Boxers in boxes, a different kind of Shaolin show


Acclaimed Flemish/Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui brought the house down at the 2013 George Town Festival with Sutra, a dance performance inspired by the spirituality of Buddhist Shaolin monks.

The curtain swept aside to reveal a stark stage setting of 21 wooden boxes designed by Turner Prize-winning artist Antony Gormley, as the audience at Dewan Sri Pinang settled into an apprehensive hush. The haunting live score by Polish composer Szymon Brzóska stirred to life as piano, percussion and strings melded together, setting the scene for a performance that would turn out to be one of the George Town Festival’s highlights.

Over the next 70 minutes, 19 Shaolin monks leapt, tumbled and clambered about in effortless grace among, in and between the wooden boxes in a display of raw movement and posture.

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