A journey for the senses: This was essentially what Wonderment was about. Taking place on the 16-17th August, and as part of the inaugural Sands For Singapore Festival, it can be said to be Singapore’s first locally produced urban dance production. Sharing the same stage as other world-class performances such as The Lion King and Wicked, Wonderment had big shoes to fill. But fill them it did, and even more.
Wonderment is about a man’s journey of self-rediscovery. With a strong lead in Amin Alifan, supported by a cast of over 80 dancers, it was an amalgamation of hip-hop contemporary, jazz, and even some ballroom thrown in for good measure. Essentially, this was a showcase of how far urban dance has come in Singapore. The level of technical skill and choreography shown was superb, and this is already ignoring the fact that most of the cast are non-professionals. Smoothly executed, the scenes flowed into one another, with the choreography concepts seamlessly blending into one endless story.
The show started out pretty slow. However after our lead jumped down the figurative rabbit hole, the pace soon picked up speed. From then on, the audience is immediately transported into a landscape very reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. With jesters, clowns, and magicians, it was a jarring awakening from the broodish mood of the first scene. There was no time for a breather: Riots of colour assaulted the senses, and the acts simply built up on each other’s energy so much so that the audience soon found themselves gasping of air. The dancers never seemed to tire, and even after going non-stop for most of the scene, they only seemed to become more energetic.
Credit must be given not only to the dancers, but the people behind the scenes. As anyone in a theatrical production will tell you, lighting can make or break a set. Lasers, spotlights, and projections all come together to make the experience even more surreal. Heck, even the Despicable Me minions were present to lend a touch of humor and animation.
Even though the show is supposed to be a dance production, the co-lead, played by the amazingly talented Miguel Antonio, easily stole the show with his flawless vocals. With his rendition of Reflection from the Disney show Mulan, as well as other originals from the show, this 12-year-old easily mesmerized the audience with his voice like an angel. It was no surprise that everyone in that hall were captivated whenever he came on stage. Expect much more from this lady-killer in the future.
All in all, the 90 minutes production was exactly what it promised: a Journey. A Journey through lands that one had forgotten as one grew up. Even though the show had the cliche ending of the man re-discovering his inner child, we all know that it was never about the story. This was simply an experience in which the audience found themselves immersed in, and at no point of time did anyone feel that they were simply watching a show. Definitely looking forward to any such future production.
Photo Credits: Jessica Lim and Dteng Photos