SINGAPORE - It's not going to be just about lion dances and colourful floats at Chingay next year.
Remote-controlled flying dragons, performers in metallic gold and silver bouncing around on sky runners, and male pole dancers will be making an appearance as organisers of the parade, in its 48th year, try to appeal to younger audiences.
In a media preview on Thursday (Nov 28) at the People's Association Headquarters in Jalan Besar, organisers revealed that more unusual performances will be included in the parade on Jan 31 and Feb 1 next year at the F1 Pit Building.
Among other things, an all-male seven-man pole dancing troupe will perform stunts such as the human flag - where each dancer will hold his body perpendicular to the pole, and synchronise this to music featuring Chinese elements.
The leader of the group from PXD Pole Studio, Louis Sue, 26, said: "For Chingay to want to see a full guy team performance is quite refreshing... In the past, people would shy away maybe because it's not common, (but) there's a lot more pole dancers now and more people are seeing it as a fitness sport."
"You can expect a lot of gravity-defying moves," he added.
Chingay has attracted a consistent crowd of about 70,000 to 90,000 per night every year and organisers said the latest additions were meant to attract an even wider audience.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, a spokesman for People's Association said: "We view pole dancing - be it male or female - to be a healthy sport. By involving more diverse groups with different talents and passions, we are providing them a platform and can also reach out to more diverse audiences."
During the media conference, Chingay 2020 executive committee chairman and group director of partnership Jeanie Tan said: "We also know that young people have evolved and taking on purely traditional elements is very tough."
"We hear from many of the partners that we work with that we need to inject new elements," she added.
Aside from the pole dancers, traditional elements will be mixed with contemporary acts. For instance, dragon dancers will perform with a remote-control flying dragon whizzing above them, and traditional stilt walkers will be joined by performers in metallic costumes bouncing on sky runners.
This is in line with the theme of "Colours in Harmony". About 6,000 volunteer performers aged five to 82 from Singapore as well as around the region, will showcase Singapore's diversity through their performances.
Ms Tan said: "(It will) definitely be colourful and cultural, and you will be able to feel a lot of community spirit when you come to Chingay next year."