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 20 – 29 October. With powerful performances from around the world, exciting new creations and a wide range of opportunities to learn different kinds of dance, this 10-day festival will open your mind, lift your spirit and get your body moving.


Festival Message

In our 12th edition, da:ns festival invites you to discover some of the most exciting and significant dancemakers of the next generation. Their works boldly reflect the world we live in. In so doing, they inspire and expand our imagination, and reinvigorate and chart the future of dance and choreography.

The works of three diverse female choreographers at the festival – Dada Masilo, Rocío Molina, and Eisa Jocson – show how dance can resiliently challenge conventions of society, push the boundaries of forms and explore representations of the female body.

In response to the limited body types allowed in ballet, Masilo founded her unique style of dance, which fuses ballet, contemporary and African movements. Her version of Swan Lake breathes new life into the classical story by injecting it with a spirited reflection on prejudice and freedom. Another restless rule breaker, Molina defies classical flamenco codes by melding contemporary movement and conceptual risk, while examining the tensions of power and seduction between men and women. This questioning of duality is reflected in Bosque Ardora, where reality and dreams blur, and her body shape shifts between animal and mythological goddess. Jocson too confronts perceptions of gender in Macho Dancer, where she embodies the seductive language of male dancers objectified in the adult entertainment industry.

Bringing people together through dance, Frenchman Benjamin Millepied gathers the best dancers in America to perform a selection of intricate and virtuosic dance pieces on the beauty and fragility of love and loss in relationships. Singaporean artists Choy Ka Fai and Daniel Kok further invite dancemakers from around the world to examine the state of dance today and into the future. The festival co-commission Dance Clinic by Choy turns dance on its head by proposing a new way of understanding dancemakers, with the help of neuroscience and an artificial intelligence dance system. Through a series of experiments conducted on stage, Choy analyses the minds of dancers, Austrian-Dutch Florentina Holzinger and West Papuan Darlane Litaay. Elsewhere in a seminar and workshop curated by Kok, contemporary artists Jeremy Wade and Karol Tyminski join a group of local and Asian dance practitioners to examine the role of dance within the current global political environment.

For all dance lovers and the simply curious you can let loose and dance in the many free dance parties around Esplanade. Pick up easy steps under the stars, jump around with your friends in a private dance ball pit, or watch the latest street moves!  Whether you are watching dance or dancing yourself, this festival is a chance to try something new, express yourself through movement, and experience the powerful energy dance has to offer.

Faith Tan
Head, Dance and Theatre
On behalf of the Esplanade’s da:ns festival team