About da:ns festival

To all dance lovers and those curious, Esplanade’s da:ns festival invites you to fall in love with dance through a full-hearted celebration of movement this 13 – 23 October. With powerful performances from around the world, exciting new creations and a wide range of opportunities to learn different kinds of dance, this 11-day festival will open your mind, lift your spirit and get your body moving.


Festival Message

In times of uncertainty, we can turn to dance as a means to reflect and connect with ourselves, with others, and to the world in new ways. Our bodies in stillness and motion have the ability to be powerful tools of expression, experimentation and representation.

da:ns festival 2016 is honoured to present three dance masters who have translated the emotional and physical forces of love, suffering and life into profound works of art. Pina Bausch, Ohad Naharin and Sara Baras have created bold movement practices and philosophies that draw from the beauty, complexity and strength of humanity. In their long years of making dance, they have inspired countless artists, and touched audiences all over the world. da:ns festival will be an opportunity to experience some of their most significant works live on stage.

The festival regularly supports artists with the creation of new work and has commissioned two productions. Raka Maitra with CHOWK Productions responds to the civil wars in Sri Lanka by examining the deep connections one has to one’s land, roots and loss—a pertinent subject of our times. Emmanuèle Phuon with Amrita Performing Arts is inspired by the lives of Cambodian boxers. In her work, she reveals the personal struggles of the fighters, as well as honors them with choreography drawn from gestures of boxing. These commissions are part of Esplanade’s commitment to developing the performing arts, particularly in this region where support for new dance work is limited.

This year, we also present new experiences that offer different perspectives of dance. da:ns collaborates with indie cinema The Projector for the first time to present documentaries that give access to significant dance artists. Another new programme is Coffee Chats, a series of intimate sessions where you can meet a practitioner and ask all the questions you ever wanted to know about dance. Also new is the addition of Sixteen Dance Challenge. Formerly presented under Esplanade’s youth festival, the platform which mentors aspiring and talented street dancers finds a home in da:ns.

Through movement we can find great physical and emotional release, and through choreography we can experience new modes of perception. da:ns festival invites all dance lovers and those curious to nurture your personal and unique connection to movement, for in the wise words of Pina Bausch, we must “dance, dance or otherwise we are lost”.

Faith Tan
Producer, Dance Lead
On behalf of Esplanade’s da:ns festival team