to see the show day videos!
EDIT: I realised that I should probably thank a few people that have made this journey what it was. I also realised that I should do this more often. Most times I just reflect on my own life without really thinking about the other people that make my life actually as awesome/amazing/horrible as it is. Even though some (most) of these people won't even see this post lol. Anyway, here we go...
- Xinru, my co-choreographer: thank you for deciding to take up this huge challenge with me, withstanding my mood swings, craziness and tendency to roll my eyes. Thank you for adapting to something that is out of your comfort zone and still coming up with awesome moves that without them, SAVEME wouldn't be complete. Thank you for encouraging me when times are hard and always having a smile on your face even though you may be super stressed inside (I realised that I wasn't that good at hiding my emotions.) Thank you for taking charge whenever I am indecisive (all the time) and being super patient yet critical. Seriously, I can't thank you enough. So thank you!
- My scarily awesome dancers: I'm sorry that I'm not the friendliest and/or nicest choreographer out there, I'm horrible at interpersonal communication and I'm sorry if my pracs are not as fun or interactive as you want it to be (I just like to get things done and check off lists in my BBA book lol.) I'm sorry that I keep on nagging you guys about the same things over and over, especially about the emotions and expressions. I'm sorry if I made you feel like you couldn't do it, or that you wouldn't give a good show. With that, I thank you thank you thank you sooooooo much for putting not only your efforts and hard work, but your heart into SAVEME, delivering everything from steps to expressions to the most beautiful form that Xinru and I can expect. All the praises about our dance are not about how amazing or technical the steps are, they're about how YOUR expressions were so intense they filled up the huge UCC stage and gave everyone chills. That shows me how much dedication you've put in to fulfill your choreographers' demanding wishes. I don't think I've ever put this much heart and soul into something in my life, and seeing you guys on stage hitting the beats and spasm-ing the shit out of the dance made it all worth it. So thank you!
- Dewi, my dance 8 choreographer: thank you for teaching me a lot more than just dance steps. You taught me about passion, emotions, and fighting for what you want. About going out of your way to help others. About channeling your heart into everything that you do. Thank you for letting me be in your beautiful item and I hope that I did you proud.
- Lights & sounds people: I'm sorry that I was frequently frustrated with y'all about wrong cues and all. I know it is not easy to operate such crazy machines with so many buttons, and I'm so glad and thankful that you guys were able to make my item and the whole show look perfect. Just know that your job is definitely not less important than anyone's, and for your hard work, thank you!
- Shannen, our drama director and the stage crew: thank you for attending to our last-minute requests about the changes that we didn't anticipate, from the sets movement to the sound/lights cue and all. Shannen, I know it was frustrating to have to attend to so many demands coming from so many people as if drama is not as important as dance (fact is, drama is just as important), so thank you for seeing our point of view in moving the sets for our item. Stage crew, thank you for doing your best to make the transition work despite all the crazy movements and additional cues to the already long list of cues and whatnots. I don't know how y'all kept it together and still did a wonderful job, but you guys did, and thank you.
- Last but not least, thanks to all the people involved in DP. The producers for being MEGaTERrific, organising everything from scratch so that everyone gets a chance to be involved in this wonderful production. All the teams involved, without whom there would be no sets, no audience, no flower, no nothing for us to perform to/with/for. I'm definitely not capturing the grandeur of DP, but I know that I'm just a small part of this huge production, and the Eusoff energy, passion and pride that gel us all together has made this production a crazy success and left great memories for everyone involved (hopefully). Thank you for letting me do what I love and have that feeling of satisfaction and pride at the end of the night.
Love is a Place, and I've found mine in Eusoff, on stage, and in every Eusoffians' heart. #clichequote #butstillLOVE #grateful
Oh yes, and thanks EusoffWorks for the amazing photos!