Novice b-boy Dominic Nah found dance a protected house to specific his grief and anger after his father died. Now, he and his associates have tailored his private story right into a one-man dance-theatre present titled dead was the physique until i taught it the best way to transfer.
Produced by Bhumi Collective, it runs at Aliwal Arts Centre’s multi-purpose corridor from tomorrow to Saturday.
The efficiency, directed by Adeeb Fazah, makes use of Nah’s street-dance expertise in addition to spoken phrases to deliver out the dancer’s difficult relationship together with his late father.
The older man, a self-employed businessman, was in his 50s when he died of a coronary heart assault. This was quickly after Nah, 26, began “breaking” in 2013 on the University of Warwick in England, the place he did his bachelor’s and grasp’s levels in English literature.
“Our relationship had deteriorated over the years,” he says. “It was great when I was young, but then it got worse.”
A fellow Singaporean scholar on the college, Edward Eng, observed his good friend’s melancholy and reached out.
Eventually, they started engaged on a efficiency primarily based on Nah’s experiences, together with his journey final 12 months to New York, the place he tried to satisfy among the icons of breaking and b-boy tradition within the Bronx.
BOOK IT / DEAD WAS THE BODY TILL I TAUGHT IT HOW TO MOVE
WHERE: Aliwal Arts Centre Multi-purpose Hall, 28 Aliwal Street
WHEN: Tomorrow to Friday, 8pm; Saturday, three and 8pm
ADMISSION: $35 from www.bhumicollective.com/deadwasthebody
“I was digging for role models and father figures,” Nah says. “But it was anti-climactic. Maybe I met them too early.”
Eng, 24, tried at first to show Nah’s story right into a fictional script. “But it was a no-go,” he says.
Nah nods. “It was hard for me when I went through the drafts because some parts were real and some were not.”
Producer Mohamad Shaifulbahri, who co-founded the Bhumi Collective, got here on board subsequent, intrigued by the concept of a dance-theatre efficiency starring avenue dance.
“It was two forms coming together, this sub-culture and the theatre. We don’t see a lot of that happening on stage,” he says.
Promoting lesser-heard voices and genres is a part of the collective’s mission and its choices embody final 12 months’s well-received one-man present about melancholy, Every Brilliant Thing, carried out by Andrew Marko.
Dead was the physique until i taught it the best way to transfer was a brand new problem for the 32-year-old producer.
B-boy tradition goes past dance and music to affect clothes type and mindset. It has guidelines that he was unfamiliar with. For instance, even rehearsal areas have to have “spiritual history” for the b-boys. They choose the underground house on the way in which to Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay reasonably than a conventional rehearsal studio on the arts centre.
Five months in the past, b-boy Michael Ng got here on board as dramaturg and motion director, serving to Nah to search out one of the simplest ways to inform his story.
The 25-year-old has a decade of expertise within the dance kind and instantly understood what his fellow b-boy was aiming for.
He says: “There is dance to impress and dance to express. For Dominic, b-boying is a safe space to express himself.”
Both Nah and Ng as b-boys are additionally excited to share the dance they love with a brand new viewers – legitimising it in a means.
Their households can be within the viewers and Ng says: “I’m excited to show my mum that breaking is not just about breaking bones. A b-boy’s story can hopefully finally be appreciated by people who don’t know how important b-boying is to us.”
Nah smiles. Apart from engaged on this present, he’s in search of a job to assist out at home. His mom is a housewife and his youthful brother remains to be learning.
When issues get an excessive amount of for him, he finds an open house behind Seletar Mall and lets his physique do the speaking.
“Is dance my escape or a space to be free? That’s something that’s really fascinated me,” he says.