Written by: Ember Foo (22A15) and Reyess Peh (22A15)
Photo credits: Studio Ardent and MAD CCA
Chinese Dance Performance During MAD Night
On 6 May 2022, MAD danced their way into our hearts in a celebratory culmination of months of training and camaraderie: MAD Dance Night. The dancers illuminated both the stage and the night with their graceful and groovy moves, presenting the audience with a tour de force that beautifully encapsulated their passion and verve.
But first, what is MAD?
MAD (Music And Dance Society) comprises of three distinct divisions: Chinese Dance, Modern Dance, and Street Dance, all of which come together to form a passionate performing arts CCA. To gain some insight into the technicalities of each section, we interviewed the experts themselves.
Devon Chen (21S7J), division head of Modern Dance and President of MAD, explained that modern dance is a western-cultured dance style with origins that can be traced back to classical ballet. Devon clarified that modern dance is free of rigidity, and allows for a greater sense of freedom and expression.
Modern Dance Training Session
Lim Xin Ying (21S67), division head of Chinese Dance and Vice-President of MAD, passionately shared with us that Chinese dance is a beautiful art form that showcases the classical and ethnic forms of Chinese culture and places emphasis on certain necessary techniques and foundational skills.
Chinese Dance Full-Dress Rehearsal
Race Lim (21S6E), division head of Street Dance and Vice-President of MAD, explains that for Street dance, much attention is paid to hitting the beats and grooving to the rhythm of the music. She expounded on the history of Street Dance as well, sharing that the dance style was an outlet for expression of self-love and cultural pride for the marginalised community during the period of oppression of African-Americans in the 1980s.
Street Dancers Grooving to Music
MAD Dance Night was an agglomeration of distinct dance styles and we ought to say that it was a true spectacle to behold. The entire performance revolved around the central theme of "Yūgen", which is a Japanese word that roughly translates to the profound and mysterious sense of beauty of the universe. The audience (us included) was dazzled by the dance pieces performed by each section, as well as the collaborative fusion pieces that were jointly performed by all three sections.
Starting off with modern dance, Devon has provided a succinct recount of their performance:
The instructor piece was titled "Mother Earth", a piece that she felt was multifaceted in meaning. The dance showcased the concept of environmental destruction by humans, seemingly holding a mirror up to our modern (pun-intended) society and serving as poignant social commentary. An activity called “Before You Forgot” was recently conducted in the CCA, during which dancers wrote letters to their future selves to reflect on their personal growth. In a similar vein, this sense of reflection is incorporated in the dance. Devon noted that the grounded and earthy energy of this piece reflected a “real” society and how it was important to form deeply-rooted connections with the audience through the dance.
Modern Dance Rehearsal on Stage
The J2 batch piece was titled "Love in the Dark", named after the song performed by Adele. It expressed the nuances and profundity of familial, platonic and romantic love. Moreover, the dancers performed with blindfolds, conveying the heart-rending idea that love could be so intense and complicated that it blinded us.
Segueing into the segment of Chinese Dance, both Ter Xiao Wei (22S6B) and Xin Ying provided detailed descriptions of the memorable performances.
The instructor piece, "傣族舞", expressed the beauty, excellence and pride of a peacock, all of which were further highlighted through the intricate dresses of the dancers.
The J2 batch dance was titled "半个世纪的等待" which was an emotional piece that illustrated the pain of family separation during the 1950s civil war in China. The performance created an image of a specific anecdote: a heart-broken woman being torn apart from her husband who had to fight in the war. Due to her deeply-rooted love and loyalty towards her husband, she patiently waited for half a century, only to be devastated by the death of her husband. Being overwhelmed with melancholy, she imagined and reminisced about her late husband and his promise to come back to her.
The segment of fusion dance connoted a storyline where dancers served tea to Japanese Samurais. In particular, Ter Xiao Wei (22S6B) felt that this was a very interesting concept that bridged Japanese and Chinese culture through the instrument of dance.
How could we miss out on the energetic performance of street dance? Enya Koh (22A15) and Race provided some interesting insights about the performance.
The instructor piece, titled "Together Again", was a fun dance for the dancers to genuinely enjoy each other's company. The dance was groovy and light, embodying the values of friendship, particularly the ones forged in Hwa Chong. For the J2s, this was their final dance performance as a CCA, so it also served as a graduation piece for them to bid farewell in a jovial manner.
The J2 batch piece was titled "Home", a reference to the safety and comfort that MAD brought to its members. In a pragmatic society, many dancers may feel that the pursuit of dance is met with little understanding, and perhaps even disdain. Thus, this piece is a reflection of how MAD is a safe circle for dancers to appreciate their common love for dance.
Street Dance Rehearsal on Stage
MAD Dance Night was indeed a colourful (and much needed) break from the humdrum school life. After all, was there a better way to end off the school week than a viscerally exciting performance? We cannot wait to see what else MAD has in store for us down the years!