We can all agree that Singapore is a city full of culture and heritage. With it being a multi-racial city, we live among other races such as Indians, Chinese, Malays and Eurasians. Each of these races have their own culture and tradition.
Each race also has their own contribution to the art. They each have their own take on theatre, music, fine art and my favourite, dance. From now till September 2021, learn more about the type of traditional dances from each race. ROUTES is brought to you by National Arts Council, giving you the opportunity to know more about the culture and tradition of other races.
A Stamford Arts Centre Initiative
ROUTES: A Multi-Perspective Exploration of Tradition Dance in Singapore is brought to you by National Arts Council and Stamford Arts Centre. ROUTES follows the origin of local Chinese, Malay and Indian traditional dance practices.
It presents a reflection of the traditional dance scene through multiple perspectives. Based on stories from Singapore’s very own dance pioneers, ROUTES dives into first-person accounts of these pioneers, preservation of traditional dance and how it will continue in the near future.
Go on an immersive journey with a 360-degree video and 3D holographic mesh, bringing traditional dance back to life.
Meet the Pioneers
Each of these types of traditional dances would definitely have an expert teaching it to the new generation. Let’s meet some of these pioneers!
Indian Dance and Martial Arts
Santha Bhaskar is the artistic director of Bhaskar’s Arts Academy, an Advisor to Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society and a resident Choreographer of Indian Dance at the National University of Singapore Centre for the Arts.
In her early years, Santha has learnt so much from other pioneers. She picked up Malay Dance from Nongchik Ghani from Sriwana. Other pioneers such as Lee Shu Fen and Som Said learnt Indian Dance from her.
Raka Maitra is trained in classical Odissi and Chhau (martial arts). She combines both forms in her practices, thus creating an aesthetic of her own. Her works are known to defy the split between classical and contemporary.
Raka came to Singapore in 2005 and founded Chowk Productions in 2014 and currently serves as its Artistic Director.
I am pretty sure many Malay dancers, including me, would be familiar with this next pioneer. Som Said has shaped Singapore’s Malay dance scenes in various capacities as a dance, choreographer and as an artistic director.
Som Said founded Sri Warisan Som Said Performing Arts, Singapore’s first fully professional Malay dance company and she serves as its Artistic Director.
Dr Noramin Farid, also known as Soultari Amin Farid, was trained in Malay dance with Perkumpulan Seni. He was the recipient of the ASEAN-Indian Youth Award in 2018, Singapore Youth Award and National Arts Council Scholarship in 2017 and Goh Chok Tong Mendaki Youth Promise Award in 2016.
His work comes between the normative notions of class, ethnicity, gender, and identity. He believes that young practitioners must become leaders in creating works that are critical and relevant to the current landscape.
Lim Moi Kim is the founding Artistic Director of Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan Dance Troupe, also known as Singapore Chinese Dance Theatre (SCDT). As a dance education, she has taught at LASALLE Collage of the Arts and is a lecturer at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.
Throughout her career, she has choreographed many remarkable works. She recently stepped down as SCDT’s Artistic Director and is currently serving as its Artistic Advisor.
Cai Shiji is trained in Chinese and contemporary dance, and she holds a Masters in Choreography (Dance) from Purchase College, New York. She is now a Creative Director of Dance Emsemble Singapore (DES).
Her discovery of the Straits Chinese culture has inspired many of her work and her passion lies in telling the stories of Singapore through the art of dance.
These pioneers sure have so much dedication toward the traditional dance scene in Singapore. I too believe that it is important we know about our ‘routes’ and continue to preserve them. It is also our part to continue teaching these cultures and traditions to the new generation.
Love the local traditional dance scene and want to learn more? Head down to Stamford Arts Centre and immerse yourself in a whole new experience in ROUTES as you watch traditional dances come to life!
ROUTES: 115 Waterloo Street, #01-05, Stamford Arts Centre, Singapore 187962
Date: Now till September 12th, 2021
Time: 9.00am – 10.00pm (last screening at 9.30pm)