Lee Su-Feh is Artistic Director of battery opera. How this happened involved: Childrens’ Theatre with Janet Pillai, traditional Malay and contemporary dance with Marion D’Cruz in Malaysia, contemporary dance with Lari Leong in Paris, contact improvisation with Peter BIngham in Vancouver; and many years of Chinese martial arts with infuriatingly exacting teachers. Before coming to Vancouver in 1988, she lived in Paris, London, Indonesia and Malaysia. She speaks 6 languages badly. In 1998, she won the Prix de Jeune Auteur of the Rencontres Choregraphiques Internationales de Seine-St. Denis for her work Gecko Eats Fly. In theatre, Su-Feh has worked as a choreographer with directors such as Marc Diamond, Donna Spencer and most recently DD Kugler and Steven Hill. She has been nominated twice for a Jessie Award. In 2012, her solo work The Whole Beast won the BOH Cameronian Award for Outstanding Choreography in Malaysia. In 2013 and 2014, she was awarded the Isadora Award and the Lola Award respectively, by the Dance Centre in Vancouver, in recognition of her contribution to the dance milieu through her work as choreographer, dancer, teacher, dramaturge and all-around shit disturber.
In 1995, she co-founded battery opera with David McIntosh with whom she has been collaborating ever since she saw him lying, bleeding, in Kota Baru in 1985.
Contemporary dance practice, for me, is a constant negotiation between function and representation. While dance has its roots in our primal, animist past – think of the shaman dancing to bring rain – most dance performance these days is subservient to the structures and hierarchies that determine the spaces in which it is performed. To me, this space, whether the theatre or the screen, is an extension of the royal courts that have taken dance from its ritual-based functions and turned it into entertainment for the economically and politically privileged. In this shift, the dancing body is turned from an agent of change to a mere symbol – hero, heroine – for the gratification of the king/ticket holder/consumer. In this shift from shaman to pretend-hero, the dancer gives up real power for figurative power. I seek dance that is action, not representation. I am interested in the dancer as activist, not object.
For thoughts by Su-Feh on Sacrifice go to Transmissions - Rumble
For Su-Feh's pithy comments on why she loves and hates dance, go here.
Follow Su-Feh on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sufeh