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Singapore: Moving with the Times

Multi-faceted and rich in potential, Singapore’s contemporary dance culture is steeped in a global and contemporary sensibility.

Tanzmesse 2016

Tanzmesse 2016

Singapore: Moving with the Times

Cosmopolitan, open, and ever-transforming, Singapore is a multi-cultural hotspot in Southeast Asia. Its dynamic contemporary dance scene springs from its startling hybridity including Chinese, Malay, Indian traditions and Western influences.

Credit: Law Kian Yan

The artistic pulse of Singapore - a young nation that recently turned 51 - lies in her search for identity. Dance-makers seek to define an ‘authentic’ voice while contemplating vernacular issues in a fast-paced city. Choreography becomes the art of invoking personal storytelling and reflections on local histories and global stories. Playful yet questioning, our artists eagerly explore articulating their sense of self in relation to the changing world. They test the borders between disciplines, speaking boldly across new media, plastic arts and spoken theatre. As well-heeled travellers, they return with viewpoints that enrich the dance language on home ground. With expanding audience outreach and strong funding support, Singapore’s contemporary dance scene is in upswing. Festivals dedicated to dance are an annual staple in our arts calendar, while new spaces continue to emerge for artists to explore and create.

Credit: Bernie Ng, courtesy of M1 CONTACT Contemporary Dance Festival 2014 Credit: Tan Ngiap Heng

Come discover Singapore’s striking dance scene; catch our groundbreaking artists and make conversations today for future collaborations and joint adventures!


Singapore: Moving with the Times

Tanzmesse 2016

Credit: Bernie Ng

Tracing the First Wave

The New Wave

choreographers are conceptually-oriented and

contemporary dance in Singapore: there is now a

Recent years have seen a major directional shift in

critically-layered, as they engage with gender,

second wave in the independent dance movement.

tradition and change via edgy methodologies. They

New independents have emerged from their

stereotypes, pop culture, and the tensions between slip fluidly between performance art, dance, theatre

experiences within company structures and are

and sport.

now seeking to assert their personal choreographic

Their artistic careers have evolved internationally

multimedia, their language - in contrast to the

they are as well-known in Berlin, as in Singapore.

dance vocabulary and harnesses virtuosity as a vital

experiences as Singaporeans, their insertion within

context and content rich with vernacular themes

voice. While also incorporating theatricality and

outside the structures of a dance company and

first-wave independents - revitalises contemporary

While their work thematically draws on embodied

expressive element. They refer to a locally-rooted

a European context, combined with the freedom

and issues.

ethos of their choreographic process and creation.

Mostly below mid-30s, the independents continue

The first wave of independents, such as Choy Ka

articulate their social observations and critique,

and media arts and bring their plastic perspectives

casting a wry eye at society through different optics

from archival research to social media and pop

significance of place and heritage extends through

Joavien Ng engage with minority issues such as

employ film and site-specific practices, often with

social roles and behavior, pulling in a sociopolitical

personal identity, in a fast-changing society. Notions

content that is expressive of wider body and

the works of Jereh Leong, in a need to assert the

to embrace a progressive milieu, has impacted the

Singapore: Moving with the Times

Dance Nucleus

choreographic approach by director Kuik Swee

number of independents by supporting the latest

base. It continues to lay the ground for excellence

director, Foo Yun Ying, also an independent

group in the scene, emphasizes performative and

choreographic platform HATCH. Open to local and

spectator boundary, such as the production of

to exert interdisciplinary methods and attitudes to

Fai and Daniel Kok, are formally educated in visual

with artists Lee Mun Wai and Christina Chan

into their creations, elaborating on their interest

of performance art and empathetic realism. The

culture dance genres. Artists like Ming Poon and

the works of Elysa Wendi and Zhuo Zihao as they

people living with HIV to female perspectives on

satirical humour, to address public memory and

function to contemporary choreography, with

of power, self and intimacy are similarly explored in

political agendas.

value of individual subjectivity and agency.


Singapore has responded to this surge in the

Boon and an appealing repertoire with a growing fan

choreographic space: Dance Nucleus. Its artistic

and creativity. Ricky Sim’s RAW Moves, the newest

choreographer, has set up the artist-in-residence

research-based practice that questions the dancer-

international applicants, the platform promotes

FREE, which reflects 70’s post-modernism.

studio-showing at the end of the residency.

Finding Balance

Company Directions

in Singapore’s dance scene show an increasing

choreographic research and creation process with a

Moving With the Times

Singapore’s first wave of independent artist-

Tanzmesse 2016

Eclectic rather than fragmented, current directions

Established companies like The Arts Fission

willingness to make performative work that is

and Frontier Danceland (FDL) have carved their

Asian narratives, memories and traditions and a

Liong is known for her site-specific works with

exchange and empathy between artists. Like all

spaces. ODT artistic director Danny Tan draws on

and finding the balance between aesthetic integrity,

Company (TAFC), Odyssey Dance Theatre (ODT)

carefully researched; a continual exploration of

own distinctive niche. TAFC artistic director Angela

borderless context that revolves around cultural

an Asian sensibility that aims to invigorate public

contemporary arts, the challenge is sustainability

his Chinese traditional dance roots to create work

personal creativity and audience engagement.

and forges regional camaraderie through cultural

exchange. Similarly, FDL artistic director Low Mei Yoke has built a repertoire from distinguished

visiting artists, enabling choreographic honing within the company.

Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT) and urban street

Credit: Tan Ngiap Heng


dance company O School stand at opposite ends of the dance genre spectrum, taking urban dance to the masses in high-octane shows and ‘dance battles’ that strike an immediate resonance with

the youth community. SDT’s versatility lies in a wide range of classical, neo-classic and contemporary repertoire by visiting choreographers like

Natalie Weir, Val Caniparoli, Edwaard Liang

and Nils Christe. In its eighth year, T.H.E Dance Company boasts quality dancers, disciplined

By Dr Stephanie Burridge

Adjunct Lecturer LASALLE College of the Arts and Singapore Management University (SMU) World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific Research and Documentation Network Co-Chair

Singapore: Moving with the Times

Tanzmesse 2016

COLLABORATIVE CHEMISTRY From Hong Kong, to Australia and Berlin, you’ll find our artists engaged in enriching dialogues and dynamic cultural exchanges with artists around the globe. We catch a glimpse of the collaborations happening on the ground.



CINEMOVEMENT by independent Elysa Wendi and film producer Jeremy Chua offers a window into the burgeoning dance film scene in Asia. The Singapore-based initiative promotes and facilitates new dance film creations; it has since organised dance film labs in Hanoi and Hong Kong featuring screenings of short works and artist sharing sessions. CINEMOVEMENT is currently working with four dance and film artists from Singapore on an omnibus feature film slated for release in 2017.

Sounding Body features a dynamic collaboration between dance company RAW Moves, composer Joyce Beetuan Koh, and instrumentsystem designer Felix Leuschner. Akin to reinterpreting music through the body, the dancers developed a unique set of movements informed by the finger techniques of playing the guqin, a Chinese musical instrument. “Our dancers were challenged to move with their ears. This process has strengthened our musicality and sensitivity to the many layers of a musical score,” says artistic director of RAW Moves, Ricky Sim.

Tanzmesse 2016

Singapore: Moving with the Times


FRANCE Independent dancer Christina Chan views collaborations as the starting point of creation. Since 2015, she has found a kindred spirit in French independent dancer and choreographer, Aymeric Bichon. Together, they’ve created several works including Midlight, Flux of Time, Stroboscope and Life On. Chan and Bichon are currently embarking on their next projects: a new work for the 2016 edition of Singapore Dance Theatre’s Passages Contemporary Season and a full-length duet inspired by Alice in Wonderland featuring a short film by videographer Tan Ngiap Heng.




Known for its site-specific performances in Singapore, The Arts Fission Company now looks further afield. It’s currently developing a site-sensitive work, Fire Monkey, to be performed at the Arts Centre Melbourne come end 2016. Fire Monkey references cross-cultural fire myths, and brings together choreographers, dancers, designers, musicians and installation artists from both countries. “Part of the fire art installations will involve community members from Singapore and Melbourne, thus reinforcing cross-cultural understanding through the process of art making,” says artistic director of Arts Fission, Angela Liong.

“I am interested in Butoh as a form of attitude, rebellion and questioning of situations that condition our present realities,” says independent dance artist Choy Ka Fai. His upcoming work, Unbearable Darkness, investigates the future of Butoh inside and outside of Japan. This documentary project researches the possible narratives beyond the 60 years of international cult mystification. Collaborating with Butoh artists from Europe and Japan, Unbearable Darkness will premiere in 2018.

Channeling his interest in politically-themed works, independent artist Lee Mun Wai’s latest project, Singlish, features a collaboration with Australian flamenco dancer, Annalouise Paul. “The project discusses the politics of language and how this creates our cultural, national, societal as well as personal boundaries,” says Lee. Along with two other performers with a theatre and classical Indian dance background, Singlish looks to navigate the fluidity of language in a performance combining physical movement, text and spoken word.


Singapore: Moving with the Times

Tanzmesse 2016

SINGAPORE’S DANCE COMPANIES: ONES TO WATCH Our picks of some of the most daring, thought-provoking dance companies that are shaping the next wave of contemporary dance in Singapore.

Tanzmesse 2016

Singapore: Moving with the Times

T.H.E DANCE COMPANY For digging deep into human expression Artistic Director: Kuik Swee Boon “I am fascinated by the intricacies of the human condition and the environment and time we live in,” says artistic director, Kuik Swee Boon. Unearthing hidden dimensions of human expression is at the heart of the company’s ethos (T.H.E stands for The Human Expression). T.H.E has established itself as one of Singapore’s top exports, with a dance vocabulary defined by highly-physical and kinetic movement. Since 2010, the company has been raising the profile of contemporary dance through its self-initiated festival, the M1 CONTACT Contemporary Dance Festival.


For exploring international collaborations Artistic Director: Low Mei Yoke “Frontier Danceland is now a repertory company that performs a dynamic range of dance works created by various overseas choreographers,” says artistic director, Low Mei Yoke. This direction has seen Frontier Danceland driving new, original content by establishing collaborations with choreographers from Europe, Australia, the Middle East and Asia. Often representing Singapore on the international festival circuit, most recently, Frontier Danceland performed three sold-out shows in Tel Aviv, Israel, in early 2016.

Credit: Bernie Ng



Singapore: Moving with the Times

Tanzmesse 2016

Tanzmesse 2016

Singapore: Moving with the Times


SINGAPORE DANCE THEATRE For works spanning classical to contemporary Artistic Director: Janek Schergen



For championing a distinct Singaporean voice Artistic Director: Danny Tan

For its spirit of experimentation across disciplines Artistic Director: Ricky Sim

Odyssey Dance Theatre’s mesmerising body of work brilliantly melds dance, inter-cultural styles, music, visual arts and multimedia. The company, established by Danny Tan in 1999, has been an advocate of original Singapore dance works. Asian themes, cross-cultural explorations and nuanced depictions of human relationships are recurring choreographic interests. With a stellar international showing, ODT has made over 38 international tours across Asia Pacific, Europe and USA.

Experimental outfit RAW Moves examines movement with a “spirit of inquiry”. Eschewing conventions, you’re likely to find cross-disciplinary works that investigate movement around conceptual and innovative lines. As artistic director, Ricky Sim states, RAW Moves is motivated not “from a desire to obtain the perfect answer, but rather, emptying existing possibilities that may lead to the discovery of new options.” RAW Moves runs four regular platforms: Repertory Platform, showcasing works by established choreographers; Research and Development; Run Another Way, a movement clinic for non-theatre goers; and RawGround, an informal studio showcase of works.

Credit: Odyssey Dance Theatre

THE ARTS FISSION COMPANY For shaking up the boundaries of dance Artistic Director: Angela Liong

Credit: Koh Beng Chye

We speak to four of Singapore’s leading choreographers on their vision and artistic journey.

Credit: Tan Ngiap Heng

Credit: Bernie Ng

Singapore Dance Theatre could well be one of the first Singapore dance companies you’ll know - and rightly so. Part of the groundswell of pioneering dance groups in the 1980s, Singapore Dance Theatre today is the nation’s only professional ballet company. Performing six seasons annually, its illustrious repertoire spans classical ballets, neo-classical pieces to contemporary works. Its signature programmes include Ballet Under the Stars, an outdoor ballet event, and Passages Contemporary Season, an annual showcase of contemporary dance.

Arts Fission embraces issues far beyond the traditional conventions of dance. Founded by artistic director Angela Liong, the group is touted for its multi-disciplinary approach and trademark site-specific performances. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015 as Singapore’s longest-running contemporary dance company, Arts Fission continues to mine creative fuel from Asian culture and contemporary concerns. Case in point: its upcoming performances include Future Feed, inspired by rice cultivation and food security in Asia, and Fire Monkey, a Singapore-Australia collaboration which examines cross-cultural fire myths.


“To explore a unique, authentic Singaporean voice through a multidisciplinary approach. It will involve Asian contemporary dance expressions and other art forms such as music, multimedia and visual art.” - Danny Tan, Odyssey Dance Theatre “We’re interested in the cultures and movement styles that different international choreographers bring to Frontier Danceland. We believe the exposure received from such artists will develop and support Singapore’s dance scene.” - Low Mei Yoke, Frontier Danceland “We’re interested in developing a prototype of a “pop-up stage”, where dance performances can be framed and meaningfully presented to a more intimate audience.” - Angela Liong, Arts Fission

“I would like to cultivate more intercultural based experimental works which can create a dialogue about the complexities of our current living environment and experiences.” - Kuik Swee Boon, T.H.E Dance Company


Tanzmesse 2016

Singapore: Moving with the Times

THE INDEPENDENTS Singapore’s independent contemporary dance scene has blossomed in recent years. Here, we profile eight independent artists whose artistry and passion are propelling them to the forefront.

Choy Ka Fai

Berlin-based Singaporean artist and performance maker, Choy Ka Fai, is no stranger to the international dance circuit, with works presented at major festivals globally. His work lies at the intersections of art, design and technology. Currently working on: Dance Clinic, a provocative project where dance meets technology and neuroscience - imagine live “sessions” with a “dancer doctor” who hacks into your brainwaves to “improve” your choreography. In his words: “My research always starts with a certain curiosity about our contemporary being and tracing back the historical lineages to speculate on the future.”

Lee Mun Wai

Fresh from his long-time involvement with Singapore’s T.H.E Dance Company, Singapore Young Artist Award winner Lee Mun Wai has emerged to become one of the most notable faces in Singapore’s independent dance scene. Currently working on: A sociopolitically-tinged series titled Innocent Until Proven Guilty - Lee is creating two works that broach issues of power and politics in post-colonial and contemporary Singapore.

Credit: Crispian Chan

In his words: “Right now, I am less concerned with movement making for its own sake. The movement I create for a particular work needs to give off a very specific and intended energy.”

Tanzmesse 2016

Elysa Wendi

Growing up between Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, Elysa Wendi was destined to straddle languages, landscapes and cultural practices. Her art reflects this embodied border-crossing, encompassing movement, body, visual arts, text and task-based performative works. Currently working on: 1000 Performative Interpretations on 100 Choreographers Books - Wendi’s ambitious project examines the literary influences and formation of diverse choreographers and will culminate in an interpretive performance in 2020. In her words: “I often impose myself into a choreographic and performative situation, jumping in between the role of observer and performer.”

Joavien Ng

Intense and personal, Joavien Ng defies convention to examine the world from multiple perspectives, fearlessly exploring the depths of human nature and the creation of identity.

Singapore: Moving with the Times


Daniel Kok

Christina Chan

Currently working on: New works that return to his roots in visual arts, including жhe which explores ambiguous ways of representation in Asian dance forms in order to imagine the “post-gender body”.

Currently working on: A fulllength duet inspired by Alice in Wonderland with French artist Aymeric Bichon - expect an exploration of beauty and surrealism using natural elements and the creation of a short film.

From cheerleader to pole dancer and bondage master, Daniel Kok has played a spectrum of roles reflecting his interests in the ‘politics of relationality in spectatorship and audienceship’.

In his words: “In examining ways of thinking, making, seeing and producing that might be different between the visual and performing arts, I hope to discover a new artistic language for myself, something that lies in the in-between.”

Jereh Leong

A movement artist and performance maker, Jereh Leong’s sensory style is mined from his experiences and psyche. After his dance stint at Singapore’s Frontier Danceland, he now actively collaborates with artists from different disciplines.

Currently working on: Alternative approaches to creation; Ng considers her life journey as a means of realising new ways of artistic expression. In 2015, she relocated to south Portugal.

Currently working on: PANCHA, a series of five works, inspired by the five elements in Hindu philosophy; each element - wind, fire, earth, water and aether - tells a story of a female archetype “trapped” within society and relationships.

In her words: “Rather than focusing on the genesis or a new work, I find it much more important to connect with a subject that interests or affects me on a deep level.”

In his words: “In order to extract the innermost expression, I offer dancers characters and images that they can be free to mould into. This frees them from their daily personas.”

A solid dance education in the US and a passion for creative collaboration come together in the art of Christina Chan, who has been billed as an emerging dance artist to watch.

In her words: “Of late, I have been connecting back to beauty and imagination in my work. In this increasingly connected and multi-cultural world, I think we can remember to enjoy each other.”

Zhuo Zihao

For dancer and Singapore Young Artist Award winner Zhuo Zihao, dance techniques and modern technologies are a means of discovering the full potential and possibilities of expression through the body. Currently working on: A sitespecific production, Dance in Situ, reaching out to audiences in Singapore’s heartlands who rarely get to watch professional dance; his next work Obscure with Japanese artist Miwa Okuno,will be staged at the M1 CONTACT Contemporary Dance Festival come end 2016. In his words: “My belief as a dance artist is to behave as authentically human as possible; being human is to understand and practise these connections.”


Singapore: Moving with the Times

Tanzmesse 2016

Tanzmesse 2016

Singapore: Moving with the Times



Venues for the arts have sprouted across the city in recent years. From intimate theatres for independent acts, to top-notch venues geared to high-powered events, get up to speed with our list of Singapore’s performing arts venues. Credit: Photo Courtesy of Drama Centre

ARTS HOUSING You’ll find the who’s who of Singapore’s arts companies here at Goodman Arts Centre and Aliwal Arts Centre. Additional to their own dedicated spaces, tenants have access to shared facilities such as a Black Box (128 seats), project studios, seminar rooms, co-working and outdoor spaces. These enclaves generate dynamic activities, offer collaborative platforms and foster interaction within the artistic community as well as the public. The larger of the two, Goodman houses a thriving community of over 40 artists across all disciplines and is also home to the National Arts Council. Located in the quaint Kampong Glam cultural district, the Aliwal Arts Centre is another appealing hub for multidisciplinary works with an emphasis on performing arts.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF SINGAPORE The National Museum of Singapore is Singapore’s oldest museum. Beyond its celebrated historic collections and on-going list of exhibitions, the museum has, in recent years, become a major lifestyle destination with popular events such as the annual large-scale Night Festival as well as regular film screenings and performances held at its Gallery Theatre (247 seats).

Credit: Tim Griffith, courtesy of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

ESPLANADE THEATRES ON THE BAY Singapore’s premier performing arts venue, Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, boasts world-class facilities, a calendar of vibrant events and a waterfront location. Its facilities for performances include a plush Theatre (1950 seats) and Concert Hall (1827 seats) with excellent acoustics, the intimate Theatre Studio (220 seats) for experimental works and a Recital Studio (245 seats). Additional spaces include a Rehearsal Studio, an Outdoor Theatre with a stunning view of the Marina Bay, and a new flexible two-storey space suitable for artist residencies, development programmes, workshops and masterclasses.

Credit: Photo Courtesy of TheatreWorks (S) Ltd

Credit: Photo by Bernie Ng

DANCE NUCLEUS Dance Nucleus offers independent dance artists an incubation studio to research and hone their craft. When in town, explore its calendar for training, sharing and networking through classes, workshops and residency platforms.

72-13 Home to TheatreWorks, 72-13 is housed in a converted rice warehouse in Robertson Quay by the Singapore River. With space flexible as a gallery, cinema and theatre, it also seeks to foster collaborations, house residencies from creatives around the world, encourage hybrid expressions and respond to a contemporary Asia.

Credit: Photo Courtesy of The Arts House

THE ARTS HOUSE This inviting arts and cultural venue was Singapore’s first Parliament House. Come explore this almost 200-year-building and its vibrant calendar of multi-disciplinary events, including its signature literary programmes, as well as film, performing arts and visual arts presentations. The Arts House’s facilities include a Black Box (120 seats), galleries, multi-purpose rooms and a screening room.

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Victoria Theatre & Victoria Concert Hall

Credit: Photo Courtesy of Aliwal Arts Centre

DRAMA CENTRE THEATRE This purpose-built venue is located on the third level of the National Library in Singapore’s Bugis district. Along with its excellent lighting, sound and rigging systems, the Drama Centre Theatre (615 seats) and its Black Box (120 seats) are often the venues of choice for a wide range of artistic performances.

Credit: Photo Courtesy of LASALLE College of the Arts

VENUES IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS Singapore’s tertiary campuses are also homes to excellent performing arts venues that are highly sought-after by local festivals and arts groups. The University Cultural Centre in the grounds of the National University of Singapore features a Hall (1714 seats) and Theatre (450 seats), and is also the key venue for its arts festival. The School of the Arts (SOTA) marries cutting-edge architecture with three top-notch venues: the Concert Hall (628 seats), Drama Theatre (421 seats) and Studio Theatre (240 seats). LASALLE College of the Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) are both Singapore’s arts colleges; facilities here include The Singapore Airlines Theatre (480 seats), while NAFA houses the Lee Foundation Theatre (380 seats) and Studio Theatre (150 seats). Further afield, Republic Polytechnic has its own Cultural Centre (1000 seats) in the north of Singapore.

VICTORIA THEATRE & VICTORIA CONCERT HALL Set in the heart of Singapore’s Civic District, the historic Victoria Theatre (614 seats) and Victoria Concert Hall (673 seats) have been beautifully restored in recent years. These two prestigious venues along the Singapore River feature state-of-the-art facilities, including new rehearsal spaces, and are highly-popular as medium-scale performing arts venues.


Singapore: Moving with the Times

Tanzmesse 2016

Tanzmesse 2016

Singapore: Moving with the Times



Singapore’s calendar is chock-a-block with arts and cultural events. There is a whole host of festivals worth exploring, from music, dance, theatre and fringe festivals, to thematic ones like the large-scale popular Night Festival transforming our museum precincts, and the eclectic OH! Open House with site-specific projects bringing out the character of our neighbourhoods. Discover the platforms for contemporary dance with our short list here! M1 Singapore Fringe Festival Organised by The Necessary Stage (January)

Credit: Bernie Ng, Courtesy of Esplanade Theatres on the Bay

da:ns Festival Presented by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay (October)

Whet your appetite for cuttingedge art at the M1 Fringe Festival. Curated around a different theme every year, the annual festival is your go-to to catch provocative, contemporary works in theatre, dance, music, visual arts and mixed media from Singaporean and international artists.

This ten-day dance festival invites everyone to fall in love in dance. Along with a diverse range of dance forms from classical to contemporary featuring artists from Singapore, Asia and beyond, there are also plenty of activities to get involved in, from masterclasses and workshops to free outdoor programmes. da:ns Festival also supports the creation of new work through commissions, artist residences and co-productions. Singapore International Festival of Arts Managed by Arts House Limited. Commissioned by the National Arts Council (August-September) This six-week long performing arts extravaganza is a high-point of Singapore’s arts calendar. Currently helmed by festival director and theatre maestro Ong Keng Sen, recent editions of the Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) have seen bolder curation and increased audience engagement through SIFA’s pre-festival, The O.P.E.N. Look no further to watch some of the very best global and Singaporean works in theatre, dance and music.

DanzINC – International Dancers & Choreographers’ Residency Festival Presented by Odyssey Dance Theatre (June - November) For a one-of-a-kind cross-cultural experience, this biennial festival is geared towards the international dance community. Held across six months, opportunities abound for artists to participate in the festival’s international residencies, master classes, exhibitions and performances. Cultural Festivals Presented by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay (February, August, November)

Credit: Bernie Ng, courtesy of M1 CONTACT Contemporary Dance Festival 2014.

M1 CONTACT Contemporary Dance Festival Presented by T.H.E Dance Company (May - June) Discover rising artists and fresh works from the Asian and international contemporary dance scene at the M1 CONTACT Contemporary Dance Festival. This annual festival is billed for its bold curation, residency programmes, commissioning of local and international works across its several platforms, as well as a smorgasbord of workshops and technique classes.

Get a taste of Singapore’s diverse cultures at these annual festivals. Each offers a vibrant mix of genres and art forms, from the traditional to the contemporary. The Lunar New Year marks the season of Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts, which offers a tantalising feast of Chinese artistic performances. Organised to coincide with the Hari Raya Puasa festivities, Pesta Raya – Malay Festival of Arts celebrates the heritage of Singapore’s Malay community. Deepavali, or the Indian Festival of Lights, ushers in Kalaa Utsavam – Indian Festival of Arts, which plays host to celebrated Indian artists from Singapore and beyond.

For further details, please refer to our directory on Page 19.

The National Arts Council is a government agency that champions the arts in Singapore. By nurturing creative excellence and supporting broad audience engagement, the Council aims to develop a distinctive global city for the arts. With a nod to tradition and an eye to the future, the NAC cultivates accomplished artists and vibrant companies while supporting nascent art practitioners and organisations. The Council advocates arts philanthropy and partners individuals and corporates to create a sustainable environment for art making. Together with the private sector, the NAC aims to make the arts an accessible and integral part of everyone’s lives.

The NAC has various forms of assistance to develop the Singapore dance industry at all levels. Organisational development grants are given to dance companies who actively contribute to the vibrancy and development of the professional dance scene in Singapore, as well as to a younger base of companies, quickly emerging to build their niche and provide novel experiences to dance audiences. Today there are over 50 dance companies, institutions and societies in Singapore. NAC’s support also goes towards a growing pool of independent dance artists, many of whom are embarking on innovative and multidisciplinary collaborations.

The dance scene in Singapore is unique in its make-up; comprising ballet, contemporary, Chinese, Malay, Indian, street, social and community dance groups. The industry, though relatively young, is increasingly vibrant with various dance groups, collectives and independent artists, performing in and across a wide variety of genres and disciplines. In less than a decade, the number of dance performances has increased three-fold; we see a growth in new works and collaborations, diversity of participation in dance activities and greater visibility of dance in Singapore.

The Council is keen to support international collaborations as we see it as a valuable avenue for Capability Development and Market Development for our artists in addition to supporting local artists’ overseas endeavours and showcase opportunities. As a Council, NAC continues to engage with international partners for residencies, training programmes and showcase platforms and also work at continuously connecting with overseas missions, arts councils and arts venues to unlock opportunities.

For more information on the NAC, please visit



Singapore: Moving with the Times

Companies/Organisations Apsaras Arts Bhaskar’s Arts Academy Chowk Productions Dance Ensemble Singapore Dance Nucleus Era Dance Theatre Frontier Danceland John Mead Dance Company Maya Dance Theatre O School

Credit: Crispian Chan

Odyssey Dance Theatre RAW Moves

Tanzmesse 2016

Singapore Dance Theatre contact/index.php Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Dance Theatre T.H.E Dance Company The Arts Fission Company

Independent Artists Choy Ka Fai Christina Chan

Norhaizad Adam Nirmala Seshadri Zhuo Zihao

Presenting Venues, Festivals & Platforms DanzINC – International Dancers & Choreographers’ Residency Festival Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay Singapore International Festival of the Arts

Daniel Kok Yik Leng

M1 CONTACT Contemporary Dance Festival

Elysa Wendi

M1 Singapore Fringe Festival

Jereh Leong Joavien Ng Lee Mun Wai Muhammad Noramin Bin Mohamed Farid

For a comprehensive listing of Singapore’s dance companies, artists and festivals please refer to or contact the National Arts Council dance team (

Tanzmesse 2016

Credit: Chris Frape

Singapore at Tanzmesse 2016  
Singapore at Tanzmesse 2016  

An intro to the Singapore dance scene and the contemporary dance companies and artists participating at Tanzmesse, Germany.