Share on:

How a dance performance can be tailored to tell your story

White Noise Creations director Karen Lacey shares about choreographing for everything from Mercedes, to a shipping company's D&D.

At a Swiss watch company’s launch of its Rainflower timepiece inspired by the Art Science Museum, choreographer Karen Lacey referenced the lotus by placing dancers in water. They would progressively blossom to become beautiful fully-grown lotuses. And, at a Mercedes event spotlighting an off-road vehicle, she had two hanging performers running on projected images of mountainous terrain on the wall. The idea, says Lacey, is to emphasise that this is an off-road car that you should go on exciting road trips in. “Everyone was watching the wall runners – it made for an exciting performance”.

Creating pizzazz around a brand message is the forte of this 40-year-old creative director of White Noise Creations. In the eight years since she set up the corporate events company, she has worked with well-known names such as Chanel, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Dom Perignon and Nike.

Behind her concepts is a lifetime of dance experience. Lacey started dance at the age of four in the UK and fell quickly in love with it, moving from “theatre dances” such as ballet, jazz and tap to ballroom and Latin dance just two years later. She continued with other genres – such as hip hop – sparing no effort to widen her movement vocabulary. By 18, she was touring Europe and performing with a cabaret group.

Says Lacey of what it means to perform: “There are very few jobs that force you to deliver 100 per cent every single time.” You never know who will be in the room – or watching on social media.

(Related: Singapore Dance Theatre: Meet the tireless advocates shaping Singapore’s professional dance scene)

She initially set up White Noise Creations in Singapore to work within the arts community as a choreographer, teacher and dancer, but requests for other forms of entertainment such as music, DJ, circus and integrated acts soon poured in.

Says Lacey: “Within a year, it grew into producing all kinds of entertainment – which for me was very exciting. Every year is different. We go from doing car launches to jewellery and skincare launches, D&Ds for a shipping company, team-building with a bank – it’s really diverse.”

But behind every piece lies hours of sweat, tears and commitment. For one, Lacey admits she’s a hard taskmaster because of her background. “There’s so much competition in the UK, especially in London, because it’s saturated with talent. So you can’t afford for your show to not be perfect. I’m a real whip-cracker when it comes to rehearsals.

“The difference between a professional show and an amateur show is that what goes on stage has to be great. You can’t have someone catch, on social media, the dancer forgetting what he or she is doing. There’s no room for error that way.”

(Related: How Laura Hwang brought dance closer to the people of Singapore)