Dance takes the spotlight

Dancers from O School dance school perform a mass dance at Asia Square at an event to launch Got To Move yesterday.
Dancers from O School dance school perform a mass dance at Asia Square at an event to launch Got To Move yesterday.PHOTOS: NATIONAL ARTS COUNCIL, SCAPE
K-pop dance classes will be available to the public between Oct 8 and 24.
K-pop dance classes will be available to the public between Oct 8 and 24.

National Arts Council launches Got To Move dance activities for the public

From flashy, frenetic K-pop moves to the percussive rhythms of Spanish flamenco dance, Singaporeans can soon get into the groove under a new dance initiative.

In October, the National Arts Council will launch Got To Move, which features about 50 dance- related activities for the public. These include open classes and studios, dance workshops and masterclasses, and talks. These will be free and held at various locations from Oct 8 to 23.

Ms Elaine Ng, the council's director of sector development for dance and traditional arts, says: "Essentially, this movement is to get Singaporeans dancing. We want more people to discover, appreciate and enjoy dance and we hope to bring the dance community to the forefront and profile them."

She was speaking yesterday at a media event to launch Got To Move.

The project, which will cost about $1.5 million to organise, will culminate in a half-day event at The Promontory at Marina Bay on Oct 24, when visitors will get to watch performances put on by traditional and contemporary dance troupes here such as the Singapore Dance Theatre, T.H.E Dance Company and Bhaskar's Arts Academy.

They can also join in free K-pop, belly dancing and yoga dancing classes, and a dance after-party with live music in the evening.

Got To Move coincides with the Esplanade's annual da:ns festival, which runs from Oct 9 to 18 and promises a line-up of diverse works from local and foreign dance groups, and comes after the Singapore International Festival of Arts' Dance Marathon this and next month.

Ms Ng says that the timing is deliberate, as "October is a peak season for dance".

"Our objective is to... involve the community and interest groups in this so that over time, there'll be stronger ownership on the ground," she says.

Got To Move also comes at a time when Singapore's burgeoning dance scene is making strides. Ticketed attendance at dance performances has climbed by more than 50 per cent between 2009 and 2013, while sales rose by a third over the same period, according to the latest Singapore Cultural Statistics.

The Government has also introduced similar programmes to spark interest among the wider public in the arts and culture. The yearly PAssionArts Festival, which has a strong focus on bringing art to the heartland, is into its fourth edition this year. It is helmed by the People's Association and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

Got To Move's programme producer, Ms Norhayati Yusoff, has previously planned arts festivals for the Esplanade.

She says of the upcoming dance event: "The activities and performances feature a broad mix of dance forms, and professional and amateur groups. I hope eventgoers will catch more dance performances and take up dance-related hobbies."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2015, with the headline 'Dance takes the spotlight'. Print Edition | Subscribe