More than 2,000 Chingay performers gear up for next year's digital parade

Tap dancers Isabel Judith Koh Wee Yi (left) and Ignez Lee Song En will be performing a lion dance during next year's Chingay parade. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Tap Dancers performing a unique Lion Dance performance for the upcoming digital Chingay 2021. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE- Instead of performing to a cheering crowd enjoying the annual Chingay celebrations at Marina Bay, Ms Isabel Judith Koh danced instead in front of a green screen for the camera.

She is among the estimated 2,000 performers who will be filmed for next year's Chingay parade, which will go fully digital for the first time.

The 19-year-old Temasek Polytechnic student is taking it in her stride.

Speaking at the filming for a segment of the digital parade at NoonTalk Media on Thursday (Dec 10), Ms Koh told The Straits Times: "It feels a little different because I can't feel the energy from the crowd and there is a much smaller group dancing in person in unison.

"But it's also good in the sense that more people can watch Chingay and experience the sights and the sounds. There's no limitation to the number of seats for people who can watch it."

With the theme Light of Hope, the digital parade will be broadcast on TV, social media and online platforms on Feb 20 at 8pm. Performances will feature 2D and 3D computer-generated imagery packed with dragon motifs.

Ms Koh will be performing alongside nine dancers aged between 14 and 30 from local dance troupe Dance Spectrum International (DSI) in one of the six segments in the parade.

A lion dance number with 100 lions from troupes in about 10 countries and cities will also be presented through a compilation of videos.

Created over a span of two months, their 15s-20s routine which is part of the four-minute 100 Lions performance, was choreographed by founder and director of DSI Ms Sharon Liew, 50. It blends tap dance with lion dance - a first for the troupe.

To prepare for the number, Ms Liew spent two weeks researching lion dance traditions and elements. She also invited a lion dance teacher to train her troupe, whose rehearsals were held in person.

Ms Koh said: "Because of the digital parade, I learnt new things. It was empowering to be able to lift the heavy lion head and shake it as hard as how guys can.

"Learning lion dance and showing that girls can do it is very liberating."

Correction note: An earlier version of the article said the tap dance segment is four minutes long. It should be a 15s-20s routine which is part of the four-minute 100 Lions performance. We are sorry for the error.

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