One of Singapore’s most evocative performing arts festivals is back, this time revolving around the grande dame of human emotions, ‘Love’.
Using a magnificent patchwork of dance mediums, both traditional and contemporary, 2012’s dan:s festival looks set to immerse audiences in love in its various forms — maternal, romantic, compassionate and even divine.
Happening from 19 to 28 October, the stellar lineup of local and international dance troupes and musicians also explores a human being’s innate need to be in a relationship with another. It’s going to be a stimulating, almost tempestuous ride — here are the top five shows to watch.
Silences We are Familiar With: An Ode to Love
Two Singaporean artists — contemporary dance choreographer Kuik Swee Boon and indie musician Bani Haykal — dramatise the human need to love and be loved in their first collaboration together. Performed by T.H.E Dance Company with music and poetry by Bani, this 60-minute staging also features styling by local fashion designer Sunny Lim using pieces from his menswear label MILS. Watch this dan:s festival commissioned work for a strong and impactful dose of raw, homegrown talent.
19 & 20 Oct, 8pm at the Esplanade Theatre Studio; $20–30
Tobari: As If in an Inexhaustible Flux
Laurence Olivier Award-winning choreographer Ushio Amagatsu, directs and leads this remarkable butoh piece set against a star-studded (6,600, to be exact) galaxy backdrop. ‘Tobari’premiered to a sold-out run in Paris in 2008, and is a great way to immerse yourself in the dark, mesmerising art of butoh. The ‘cosmic dance’ defines, then crosses, the boundaries between joy and sorrow, life and death. Don’t miss this stunning work performed by Japan’s Sankai Juku dance troupe as they return to Singapore after 22 years. (Read our interview with butoh master Ushio Amagatsu)
19 & 20 October, 8pm at the Esplanade Theatre; $20–100
Celebrated Canadian choreographer D. A. Hoskins directs this intimate ‘conversation’ between two former lovers, who reminisce their past romance, fragment by fragment. Through a rigorous mix of full nudity, video projections, English and French text, as well as a stinging emphasis on the concept of memory, The Dietrich Group performs what may potentially be the most mind-blowing artistic interpretation of love at the festival.
23 & 24 October, 8pm at the Esplanade Theatre Studio; $20–30
Aspects of Love: An Evening of Ballet
Not everyone can absorb all the emotional nuances that can come through a graceful, painstaking ballet performance but this medley of romantic greats featuring scenes from Lady of the Camellias, Little Mermaid and Manon – the Bedroom Pas de deux promises that you’ll walk away feeling anything but empty. Catch the principal dancers of the English National Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre, The Royal New Zealand Ballet and The Hamburg Ballet in this bedazzling show of pirouettes, swings and precarious balancing.
23 & 24 October, 8pm at the Esplanade Theatre. $20-120
Aomori Project: Of Landscapes Remembered
It’s not just a brilliant display of contemporary dance that makes this piece by Welsh artist SIoned Huws work—it is also his understanding of nature and ingenious use of traditional Japanese music. The choreography, which consists mainly of sweeping and whirling across the floor to evoke the relentless snowfall in Aomori, Japan, is performed to music by traditional shamisen players and a minyo singer. Such seamless play on the old and the new in a simplistic setting is bound to move you.
26 & 27 October, 8pm at the Esplanade Theatre Studio. $20-30