DANCE DANCE ASIA – Bangkok, Thailand (2015/03)
90’s / We learned and gained so much from this experience, and the whole team grew!
The 90’s are a tornado of young talent, each of its youthful members leaving his or her mark in numerous dance battles and contests. After their performance in Bangkok, we spoke to two members about what they brought home from the experience and where they want to go from here.
What was the audience reaction in Bangkok like, compared to your previous tour of Hanoi, Vietnam?
Ruu : I guess the audience reacted to different parts of the show. The applause at the end was bigger in Thailand, I think. In Vietnam they got enthusiastic during certain sections, but in Thailand I was thrilled because they cheered each time we launched into a new scene.
TAISUKE : Before we went to Thailand I heard a lot of things that made me kind of anxious, like, that Thai people were similar to Japanese––shy, and also impatient, and so on. But when we went on, they were really into it, and that was a pleasant surprise.
How was the workshop?
Ruu : All the participants seemed really happy to be doing it, which made it a breeze. I got a strong sense that they were concentrating their hardest on absorbing everything, and that made me get more amped up too. We had a great lesson, I think.
What was your experience of Bangkok, as a city, like?
TAISUKE : The whole idea of this project is cultural exchange, so during the off hours, we got out into the city. Before we left, people warned me that I might not like the taste of cilantro, which is in so much Thai food, but when I tried it I liked it, and all the food was fantastic in fact.
You guys usually take part in dance battles and contests, but this time you were performing a dramatic piece on stage that involved acting and so forth. Was that an interesting challenge?
TAISUKE : Well, to be honest I felt like we didn’t have enough experience working together as a team. Ruu is the only one who does a lot of choreographing, and the rest of us are battlers. Watching the other two groups, TOKYO GEGEGAY and UMEBOU, I felt like they were especially geared toward entertaining audiences. At the same time, we have a lot of confidence in our skills, so I think the main thing is where we’re going to take it from here.
The other two groups are highly experienced in a variety of ways, and really versatile in terms of what they can do. We don’t have that kind of experience, and in putting together a performance like this one we were starting from square one, but all of us have absorbed a lot of great performances up close since we started dancing, and I believe we have the potential to do really great things.
All of us 90’s members have to be on the same page in recognizing that an on-stage performance is different from a battle. In Bangkok, I thought that it was important that each one of us understand that it isn’t just a show, it’s a work of performing art. We didn’t have much chance to discuss our future directions, but we did have opportunities to talk about a lot of things, and that was good for us.
After this experience, we are more able to verbalize how we want to present ourselves to audiences, in a different way than we usually do in battles. This has been a fantastic experience.
Ruu : Personally, I love dance shows and performances. Watching both UMEBOU and TOKYO GEGEGAY, I really got the picture of pros in action, people who are accustomed to putting these things together. With the lighting, the use of intervals, and so on, it was really exciting to watch both of the other groups.
Fill us in on where the 90’s is going from here!
TAISUKE : I don’t think acting is something we’re necessarily crazy about, but I do think a certain degree of acting is necessary for us. In Bangkok, KATSUYA and youki did a great job with the acting side. It’s an area they were resistant to at first, but the more you do, the more you get used to it. With members like that in our group, I think we’re making steady progress. It’s a big step forward for the group.
Ruu : I think that if we can keep our sights on the balance between areas we never compromise on and other areas where we try new things, we will be able to take on all sorts of new challenges.
Under normal circumstances our schedules never seem to sync up, but during this tour we had to be together for an entire week, like it or not. This was great for us because it gave us the chance to talk enthusiastically every day about how we’d like to perform in the future.
When it comes to on-stage performances, we just started doing them in August 2014, and there is still a lot we don’t know and need to work on. What we do already have, though, are unique skills and each individual dancer’s way of showing them off. I felt that I want to study more about stage performances. Watching the other dance groups was a terrific learning experience for me, and I’m sure if we have another opportunity like this, we’ll be able to show audiences something even better.
Posted – 2016.08.26
This post is also available in: Japanese