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We all know the saying “a picture tells a thousand words.” If this is the case, the multidisciplinary artistic demonstration called Steer consisting of dance, sound, light and visual media must tell millions. The performance was a hauntingly beautiful story that portrayed the inner workings of a human mind in a technological age.
A Brilliant Trio
Before talking too much about the show itself, I would like to acknowledge the people that are behind the making of Steer - William Yong, Jérôme Delapierre, and Navid Navab - who each played an equally important part in it’s creation. William Yong, the solo dancer and choreographer of Steer, was trained at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, with additional training in the UK, Netherlands, and Canada. He was been a part of several dance companies, is currently the artistic director of Zata Omm Dance Projects, and does choreography for various theatre and dance performances. Jérôme Delapierre is a Montreal based visual artist and interactional designer who was behind the visual media throughout the show. He has received extensive education in the areas of computation arts, interactional design, contemporary arts and new media. He has collaborated with many artists and researchers, and his work has been shown worldwide at events and festivals. Navid Navab was responsible for the composition of the soundscapes and light that tied together each component of the piece. Navid uses everyday sounds as a basis for his music, which was perfect for a human-meets-technology themed performance. Each of the three brought a different artistic perspective to the show that ended up taking 5 whole years of collaboration before they came out with the finished product!
Combining Talents for Dance, Light & Soundscapes
It is difficult to recount my experience during the show, because just describing it does not do justice to the power and emotion that was cultivated throughout the intermissionless, hour-long, solo performance. I was incredibly amazed, moved, and in awe at the amount of talent, precision & inspiration to create this piece. To get an idea of what it was like, check out the video below.
Beautiful Shapes Moving Through Space
The modern choreography was very simple and incorporated locking, isolations, positions and movements showcasing the technique of the dancer. There was particular emphasis on creating unique shapes with the body as it moved through space. The choreography was such a great example of how important and powerful having solid technique is, and how beautiful and enjoyable dance can be, even without a ton of crazy tricks.
Electric Melodies Paired with Striking Choreography
Though the focus was on dance, the music, media and use of light are just as noteworthy. The music was not made up of instruments with a singer and a beat, but rather a collection of sounds. The musical composition was futuristic and very matrix-esque, which fit perfectly with the industrial yet pedestrian theme of the performance. The electric melodies paired with the striking choreography gave the illusion that the sounds were actually a result of Yong’s movements, as if he had electricity flowing though his body. Delapierre’s scenographic media consisted of patterns, shapes, and stark movement that did not just create a backdrop for the production, but made it come to life. It was impeccably tied in with the sound and the dance, only further adding to the experience of being inside the mechanics of someone’s technologically influenced body and mind. The light was used strategically as a medium to paint the pedestrian, humanly motion. The way it was reflected off the full-body leather unitard that Yong wore allowed the light to highlight the shapes he made with his body.
All in all, idea to fuse of so many artistic mediums was cutting edge and truly wonderful. I am privileged to have had the chance to have witnessed such beauty move before my eyes while watching Steer. Thank you to all those involved in its production!
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