Monday, June 06, 2005

(D) June 5, 2005 - Mew and Her Muses

IT was dance as autobiography, a presentation in dance form of a life and career and the people who impacted on both.

It was an intriguing concept indeed that was presented in Mew and Her Muses earlier this week at the spanking new Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre.

Dancer Mew Chang Tsing, in a pre-recorded narration, dedicated the pieces in the programme to her muses in her life: Teoh Wen Xin (her daughter), Teoh Ming-Jin (her husband), Madam Surianty Liu Chun Wai (her dance teacher and mentor), Faridah Merican and Joe Hasham (from The Actors Studio), the Kwangsi Association, and her students.

In the first piece, My Little Muse, Mew brought her daughter, Xinnie (as she is fondly known), out on stage because she believes that everyone is born to dance. It was simply, joyously, a mother-daughter bonding session.

I’m Waiting for Him, about a village lass awaiting her beau, is a delightful Chinese dance choreographed by Mew during her days with the Kwangsi Association. In this solo presentation, Mew exuded emotion as she reminded us of the happy, carefree and innocent days of youth.

Which made what followed particularly disappointing: Leaving. Together and Rose were, at best, mediocre. Leaving. Together was a duet by Mew and Steve Goh, while Rose was performed by her students who no doubt did their best but who have not blossomed as mature dancers.

Eslilin, a solo piece, was choreographed by Liu for Mew a long time ago. Eslilin means a particular type of ice-cream in Sundanese – creamy and sweet on the outside, tough on the inside. What astonished me was how well the choreography suited Mew’s persona. It takes an ego-less dance guru indeed to produce a piece that does not impose on the dancer only what the choreographer wants.

The concluding piece, My Way, a solo item danced to (and entitled after) Frank Sinatra’s evergreen song of the same name supposedly explained how Mew feels at this stage of her life. She chose this challenging piece that required balance, flexibility and technique because it reflects the inner strength that she has gained through the years.

Though this piece had been performed many times before, this is by far the most emotional and heartfelt presentation. The audience could share her frustration, hurt, determination and resolve, and finally, personal satisfaction.

Personal journey aside, some may not be too a-"mused" at having to pay RM30 for a show that comprised old works woven together. The show simply said to me, “I’m inspired and I’m back”.

Well, welcome back Mew! Hopefully this is just a teaser to a new production that screams, “Here’s my new masterpiece!”

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