Even with a pandemic that’s affected rehearsals, performances and international guests, as one of their major festivals each year, the Esplanade would be remiss not to put on a version of their annual da:ns Festival this October, as it once again brings a spectrum of dance forms and world-renowned performers to the stage – digitally.
The Intervention of Loneliness (Lockdown Edition)
In rethinking and reorganising the festival to face the ongoing restrictions of the pandemic, this year’s edition of da:ns Festival focuses on introspection in its programming. The festival has commissioned Singaporean dancer-choreographer Ming Poon to revisit The Intervention of Loneliness (Lockdown Edition), which was previously presented as a work-in-progress at da:ns festival 2019. Informed by the lockdown, the piece uses Zoom as a platform where Ming Poon invites audiences to slow dance with one another, despite their distance, exploring new forms of intimacy as a means to push back against systemic loneliness and the human disconnection we experience today.
Having previously performed an impressive street dance choreography at FULL OUT! for da:ns Festival 2019. legendary Japanese street dance quartet s**t kingz returns with the commissioned work The Escape Game. Known for blending comedy and their smooth moves, watch as four men, armed only with a large old map in hand, set off on a road trip chasing down clues in search of treasure, combining dance with storytelling to create pure entertainment as this show premieres exclusively for da:ns Festival 2020.
Be sure to head backstage and check out Thai dancer Pichet Klunchun mini documentary, The Intermission of No. 60, where audiences get to dive deep into his artistic practice, specifically with regards to the recently premiered No. 60, a work which crystalised his research on the future possibilities of classical Thai dance form khon, the forced ‘intermission’ it went on during the pandemic, and the future of the dance community in Thailand.
Dancing at Dusk – A moment with Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring
Even with the flight restrictions, da:ns Festival 2020 will still be bringing in international artists to join in the festivities, with Dancing at Dusk – A moment with Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring, a digital presentation that captures a precious final rehearsal of a specially assembled cast of 38 dancers from 14 African countries on a beach in Senegal before lockdown, as one of the world’s ‘greatest dance works’ is performed against the backdrop of a setting sun.
The German influence doesn’t stop there, as da:ns Festival 2020 will also be presenting Friedemann Vogel – Incarnation of Dance, to offer viewers a glimpse into the eponymous Stuttgart Ballet principal dancer’s everyday life, as he toured and performed around the world back in 2018. Watch as the world renowned ballet dancer takes to some of the world’s most prestigious stages, as well as follow him back to his hometown where his career blossomed under the influence of Marcia Hayd Haydée, Reid Anderson, and Tamas Detrich.
The 2 Stepsisters by Gin Lam, Loy Xuehui and William Legares, playing as part of The Open Call
da:ns Festival 2020 will also be presenting new works with The Open Call, with the Esplanade having selected seven proposals by Singapore-based artists to create works that explore the notion of a pause, from a pool of almost 50 applications. Featured dancers include art naming 奇能, Bernice Lee and Adele Goh, Ong Cheryl and Luqman Hakim, Chew Shaw En and Syimah Sabtu, Dapheny Chen and See Joo Teng, Gin Lam, Loy Xuehui and William Legares, and Sandhya Suresh and Dita Jacob.
Step into the future with Living Archive – A Creative Workshop with Studio Wayne McGregor, where participants get a chance to learn excerpts of Company Wayne McGregor’s repertoire and material derived from ten solos created as part of the development process for the A.I choreographic tool developed in collaboration with Google Arts and Culture Lab. They will also be able to use the A.I tool to develop their own material and gain insights into McGregor’s creative practice, and receive group and one-to-one session with dancers from Company Wayne McGregor.
Drag queen Vanda Miss Joaquim will teach you how to vogue
Finally, to bring curious viewers into the world of dance, the Esplanade has also prepared a smorgasbord of activities and resources to break down and demystify dance. Check out the Esplanade’s Footwork Fun-sized: #dans2themax challenge, and get moving with choreographer/dancer Taryn Cheng, and even share your videos on social media. Or if you’re a fan of ballroom and drag culture (or want to be like the houses on HBO’s reality show Legendary), let local drag queen and Drag Race Thailand finalist Vanda Miss Joaquim (who also founded local dance group Voguelicious) teach you all about how to vogue the house down in Footwork Fun-sized: Vogueing.
Not even a pandemic can stop a good dancer down, and with da:ns Festival, the digital becomes a new playground for everyone to get involved, whether you’re a professional or a newbie to the genre. Come discover and rediscover the art of dance, and let the Esplanade’s da:ns Festival move you once again this October.
da:ns Festival 2020 takes place from 12th to 31st October 2020 online. For more information, visit their website here