eVolVe, presented by our very own VJ Dance, was held on the 6th and 7th of May at the school’s performance theatre. The concert was the club’s biennial event, and it is the only performing art in the school whose concert spanned across 2 days.
The theme of this year’s concert — eVolVe || Vitae Valorum — showed how even though evolution is inevitable for the dancers to develop, grow, and strive for a breakthrough, there are values in life, ‘Vitae Valorum’, that they held dear to their hearts. The 15 dances showcased in the concert are artistically centered around the 3 core values of courage, passion and unity.
The 77 dancers kick-started the concert off with an extremely high level of enthusiasm, filling up both the stage and the aisles of the performance theatre, sending the crowd into a frenzy as the audience cheered for their friends. Following the opening act, the dancers went on to perform the first 5 items that emphasized the courage needed to take a leap of faith.
Coraggio (‘courage’ in Italian) was the first performance of the night. Clad in an alluring combination of purple and gold warrior costumes, the dancers’ created a powerful presence on stage with their bold dance moves. Although there was a split second instance when the music stopped suddenly, the dancers recovered quickly and continued with the brilliant opening choreography.
“With courage and strength, we can overcome challenges and difficulties”
The next performance, Humans, portrayed how everyone has their own insecurities due to the lack of courage. Insecurities are unavoidable — after all, it is something innate in the human psyche. It was interesting as contrasted to the first performance where it emphasised on being brave and courageous, this performance seemed to be focused on the complete opposite instead. The performance started off with a video showing the different insecurities each performer had. There were moments when the performers portrayed some sense of lifelessness, which was pretty apt considering our insecurities make us feel inferior which affects the way we view ourselves. Dancing accordingly to the impactful dynamics of Christina Perri’s Human, this particular performance was definitely one of the most thought-provoking ones of the night.
“In our livid shadows lie our insecurities, tracing our every movement — intangible yet always haunting our periphery. It is a human compulsion that sprouts inferiority in its idealistic roots. How fitting, this inadequate courage we have, for aren’t we all, merely humans?”
The Struggle was the next item on the set list. The way this performance was showcased right after Humans was pretty suitable as this performance wanted to portray how beneath all the insecurities we have, there still lies some courage buried deep within us which we can summon up. The choreography was interesting as well, with some parts having the dancers in sync, while some parts the dance moves seemed chaotic — but in a way that there seemed to be ‘order in chaos’.
“Veiled beneath all the insecurities and pain, there lies the courage that is buried deep within every soul”
The audience went wild when the teachers’ item was announced — needless to say, students were extremely excited to watch their teachers perform on stage, and cheered relentlessly for the teachers all through their item. It must have taken the teachers hours of practice and a great deal of courage to perform in front of such a large crowd of students and teachers alike (which was particularly fitting of the theme). Perhaps what was most memorable for the audience was seeing Mrs Ting, the overall teacher in-charge of VJ Dance, do a full split to end the teachers performance.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Embrace the courage to step out.”
Flight was likely the most captivating performance of the 5 items centered about the value of ‘courage’. The item started off with like a motif which resembled a flower, before the dancers broke away from the formation and amazed the crowd with a particular dangerous stunt. This stunt required several male dancers to repeatedly lift up and drop a female dancer, to represent not only the intense effort required for a person to spread their wings and take flight, but also the unceasing support one is bound to receive in every step of the way in his or her journey.
“The miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that as long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”
The next 5 items of the dance concert illustrate the second core value, the passion required to fuel the growth of the dancers. The first dance item of this line-up was The Search, a performance put up by the J1 dancers. This was one of the few items choreographed by the dancers themselves, and hence there was much anticipation from the crowd.The J1 dancers may have only met each other around 2 months back, but they nevertheless danced well in sync and pulled off an impressive performance.
“In search for life’s true purpose, sometimes it means going against all odds — be it expectations of comfort — and start doing what you’re truly passionate about.
Next up was I train I dance — a breakdance item consisting of intricate footwork as well as catchy music. In fact, the highlight of this performance was the freestyle choreography section that would close the performance, where several different dancers pulled off stunts of varying levels of difficulty. One specific stunt caused the audience to raise the roof — one dancer was held by the ankles and twirled around in circles by another, with other dancers jumping over him as though it was a game of skip-rope. It was indeed a heart-stopping stunt with very high risk of failure, but its perfect execution sent the crowd into overdrive, spurring them to cheer even louder than before.
“When we enjoy the things that we work hard for, the pain becomes more than worth it.”
Leaving it all on the stage was a ballet piece that was a very soothing and gentle in contrast with the upbeat modern contemporary dance that dominated the concert. The female dancers, donning their blue leotards, left the audience in a trance with their twirls and pointes.
“We strive so hard to perfect the things that we do, but at the end of the day, is this what truly fulfills us?”
The next dance, Passion Ignite, was a Latin dance that was also starkly contrasted with the rest of the dances. The dancers, for a change, had to wear heels and dance shoes while performing on stage. It was, to say the least, a unique experience to see the dancers wearing swishy Latin skirts and suspenders, as well as watching the male dancers boldly releasing their hold on their female partners and quite literally dropping them into their final positions.
“We need to let go of our inhibitions and let our passion shine through in our dance. See, feel and discover the passion. It’s Party time!”
The last item for passion, Funktastico, was one that sent the crowd laughing as the dancers came onto stage with their red, white and black costumes, but were not disappointed in the least. The crowd was especially rowdy in one section of the dance, when Raziq from 16S31 was the only male dancer surrounded by a group of other female dancers. The teasing cries from the crowd dominated the performance theatre for a brief period of this section, until the formation broke off and the dance ended, with the dancers poised in their finishing positions.
“Driven by passion, the spirit of fun and engagement is ignited in all that we do.”
The audience was considerably more hyped for the last 5 items of the dance concert, which featured dances representative of the Unity that the dancers have achieved through the struggles and sacrifices made in their individual journeys. The first item, We’re Still Family, was a jarring dance that addressed the emotional distress divorce left on the child. Three main roles were taken on in this dance — the role of the father, mother, and child. This dance was especially impactful because of the message the dancers danced to at the start of the item. A young child was telling his parents that his feeling mattered as much as theirs did, and that by arguing to be right, he would learn to be like his parents in the future — indifferent to love, and impossible to agree with. However, the final pose ended with a child in the embrace of her parents, leaving behind the message that despite the difficulties of a divorce, a family can still make the effort to unite.
“Divorce is never easy for any family, but it does not have to destroy the children’s lives or lead to family breakdown. What’s key is: reliability, consistency, and a genuine interest in each other’s lives.”
Serenity — a ballroom dance, provided a very classical contrast to the series of contemporary sequences lined up in the concert. Although the choreography was comparatively more simplistic to the previous performances, the dancers nonetheless impressed the audience with their graceful movements.
“Unity occurs when all the elements of an art piece combine to make a balanced, harmonious, complete whole. It brings about the state of calmness and a sense of peace.”
Despite Differences was choreographed by our very own J2 dancers, with the intent of presenting the differences in individuality within the student body — the nerds, the mean girls, the cool kids, and the rebels — but also showing how the entire student body exists as one in unity. It was a very exciting choreography, in which the different ‘factions’ originally isolated themselves away from each other, but then merged to create one united student body. The most memorable moment of the performance was definitely the ending — when a student ‘representative’ of each faction was lifted up and supported by all performers of the other factions, further emphasising the strength and unity of a student population when everyone is willing to work together. The concept of ‘unity in diversity’ was well-displayed, and was certainly well-received by the audience.
“Presenting the student body — the nerds, mean girls, cool kids, and the rebels. Observe individuals grow from simply embracing their own individuality to one where they realise that despite differences, unity is strength.”
The concert ended of with Homecoming and the Finale item itself — a performance put up by 27 of the VJ dance alumni. Although these dancers have left the CCA and have pursued different paths after graduation, it was heartwarming for the audience and our dancers alike to see them reunite and reignite their passion for dance. In fact, their item was so fluid that it can be said, without a doubt, that the alumni put in all their effort to present to the audience a perfect performance. Grooving along to recents hits such as Roses by The Chainsmokers, their item certainly left a deep impression on the audience. Perhaps what was most memorable was when all the dancers of the ’15–’16 and ’16–’17 batch came on stage and danced along with the alumni.
“A celebration of the spirit of VJDance. While the alumni might have graduated and have continued on their many different paths in life, they have not forgotten their alma mater. Now, they are back on the stage where many of their dance journeys began.”
Last but not least, videos featuring previous performances put up by the J2, and clips of their rehearsals were screened. The videos encapsulate the journey of the the J2 dancers and document their progress and growth throughout their dance journey. As this will be the last performance for the J2s, they were very sentimental and emotional by the end of the 2nd concert.
Undoubtedly, putting up such a stellar performance was the result of a lot of hard work. In fact, choreography and planning of the items for the concert started as early as last December. Additionally, trainings and practices for the dancers had increased from 3 times a week to almost every day of the week in order to be well-prepared for the concert.
However, prepping for the concert was not a smooth sailing journey. “It was hard to accommodate to everyone’s schedule as we very often need full attendance to conduct the trainings,” said the dance EXCO members. “In dance, all members are crucial to every formation, and only when everyone is present will we be able to block and clean the steps.”
The Exco also brought up how there were many rounds of vetting for the different concert items. This was to ensure that the items fulfilled the theme and were up to standard. “With each round of vetting there were many changes to the choreographies, and the whole cycle of re-teaching and re-cleaning goes on. There were times that we really felt like giving up. However, for all we’ve been through and what we’ve achieved, our hearts are full.”
Although practices were often very intense and tiring for the dancers, their hours and weeks of hard work definitely paid off. VJ Dance also owed the success of the concert to Studio V and the PA crew — who worked tirelessly in helping out with the filming of the videos as well as the control of the sound and light effects respectively, both of which were integral to the performances.
Besides just merely enjoying the concert, the club also expressed hope that audience members would be able to take away the values of courage, passion and unity by finding meaning in the dance pieces they have put out. They are optimistic that the concert will spur others to reflect and incorporate these values into their personal endeavours.
To conclude, eVolVe has indeed allowed the audience on both days to glean an insight as to how the dancers have developed as individuals and CCA as a whole. The well-executed performances put together by the dancers have evidently proved that the dancers gave in their all and performed full out for this concert — or rather, in short, had reaffirmed the CCA’s affectionately coined catchphrase, “all in full out”.
Good job VJD, and we look forward to your other performances in the near future!
Evolution is inevitable, even a necessity for VJ dancers.
In the process of striving for a breakthrough, the values of life ‘Vitae Valorum’,
shine through each and every one of us.
The Courage needed to take the leap of faith;
the Passion required to fuel that growth;
The Unity that we have achieved through the struggles and sacrifices;
These core values represent us in our metamorphosis.
eVolVe plans to showcase this journey to you tonight.
Claire Chan, 16A12
Louise Lee, 15S46