Catch Singapore's Da:ns Festival All October Without Leaving Your House

From the Esplanade to your home without having to leave your couch.
Saturday 17 October 2020
The Da:ns festival even includes a workshop with Wayne McGregor for those who want to get their groove on. Photo: Camilla Greenwell

With COVID-19 cases rising and lockdowns in place again, now is the time to brighten your time at home with some culture and arts. At a time where so many in the entertainment business are suffering without live shows, the Esplanade in Singapore has had to re-think the purpose and meaning behind their arts festival. 

Keeping in mind the struggles that many have been through they have approached the Da:ns Festival with a more introspective and insightful manner. There are local and international performances at this festival, that have been curated for a thought-provoking and meaningful programme. 

Here are some of the ones that you can catch online right from the safety of your sofa. 


The Intervention of Loneliness (Lockdown Edition)

Live stream on 16 and 17 October 2020


Seperation has some of us isolated and longing for human connection, Ming Poon is here to try and reconnect people. Photo: Ming Poon/Esplanade


The Esplanade has invited Ming Poon to revisit this piece again but this time through a digital barrier. Before the lockdowns, Ming Poon had staged a public intervention called Dance With Me, where he literally invited strangers to slow dance with him in several different countries. 

While obviously, this isn’t viable to do in person, Ming Poon instead will invite viewers to slow dance through zoom. For those feeling lonely and isolated at home, this performance is all about human connection. Where there is a will there is a way, the artist wants to reimagine our notions of touch and physical connection at a time where it is seemingly impossible. 


The Escape Game

23 to 31 October 2020


Four men, one map and a long journey ahead filled with adventure and giggles. Photo: s**t kingz/Esplanade


Instead of wallowing in despair tune in for this hyped-up performance by s**t kingz, a Japanese group who are famous for their whacky brand of non-verbal dance storytelling. It’s comedy gold all through nimble dance routines. 

Four men journey on a road trip with a large old map in hand searching for treasure. Using interpretative dance and comedy, these two-time champions of US dance competition Body Rocks lead their audience on a tumultuous and exciting ride to get to the pot of gold on the other side of the rainbow. 


Open Call

18  to 31 October 2020



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In an effort to keep dancer’s creativity afloat in coronavirus times, Esplanade invited Singapore-based artists to explore the notion of pause and to create what they will from this. The programme attracted close to 50 applicants and now they are proud to present seven works from that number for the festival. 

Body Language III by Sandhya Suresh and Dita Jacob is the third phase of Sandhya’s exploration of the relationship between classical Indian dance form Odissi with the body of a contemporary dancer. Whereas Trashin’ It Out by Luqman Hakim and Ong Cheryl is about dissonance and resonance, how bodies navigate communication, especially when usual rhythms are disrupted. 


Failing the Dance: A Double Bill of Lecture-Performances

24 to 31 October 2020


Failing the Dance explores questions of gender and cultural custodianship. Photo: Marvin Wong


Learn something about dance, instead of just being an observer. This programme is a combination of lecture, video and dance that was developed through the Dance Nucleus’ Associate Membership Programme. Each work is accompanied by an assortment of essays, images as well as extra data to think while watching. 

Pok! looks into the Malay courtship dance lenggang, where there are lots of fluid arm swaying and delicate foot movements. This time however, there is only Amin performing the intricate steps, thus it becomes an exploration of gender expectations and what the dance means on its own. The other half of this performance is the Problematic Danseuse in which Nirmala Seshadri explores the hurdles that she has faced due to gender in her 50 years of bharatanatyam dance. 


The Intermission of No. 60

12 to 31 October 2020


Pichet Klunchun wants to fuse classical Thai dance with contemporary moves and change the landscape. Photo: Da:ns Festival/Esplanade


If you’re looking for something deeper, then look no further than this mini-documentary about Thai dancer Pichet Klunchun’s work No. 60 that premiered at TPAM 2020 in Japan. This dance performance is a culmination of over 20 years of research and work that explores Theppanom, a classic Thai dance, in its entirety. The artform consists of 59 core poses and this performance considers the future of the dance through philosophy and really digs into the foundation of it.

Due to COVID-19, the actual dance that was supposed to be shown at Da:ns has been postponed. Instead, immerse yourself in this in-depth documentary on the creation and meaning behind the dance as well as interviews of Klunchun on how he thinks his creation will affect the future of the dance community in Thailand.


Find out more about this festival at Esplanade.