by June Cheong
The Straits Times, Singapore
March 06, 2007
If Hong Kong funnyman Stephen Chow were a dancer, he might have been like this compatriot Dick Wong.
The creator of B.O.B.* - The Final Cut, Wong had his audience in stitches throughout the evening.
The one-hour performance was a prescient commentary on the intangible quality of dance and the near-impossibility of translating bodily expression into verbal language. To make his message more palatable, the performance was peppered with slapstick gags and gentle humour.
In the first half, Wong, Hong Kong dancer Yuri Ng and singapore choreographer and dancer Ricky Sim appear onstage, arranging themselves in a line with Ng between Sim and Wong. Wong then strikes a pose, jutting his limbs out in an awkward position. Ng describes it to Sim, Who tries to re-create Wong's pose.
His rendition is so off the mark that the audience burst into laughter. After every few poses, the trio switch places. Every dancer falls to mimic the original pose, as the language of the body is lost when rendered in speech.
The second half was just as spot-on in its perspectives on dance. Singapore-based theatre performer Paul Rae plays a dance schoolmaster, with Wong as a dance student. To test Wong, Rae has him stike poses to convey emotions like happiness and sadness. Next he asks Wong to string the poses into a dance, and then to repeat the sequence but in the style of feminine and masculine Chinese dance. The message: Dance is movement in context.
The steps may have been the same but every interpretation was a fresh take. Perphaps with this witty performance, Wong wanted to silence all naysayers of dance who decry it as in impenetrable art form.
In his view, one dances every day, albeit off the stage and minus a spotlight.