Originating in 2005, the Esplanade’s annual da:ns festival is making a change this year, going from a full fledged festival within a specific month, to da:ns focus, with five weekends of dance programmes throughout the year, each focusing on a particular theme or genre. Offering a variety of programmes, experiences and activities each weekend, the Esplanade hopes this new version of the festival will offer focused explorations and opportunities for counterpoints, dialogues and perspectives.
Starting off da:ns focus is EveryBody (14 – 16 Apr 2023), a series of dance projects that work with and empower diversely-abled dancing bodies and non-professionals. From workshops for preschoolers, a dance party for migrants to breakdance performances and workshops by ILL-ABILITIES (comprising differently-abled dancers), anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. The weekend will also include accessibility features for selected programmes, such as Relaxed Environment, Sign Language Interpretation and wheelchair access – no one should be excluded from dancing.
On the next weekend, from 5th to 7th May, da:ns focus turns the spotlight on contemporary dance, focusing on concepts and connection as the art form continues to grow and evolve. Titled Body Language, the weekend examines how such forms affects the final work, and will also feature international acts such as Kidd Pivot with Revisor, as co-created by Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young, and Faye Driscoll’s exhibition Come on In.
From 13th to 15th October, da:ns focus presents CAN – Connect Asia Now, and spotlights local and Asian dancemakers, profiling distinct voices and creative impulses from the region and use the platform as a gathering for connection—within Asia, and between Asia and the rest of the world.
From 1st to 3rd December, da:ns focus goes into street dance, with FL/OW – The FULL OUT Weekend. During this weekend, street dance lovers will get to experience the form’s diverse facets through performances, cyphers/battles and workshops with some of the best local and international artists. Beyond giving the community a sense of pride and belonging, FL/OW also hopes to expand the idea of what street dance can be beyond the conventional. In time to come, we look forward to embracing more movement-based street cultures and subcultures.
Lastly, Ballet by the Bay (Mar 2024) is set to enthral ballet lovers with world-class productions of classics and neo-classical works. Through these ballet presentations, the Esplanade want to introduce new perspectives on this celebrated form, and also pay attention to diversity, including female leaders in ballet.
Says da:ns focus programmer Iris Cheung: “We are excited by the possibilities that da:ns focus brings. It pushes us into fresh ways of thinking, creating and programming; enables us to attract new audiences and deepen existing audiences’ appreciation for dance; as well as explore connections and threads within a thematic focus, and further more partnerships.”
da:ns focus events run from 14th to 16th Apr 2023, 5th to 7th May 2023, 13th to 15th Oct 2023, 1st to 3rd Dec 2023 and Mar 2024. More information available here
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