Nationwide dance movement turns to social media and apps to get Singapore dancing

SINGAPORE - Nationwide dance movement Got To Move is turning to social media and apps to get more Singaporeans on their feet, as it increases its variety of programmes and adds new pop-up events this year.

The third edition of the movement by the National Arts Council (NAC) will run from Oct 13 to 29 with 227 programmes for the public, up from 200 last year.

Got To Move will begin with an islandwide assortment of programmes, such as a multi-generational barn dancing workshop, as well as a new mobile app that uses augmented reality to promote dancing in open spaces.

The app by software firm Telematique uses location augmentation to help users see what dance events are happening around them, and if there are fellow dancers in their vicinity. It also introduces them to 360-degree videos on dance.

"People lack opportunities to understand dance," says Telematique principal consultant Kace Ong, who has also taught tango for 20 years. "With this app, the public can go from being observers to being participants."

Members of the public can also take part in the Happy Dance Challenge by uploading a video clip of themselves dancing on social media with the hashtag #GotToMoveSG, and then tagging their friends. They stand to win prizes, which the organiser has yet to confirm.

Dancer Deanna Dzulkifli, one of Got To Move's 14 ambassadors, says the use of social media platforms will enable her to connect with the movement even while overseas.

The 19-year-old School Of The Arts graduate became an ambassador to share her story of dancing after injury. When she was 16, she underwent spinal fusion surgery because of her severe scoliosis, which kept her bedridden while her friends booked gigs and went on to professional dance careers.

Although she could not dance for half a year, she kept going to school and sat in on rehearsals. This inspired her to venture into other fields such as production management and choreography.

Next week, she will leave for London to study arts management at Goldsmiths, University of London. But she hopes to stay in touch with Got To Move through activities such as the Happy Dance Challenge. "There are a lot of young dancers facing physical impairments out there, and I want them to know they can still be part of the arts scene."

The festival will culminate in Got To Move Spotlight, an interactive dance carnival held on Oct 29 in conjunction with Car-Free Sunday.

It will include a dance-walk, a series of dance and fitness activities from the National Gallery to the Esplanade Park, in collaboration with government agency ActiveSG.

The NAC will also be adding two pop-up dance events, a family-oriented one in March and another for students in June, which will coincide with its other initiatives, such as Arts in Your Neighbourhood.

Ms Elaine Ng, NAC senior director of sector development for performing arts, says: "While we have seen an increase in participation over the years, we saw the need to deepen our engagement with specific demographic segments and sustain interest in dance beyond the movement.

"As such, the two pop-up events on top of our anchor festival will offer greater opportunities for the public to engage with dance, making Got To Move a staple of Singapore's arts calendar."

The movement had 11,200 participants when it began in 2015, which increased to 19,800 las tyear. Organisers anticipate 20,000 people taking part this year.