Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Letter for Local Arts by Anthony Meh 01

A letter of sensibility after developing local dance art for 16 years
Written by choreographer, Anthony Meh
Prior to the fund-raising performance of <Ancient Inscriptions>

A 16-year waiting, for a possibility and a break-through…

When I gave up the better opportunity in New York and returned to Malaysia 16 years ago, I chose to bring home the dance profession. That was the time when art was not so popular but I naively dreamed of nourishing this scarce land (which almost like a cement floor) with dance art. I never thought of breaking the floor and making holes on this cement floor, but to layer a thin soil so we can plant flowers and trees on it, starting from the tiniest area but spreading to greater ones. However, all things are difficult before they are easy. I was cracking my head over where to find my ‘bulldozer’ and ‘slusher’ to help me carrying the soil? My dance company partner, Aman Yap, and I started training dancers by hoping that ‘they’ can fertile the land one day.

We formed the first full-time contemporary dance company in year 2003 after a 5-year intensive dance training since 1998. That was when the ‘bulldozers’ and ‘slushers’ were in place.

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Along these 16 years, I brought these ‘bulldozers’ and ‘slushers’ (namely ‘the dancers’) to organise dance workshops, dance camps, art seminars and performances throughout Malaysia, promoting dance art nationwide. To achieve such purpose, I tried to produce dance performances which appeal the favour of all audiences and elevate the artistic values of these understandable-by-common-people stage performances. On the other hand, I also worked towards producing artistically refined pieces for international festivals. A local dance company for all! That’s how I established Dua Space with my 16-year effort, expanding local art scene and to promote our art to the world.

16 years brought Dua Space and I to where we are now, and we are planning go further.

I believe I can create more possibilities, and Dua Space can open up more opportunities for local art scene.

While leading the company along all these years, financial matter is always our biggest challenge. I have been working hard and constantly overtime to keep the company survive while developing arts locally. To sustain a dance company includes costing of paying the staffs and dancers’ salaries, purchasing costumes, props and others, paying rental for studios, offices and storerooms, and even creating dance and making performance productions need money. I never dare to look back how we managed these 16 years but strive harder. And now, I think it should be the time to make a change, where the company and I should be able to take a breath with our accumulated experiences and approaches into next leap of faith for future.

This is the first-ever development fund-raising performance of our company. I am still hoping for a better environment for dance art as every soul living here, the coming generations and the world will definitely have more depth with excellent arts. We will dance for the world, and we sincerely hope you are here with us!

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