By Wong Yeang Cherng
HOMECOMING AT 30
With their characteristic mix of fluidity and nimbleness, the chinese dance performers commanded the halls of Victoria Theatre as the azure blue linen of their costumes twirled and glided effortlessly across a stage of psychedelic lights, much to the delight of the audience.
Finally, they were home.
Celebrating 30 glorious years in the Chinese cultural dance scene, the NP Dance Group wowed the crowd with their anniversary production on Apr 18.
The club’s seventh public performance, entitled Recollections, opened with a dazzle of turquoise, as the dancers drifted to the serene number of Awakening of Spring, the first of their 12 dance items.
From ethnic elements to contemporary flair, the performance conjured dreamy images of tranquillity, love and unity. The show even saw the support of NP Dance Group alumni, like Noorin Najmi Nawi, 22, who performed in the contemporary dance piece, The Letter.
“We try to portray [the dance] through our emotions and facial expressions [so that it is] easier for the audience, because some of them, I believe, are non-dancers,” she says.
The matinee was a collaboration between five clubs: the Dance Group, Chinese Orchestra, Choir, Harmonica Troupe and Stage Art Group, all of which used to come under the now defunct Cultural Activities and Social Services Club.
Fong Koon Kit, 19, a third-year Biomedical Science student, was wonderstruck at the versatility of the campus’ arts and cultural talent pool.
He says, “I think it’s quite new because you have different CCAs performing at different intervals. It’s better than having an entire dance performance solely on its own.”
However, the stage ultimately belonged to the dance group. The performers lured the audience into a trance with their fluid movements, coupled with the eclectic use of streaming lights and shadow-play.
Looking back, the NP Dance Group has blossomed into a big family. Hoo Wan Ting, 22, president of the NP Dance Group, agreed after witnessing the group grow closer during their gruelling dance practices.
It was a tumultuous ride for the club when the members had to handle “trial and error with committee members” at the beginning. With time, “thinking hats were put on, which quickly bonded us together and friendships were made firmly between us,” says Wan Ting.
As the recital finally came to an end, the dance group scrambled to perform the grand finale, entitled Yellow river.
The final act which is about “with determination, the people continue to strive and triumph over the difficulties and obstacles for a better future”, saw 34 members finishing the dance in a towering sensation of pleasure and satisfaction, to the rousing sound of applause from the enraptured audience.
By Tanya Lai
THE TRIPLE THREAT
Audiences at the NP Choir’s annual concert were treated to an auditory and visual feast as the choristers performed an eclectic mix of song, dance and theatrics at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.
Held on Apr 26, the first half of the night saw the choir perform eight choral pieces, including six a cappella performances and a 35-minute musical titled Journey.
The first note soared into the night when the choristers crooned two popular songs from popular movie-musical, Sister Act. Although there were a few technical glitches, the subtle display of vocal strength by the performers was sufficient to draw a delighted round of applause from the audience.
The crowd also burst into an excitable buzz when the choir, accompanied by guest singers and dancers, belted out a cappella versions of chart-toppers by Justin Timberlake and The Pussycat Dolls.
NP Principal and Guest-of-Honour of the night, Mr Chia Mia Chiang, thought that the overall standard of the production was high.
He says, “We’re doing our best. The standards of the arts groups in NP are going up every year.”
Fingers were crossed as the first-ever musical staged by the choir began its first act. In the drama, the protagonist finds herself trapped in and freefalling into despair after losing her parents at the tender age of seven. In a surprise twist of fate, she befriends an outgoing classmate and together, begins a journey through music to self-discovery, trust and hope.
Judging from the raucous applause after each of the cast’s antics, the show was definitely a hit with the audience. Recent Early Childhood Education graduate Grace Lee, 21, who played the lead, showed her appreciation. “We wanted to show we can not just sing, but we can act as well.”
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