>summer song by tammy l. wong company

>reviewed by ma shaoling

>date: 16 jun 2001
>time: 8pm
>venue: cairnhill arts centre
>rating: ***1/2

>tired already? go home then
>review junkie? whitney, give them this click to sniff

>look, we know that you need to know that we, as responsible reviewers, have some quantifiable categories to rate productions, and are not just relying on some undefinable instinct or gut feeling. So to put your mind at ease, we will give you a logical rating system based on the practitioner's vision / and the reviewer's response of a particular production. Here it is then: ***** : Transcendent / Rapturous. ****: Crystal / Appreciative. ***: Transmitted / Thoughtful. **:Vague / Unsatisfied. * : Uncommunicated / Mystified. Yet in the end, you will feel that this is (1) a cheap attempt to justify the subjective arbitrariness of our rating system (2) buttressed by an interest in the logical (and inevitable) categorisation of such productions, which is (3) undermined by the cheapness of the attempt, and (4) confused by the creeping feeling you are getting that we are dead serious in our feeling that this rating system is an accurate description of the content, intent and quality of the production. Oh please -- does it even matter now? Look, at least we tried.


Someone once said that the strength of a dance company could be validated by its ability to encourage younger talents; to embellish its craft in fresher blood. If SUMMER SONG is to be viewed from that angle, then it would be fair to applaud the tammy l. wong dance company for its successful efforts.

As part of the company's desires to reach out to the public in an informal way, Summer Song was presented in its very own dance studio. There was no special lighting, and no staging whatsoever. Questions from the audiences were warmly encouraged, and the dancers elaborated freely on their favourite pieces. Someone watching the company for the first time would have found the company's spontaneity hard to resist. In addition, this person would have easily assumed that the three dancers of Summer Song have all been with the company ever since its founding.

>>'The tammy l. wong dance company manages once again, to be on their toes with what they do best...'

Except for Elaine Chan, the other two young dancers - Mira and Sze Ping, belong to the junior section of the company. With Tammy herself currently in New York for the American Dance Festival, and other members of the company holding various teaching positions overseas, SUMMER SONG was a short but sharp showcase of 8 of the company's old works, performed by new faces. The first piece, which was premiered in 'Ever After' and was choreographed by Tammy, was originally performed as a solo by Chan. For SUMMER SONG, it was re-arranged to become a pas de deux between Mira and Sze Ping. This was certainly appropriate as the opening number, for it immediately measured the two dancers' ability to execute a technically challenging expression. For her first-time performing with the company, Mira's jumps and landings were remarkably even, coupled with the steady lifts from Sze Ping.

There were two other pas de deuxs worth mentioning in which Elaine pairs up respectively with Sze Ping in one, and Mira in the other. For "Amazing Grace", danced to pop group Destiny's Child's rendition of the familiar Christian tune, Elaine and Sze Ping shared a mutual understanding of partnership that one seldom gets to enjoy in our local modern dance scene. In "Planet Drum", not only did Elaine show her usual powerhouse energy, but she also demonstrated her credibility as a choreographer. This fresh new piece, with footwork resounding to tribal beats, certainly revealed another dimension to the company's usual repertoire.

Last but not least, Elaine, Mira, and Sze Ping brought an end to the intimate afternoon by sharing "Three" with the audience. This was Tammy's first piece that she choreographed when she returned to Singapore, and had not been officially performed prior to SUMMER SONG. It gave us an interesting insight to a dancer's creative process, as we experienced a dated piece of work after having familiarised ourselves with the newest. Tammy's prevailing style was inherent, coupled with her liking for an upbeat tempo. This piece was danced to Jazz musician Dave Bluback's "Blue Rondo a la Turk", and all three dancers kept relatively synchronised for this pas de trois. Mira and Sze Ping had proven that they were equally comfortable dancing with each other, as well as with a more experienced performer. Most importantly, the tammy l. wong dance company manages once again, to be on their toes with what they do best, whilst ensuring that the fun gets to everybody. One looks forward to their next new work, now that the old ones are capable of not losing their flavour.