a solo performance lecture by Marion D'Cruz
in collaboration with director Mark Teh and visual designs by Grey Yeoh
Gostan Forward is an excavation of Marion D'Cruz's dance memory. The performance lecture traces Marion's growth as a student, dancer, choreographer and educator, revealing her choices, strategies and influences over the span of her 35-year dance career in Malaysia. Marion will tell stories and perform excerpts of her favourite and most significant dance pieces, including 'Terinai', 'Swan Song', 'Urn Piece', 'Chilayu', and more.
Details (4 shows):
8 & 9 May 2009 @ 8:30pm
9 & 10 May 2009 @ 2.15pm
Venue: The Annexe Gallery, Central Market, Kuala Lumpur.
Entry by donation: RM10 minimum.
For more information, please call Five Arts Centre at 03-7725 4858 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gostan Forward was also presented in Penang by Ombak Ombak ARTStudio, in conjunction with the 1st Anniversary George Town World Heritage Site Celebrations. The 2 performances took place on 25 July 2009 (Penang Heritage Trust, Church Street) and 26 July (Panggung Sasaran, Universiti Sains Malaysia).
Video by Juria Toramae, 10 May 2009.
Creative + Production Team
Performer: Marion D'Cruz
Director: Mark Teh
Visual Design: Grey Yeoh
Sound Coordinator: Hardesh Singh
Producer: Suhaila Merican
Assistant Producer: Myra Mahyuddin
Production Manager: Adrian Teh Eu-Weng
Graphic Design: Norman Teh
Penang Production Manager: Lee Siang Fong
Penang Production Team: Chen Yoke Pin, Ho Sheau Fung, Woo Yee Saik, Ang Ban Siang & Goh Hun Meng.
Notes on Gostan Forward
In 1982, a year after her return from New York, Marion D’Cruz conceived 'Solo', a one-woman performance that toured to Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Seremban, Johor Baru, Ipoh, Penang and Singapore. Billed as “an encounter with traditional Malay court dance and a discovery of new dance”, 'Solo' was an important attempt to expose audiences to contemporary dance. She, and her producers for the project, Chin San Sooi and Krishen Jit, would go on to form Five Arts Centre two years later.
In this early, prototype ‘performance lecture’, Marion introduced the history, demonstrated the physical vocabulary, and performed the traditional court dances of 'Terinai Mengadap' and 'Timang Burung'. This method of showing-telling-performing was then repeated for her own choreographies, showcasing the fusion of east and west, traditional and contemporary that was to mark her work of this period. Upon hindsight, 'Solo' was the first instance that Marion D’Cruz’s identities as a student, dancer, choreographer and educator were conflated onstage.
In Soraya Yusoff Talismail’s recent exhibition of black and white portraits of Malaysian artists, 'Imaging Selfs' (2008), three images of Marion were featured. One of these portraits - Marion in profile, holding a Balinese topeng tua above and away from herself - became widely circulated in publicity materials and reviews.
I believe this image became popularised precisely because it reaffirms the idea that Marion D’Cruz is a dancer and choreographer. Although 'Bunga Manggar Bunga Raya' (2007) marked her choreographic return after almost a decade, Marion the dancer has made even rarer appearances onstage. In reality, Marion continues to play a pivotal role as an educator – challenging students in numerous colleges and universities, as well as supporting and producing the work of many young artists. But yet, there is now at least one generation of audiences who have never seen Marion D’Cruz ‘dance’. Heh.
'Gostan Forward' is not a retrospective – it engages with only a small fraction of Marion’s 60-odd pieces of choreography. As the synopsis suggests, it is an excavation of memory, using some of her favourite and significant dances as starting points to gostan into and tell stories from Marion’s own history, dance history, Malaysian history.
Our rehearsal process has been marked by cycles of researching, remembering and forgetting, and we have discovered much about the fluidity of memory. Memory is selective – it embellishes, evades, fades, returns (often in a slightly different shape). Memory is of course highly personal, and in the case of a dancer and choreographer, it is deeply embodied, kinaesthetic.
My instinct is that Marion’s work and memory needs to be shared. To those of you who are familiar with her work, it is hoped that these stories will trigger memories of your own – an opportunity not just to watch, but to remember and rediscover collectively. For those encountering Marion for the first time, it is an invitation to imagine through the mind and body of a powerful, graceful and provocative performer. After all, what is memory but an act of imagination?
Some short thank yous: Many thanks to Marion for her trust and immense sense of adventure (and humour) in doing this project with me. It has been a true pleasure to journey together through the time and space of your work – a humbling and empowering process. My deepest gratitude to Grey for his keen sensitivity, insight and all-round cool as a visual designer and collaborator. Ribuan terima kasih to Suhaila, Myra, Adrian, Hardesh, Norman and Mac for their work, talent and flexibility. Thanks also to Anne James, Leow Puay Tin and Lim How Ngean for talking, thinking and dancing through Marion’s work with me. And to our sponsors and friends – thanks for your support. Mark Teh, May 6, 2009.
Press Preview Stories
"Looking back to move on" - Martin Vengadesan, Sunday Star, 3 May 2009.
"Getting inclusive about culture" - Subhadra Devan, New Sunday Times, 3 May 2009.
"Art imitating life" - Bissme S, The Sun, 7 May 2009.
"Marion Unplugged" - James Lochhead, New Sunday Times, 19 July 2009.
"Back and forth" - Simon Soon, ARTERI, 9 May 2009.
"Speaking only to us" - Bilqis Hijjas, KL Dance Watch, 14 May 2009.
"Gostan Forward - Marion D'Cruz" - Emmagem, 14 May 2009.
"The making of Marion" - Fred Lim, The Star, 18 May 2009.
"Marion dazzles" - Max Koh, New Sunday Times, 24 May 2009.
"Terima Kasih, Cikgu" - Fahmi Fadzil, KLue, 1 June 2009.
"Gostan Forward - Lecture Notes" - Choy Su Ling, Asia Dance Channel, June 2009.
"Everybody, start your autobiographies" - Sharaad Kuttan, The Malaysian Insider, 19 March 2010.