“I don’t understand it.”
This is the most common reaction to dance, especially contemporary dance. Dance is a nonverbal form of expression, but people often feel the need to ascribe verbal explanations to it, and then find that they can’t.
I often ‘don’t understand’ dance, in the sense that I can’t explain why a choreographer or director chooses certain elements over others. But I have been watching and enjoying many different types of dance for several years, and I enjoy the challenge of trying to describe what I like and why. For me, dance demands appreciation, more than ‘understanding’. This blog is an attempt to describe my experiences of being an audience member, and I hope other audience members will find it useful to help them focus their own thoughts and interpretations.
I’ve also included my other writings on dance that are not strictly reviews: interviews, academic articles, speeches, and presentations, about local and international dance topics.
Since I started these writings in 2008, I have become a teacher of dance criticism, and one of the only dance critics in the Klang Valley who writes regularly. Even so, what is written here is just my opinion, not the judgment of an absolute authority. My reviews are not comprehensive — there are many good dance events in KL which I do not attend, and there are many aspects of particular performances which I do not mention, though they are worthy of discussion. Dance practitioners in Malaysia are doing an admirable job in a difficult environment, and I do not intend my comments to be derogative. I hope that dance practitioners will be heartened by the fact that someone is thinking and writing about their work.
I look forward to hearing their, and your, responses.