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Bored with your weekend routine? See where dance takes you with these da:ns festival 2022 performances

From ballet set against the breathtaking Marina Bay skyline to a stage interpretation of a book written by a best-selling author, this year’s Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay’s da:ns festival aims to reconnect people with performing arts

Reconnect with performing arts at this year’s Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay da:ns festival. PHOTO: RAVI DEEPRES

Whether you enjoy the fast-paced beats of street dance or the graceful time-honoured form of traditional Asian dance, the 17th edition of da:ns festival has something for you.

Taking place from Oct 13 to Oct 23, the festival is its 17th edition and also its last. After this year, the festival will take on a new format with themed dance programmes spread out through the year. 

da:ns festival comprises five segments: Centrestage with dance productions by local and international artists, Shift with thought-provoking works, Next Generation with a spotlight on young dancers, RASAS with its focus on traditional dances from the Asian region, and Participate with dance workshops, talks and masterclasses for all ages.

Here’s a guide to what awaits you at da:ns festival.

If you like immersive experiences…

Infinitely Closer offers a moving performance featuring holographic projections and 3D sound.

Infinitely Closer reflects upon freedom within the shifting realities of our modern times. PHOTO: ESPLANADE

One of Singapore’s leading dance companies, The Human Expression (T.H.E) Dance company is the first to stage a performance at Esplanade’s new Singtel Waterfront Theatre with its latest work, Infinitely Closer.

This elaborate collaboration brings together Malaysian sound artist Kent Lee, Macau-based projection artist SEESAW, South Korean costume designer Choi In Sook, Singaporean lighting designer Adrian Tan, Singaporean spatial sound designer Guo Ningru, Singaporean dramaturg Kok Heng Leun, Australian-Laotian guest performer Billy Keohavong and six dance artists from T.H.E Dance Company.

Featuring artistic director Kuik Swee Boon's signature HollowBody methodology, this contemporary dance piece combines live performance with holographic projection and sonic waves of three-dimensional sound.

Infinitely Closer will reflect upon freedom within the shifting realities of our modern times.

If you were going to spend your weekend with your Kindle…

Tree of Codes lets you “read” a book with your senses.

American best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes comes to life on stage. PHOTO: JOEL CHESTER FILDES

Even as a book, American best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes is unlike any other book you have read. It actually uses the pages from another book The Street of Crocodiles as a canvas, with an ingenious die-cut on every page so that the peek-a-boo, latticework effect creates a whole new story.

Now, imagine Tree of Codes interpreted for the stage, also in a totally new, game-changing way worthy of its original DNA. Since its premiere in 2015 at the Manchester International Festival, it has wowed audiences worldwide.

The reason? Choreographer and director Wayne McGregor, renowned artist Olafur Eliasson and producer-composer Jamie xx from The xx bring Tree of Codes to life with dance, a kaleidoscope backdrop and soulful electronic music.

If you have had enough of the usual date nights…

…Watch ballet set against the Marina Bay skyline with Evening Voices.

Evening Voices features a triple-bill set of Absence of Story by Toru Shimazaki, Triptych by Val Caniparoli and Evening Voices by Tim Rushton. PHOTO: BERNIE NG

Sure to impress the fussiest other half: Singapore Ballet’s Evening Voices at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre which takes place at 8pm on selected dates so that you can enjoy the evening breeze and the Marina Bay skyline.

This is a triple-bill set so expect Absence of Story by Toru Shimazaki, Triptych by Val Caniparoli and the titular Evening Voices by Tim Rushton.

If you love watching others get their groove on at the club…

…Support young local street dance groups at Full Out! Next Gen.

Full Out! Next Gen is three nights of street dance extravaganzas featuring street dance groups from six Singapore tertiary institutions. PHOTO: ESPLANADE

Be treated to a street dance extravaganza of K-pop, hip hop and pop-lock moves, and also B-boy stunts featuring more than 150 dancers. They hail from street dance groups at six Singapore tertiary institutions including ITE College Central, ITE College East, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic. Full Out! Next Gen lets youth express themselves through street dance and will consist of three shows over one weekend – the result of five months’ prep work under the direction of Zaini Tahir.

If you want to learn more about traditional dance forms…

No. 60 by Pichet Klunchun Dance Company is your entry point to innovation in traditional art.

No. 60 is a must-watch for those interested in innovations in classical art. PHOTO: HIDETO MAEZAWA

This Esplanade commission is the result of 20 years of research and will be a good starting point for those interested in exploring traditional dance.

Contemporary Thai dancer and choreographer Pichet Klunchun has studied the classic poses and movements used in the traditional Thai dance genre, khon which has existed for 700 years. In No. 60, he has then created six new principles that allow a younger generation to learn more about the dance form without any ideological influences from history. The performance will be accompanied by live music by sound artist Zai Tang.

For those hoping to find out more about traditional Indonesian dance forms instead, the RASAS series will feature two dance forms showcasing the diverse and rich cultural heritage of Indonesia. From Bali comes Anangun Semara Santhi which comprises four expressive dance forms, tari condong, baris tunggal, tari jauk manis and tari oleg tambulilingan. There’s also Sanggar Seni Seulaweut from Aceh which features saman, rapa’i geleng and likok pulo, all which boast the harmonious movements of the dancers’ hands and upper bodies.

So don’t just sit back and chill this October. Find out how you can embrace where dance takes you and be part of the fun by visiting www.esplanade.com/dansfestival

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