KickStart | CanAsian Dance Review by Gloria Elekwa

KNOW THE RULES, WIN THE GAME | Cloudsway Dance Theatre (Calgary) & THAT CHNK IN Y/OUR ARMOUR | Pam Tzeng (Calgary)

Exploring our Arts culture through a Pan-Asian Lens: A Review by Gloria Elekwa

Pam Tzeng’s That ch*nk in y/our armour, was electrifying, challenging and inspiring in form and delivery. She demonstrated how dance transcends barriers of language and culture in her exploration of the Asian woman’s experience. Tzeng provided a piece that tickled and made one’s skin crawl within a matter of minutes. With subtle movements and few props, Tzeng wove a story not intended to leave the audience comfortable in their seats, stimulating intense moments that were thought-provoking instead.

Mark Ikeda’s Know the rules, win the game incorporated theatre, spoken word, sound manipulation and dance to present a dynamic piece that was clear in meaning yet complex in creativity. Engaging one’s audience in a performance can be risky, but Ikeda broke down the glass wall in such a direct and challenging way that the viewers could not help but contribute to the overall piece, proving that the arts and community are indeed reliant in each other. His piece questions, explores and educates about the role of the arts in politics, using contemporary interpretations of Japanese history. The Taikomochi broke our society’s conflict with the art community and within his levity, challenged the audience to contribute to the survival of art in our society.

Both choreographers explored the use of silence and stillness in dance. The paradox of silent dancing or stillness in dance worked well for Tzeng especially as movement became music and told a story that song would have corrupted; when she later used music, it told a story of its own. The evidence of creative risk is present in her use of minimalist symbolism, but this risk paid off as the audience was left pondering each sequence to deconstruct the intended meaning.


Gloria Elekwa is a University of Calgary student. She brings to the table a dynamic perspective as a prospective scientist and avid dancer with Contemporary, Jazz and Hip-hop training.


Katherine Holm