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Singapore Dance Theatre - Ballet Under the Stars - Balanchine, Edwaard Liang, Francois Klaus, Choo-San Goh (Aug/Sept 2018)

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Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT) held its double weekend of Ballet Under the Stars (BUTS) over August and September 2018. Just sharing some thoughts on the performances :) I've put brief summaries up, as well as links to longer reviews for those who'd love to know more about what the works looked and sounded like / their background, and the dancers.


First weekend

1. George Balanchine's Four Temperaments: I assume this needs no further introduction - suffice to say, it was a mind-breaking, ground-breaking work in its time, a study in not-classical dancing, by dancers in practice uniforms. This was the SDT's second staging of this, and the performance looked chic and sleek, and effortlessly modern. For me, the troupes of ladies in Melancholic, Sanguinic and Phlegmatic stood out in particular because they fitted together seamlessly and coherently as one unit.


2. Edwaard Liang's 13th Heaven: Created on the company in 2017 to music by Oliver Davis, this work is apparently based on 13 levels of Heaven in the Aztec mythology, and the notion that the 13th level is the place in which humanity was created. Set against a backdrop of a large orange sun with searing golden lights, it's a stirring piece involving intricate pair work (superb lifts, strong partnership) and soaring group work (the bold breath-taking speed of the men's portion; the flurry of action in the finale).


3. Francois Klaus' Midnight Waltzes: An entertaining gala to close the evening, with the clever (and sometimes cheeky) choice of both Johann Strauss' Waltz(es) and Khachaturian's Masquerade Suite for a classical 'story' ballet about a ball and unexpected dalliances, starring (amongst others) the swooning debutante, the belle of the ball, the three stooges, and sweeping waltzes.


Here's a more detailed review for those interested in the works.


Second weekend

2018 being the 30th Anniversary of SDT, it seemed right that one weekend was devoted to works by the late, great, Singaporean choreographer Choo-San Goh. These were some of the pieces he had created for Washington Ballet.

1. Schubert Symphony - a rip-roaring full-out classical piece - a beautiful, energetic work for which the same level of technique and skill is required from / demanded of the group dancers as it is from the principals.


2. Unknown Territory - an exquisite, mesmerising work about a marriage ceremony in an unknown Asian territory - gongs, gamelans, drums form the backdrop for the wedding of a fierce tribe, which concludes with the groom leaving to fulfil a task and return a man, or die completing it. This was my favourite, for its intensity and drama, and the strength and spirit of the dancing.


3. Fives (set to Ernest Bloch's Concerto Grosso No. 1) - a spirited work emphasising purity of movement and partnership between 5 trios (1 man, 2 women per trio). Standout moments include dancing to absolute silence before the music finally commences; and the exuberant finale (set to the Fugue), a triumph of symphony and celebration. Would encourage anyone to listen to the Fugue at least - it's pure delight.


The substantially more detailed review can be found here.



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Hi Squadron, and thanks so much for this report.  I am thrilled that we have someone who can report to us from Singapore on SDT and what that excellent company is performing.  Please keep your very interesting thoughts and reviews coming!

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