Forum: Dance has integral role in arts scene

Seven women dance their life stories in Queen Blood choreographed by Frenchman Ousmane Sy.
Seven women dance their life stories in Queen Blood choreographed by Frenchman Ousmane Sy.PHOTO: TIMOTHÉE LEJOLIVET

Professor Tommy Koh's commentary is a rallying piece that sends a clear message on how different forms of the arts can add value to and improve society (Are art workers non-essential?, June 18).

The Sunday Times survey on which jobs Singaporeans considered essential sparked much debate. I thank Prof Koh for providing much-needed perspective on this matter, with him being a champion of the arts and having launched many initiatives that have benefited arts development in Singapore. His is a pertinent voice and he lends reason to the issue.

In the spirit of constructive conversation, I wish to highlight what in my opinion is the under-representation of dance in Prof Koh's commentary.

There was only a brief mention of dance, in a reference to only one company, under his thoughts on music.

While it is generally true that dance and music are intimately linked, there are other dance forms, such as contemporary dance and traditional dance, that do not necessarily share an inseparable bond with music.

There are other notable local dance companies, both traditional and contemporary, that exhibit a range of dance that reflects the cultural diversity of Singapore.

These companies have contributed significantly to both the local and international arts scene, and have participated richly in the historical development of Singapore.

Works of local dance artists have also added much colour, expression and depth to other arts genres such as theatre, film, literature, music and the visual arts.

Florence Kuek Shi Ting

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2020, with the headline 'Dance has integral role in arts scene'. Print Edition | Subscribe