A little background, for non-Singaporeans and Singaporeans who weren’t there, is that 1 + 1 Not Equals II was a free event on the Arts House lawn, featuring local bands Astreal, Lunarin, Electrico and Local Bar Boy and local dance troupes Ah Hock and Peng Yu and Moving Arts. The premise of the event was that while the bands played, the dancers would perform interpretive dances to the music. (Yes, I know it sounds like a recipe for awkward hilarity but it was free, so I went.)
Now that’s been explained, perhaps someone more knowledgeable about contemporary dance than I can explain how going on stage, slowly taking off one’s jeans, eating a takeaway meal from its styrofoam container, drinking from a plastic bottle, occasionally swinging one’s legs while eating, slowly putting one’s jeans back on, and leaving the stage, constitutes an interpretive “dance” to any music?
I must admit, one reason this aggrieved me was that it was done while my favourite local band Astreal was playing the best gig I’ve ever heard it do. For once you could hear Ginette’s vocals loud and clear over the mic instead of just snatches of them through the crashing guitars, and they did some new material I really enjoyed as well. It certainly seemed to me like music to which one could quite conceivably perform dance-like movements to.
I must also admit, if this had been done for Electrico’s performance instead of Astreal’s I’d have been fairly amused, given that the performer’s complete obliviousness to the music being played does rather capture my usual reaction to Electrico’s ho-hum music. But even then, I’d still feel it was rather taking the piss.