Going onstage (www.esplanade.com).

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Dance

da:ns Docuseries

What is contemporary dance? (part 1)

Five Singapore dancers talk about the genre and how audiences can appreciate the dance of the now.

Published: 24 Sep 2020

Duration: 11:58

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Dance

da:ns Docuseries

What is choreography?

An inside look at a seemingly abstract process.

Published: 24 Sep 2020

Duration: 11:41

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Dance

da:ns Docuseries

What is rasa?

Explore this essential concept in Asian dance through the Ramayana.

Published: 24 Sep 2020

Duration: 12:24

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Dance

da:ns Docuseries

Lockdown Journals: Chen Wu-Kang

Re-thinking dance and performance in the pandemic era

Published: 24 Sep 2020

Duration: 13:54

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Dance

da:ns Docuseries

All our dancing bodies

When you think of dance, who comes to mind?

Published: 24 Sep 2020

Duration: 10:18

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Dance

da:ns Docuseries

Lockdown Journals: Eisa Jocson

Re-thinking dance and performance in the pandemic era

Published: 24 Sep 2020

Duration: 11:18

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Dance

da:ns Docuseries

and so we dance too – A featurette

Migrant workers on their lived experiences

Published: 24 Sep 2020

Duration: 20:43

Now Playing

What is contemporary dance? (part 1)

11:58

Now Playing

What is choreography?

11:41

Now Playing

What is rasa?

12:24

Now Playing

Lockdown Journals: Chen Wu-Kang

13:54

Now Playing

All our dancing bodies

10:18

Now Playing

Lockdown Journals: Eisa Jocson

11:18

Now Playing

and so we dance too – A featurette

20:43


Time taken : >15mins

WHAT IS CONTEMPORARY DANCE? PART 1

Contemporary dance... where should we begin?

An evocative introduction to contemporary dance, this video starts with a broad sweep of its history and evolution over time, eventually zooming into the personal, with five dancers from Singapore expressing their heartfelt thoughts about dance in both word and movement. It also includes tips and access points for those new and unfamiliar to the form to begin understanding what they watch when experiencing a contemporary dance performance.

Contemporary dance is a diverse form that encompasses a wide variety of expressions. This video covers only some of many approaches to contemporary dance, with the aim of providing audiences a starting point to understanding and appreciating this multi-faceted genre. More perspectives will be explored in upcoming episodes of this docuseries.

About the dancers


Anthea Seah

Anthea Seah is a full-time artist with T.H.E Dance Company. She performs the company’s existing repertoire and works with resident and guest choreographers to create original works. She has performed in Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, South Korean, Japan, Latvia, Poland and Italy. Anthea contributes to T.H.E’s Hollow Body methodology. Anthea has been sharing her practice through giving classes to T.H.E Second Company, Nanyang Technological University’s dance club, and other ad-hoc classes in the form of task-based workshops and technique classes for five years. Through instruction, she finds that a naturally broader and deeper of definition of practice develops. This leads Anthea to creation. It comes in varying formats: choreographic pieces, designing movement for film, directing full-length performances and making short films.


Christina Chan

Christina graduated summa cum laude from The Boston Conservatory in 2010 and was awarded the Arthur B. Whitney Medal for highest scholastic achievement, having previously trained at New Zealand School of Dance. She has worked with artists including Noa Zuk, Stephanie Lake, Sita Ostheimer, Byron Perry, Liu Yen Cheng, Matej Kejzar, Stephanie Batten Bland, Shahar Binyamini, Wallie Wolfgruber, Gabrielle Nankivell and more. She is currently also a dancer for the full-length Duet Replica created by Stephanie Lake, Chasm by Sita Ostheimer, Lewis Major Projects and Victor Fung Dance.

From 2012-2016 she was a full-time artist and the rehearsal director with Frontier Danceland where she created numerous repertory works which were performed locally and abroad, notably at invitation from CCN tours, France and at the platform Batsheva Hosts. Christina has also created four repertory works for Singapore Dance Theatre. Christina has co-created several works with French artist Aymeric Bichon under the collective dancemeasheep; most recently, the full-length work Of fish dreaming under the National Arts Council creation grant that was performed in Paris last year. Her work has taken her all over the world, to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, the USA, Africa and Asia.


Ryan Tan

Ryan Tan is recognised as one of the dance pioneers who revitalised the dance scene in Singapore. A visionary for his time, Ryan has been in the industry for over twenty years as a performer, choreographer and dance educator. In 2014, he founded The Royal Dance Off (TRDO), a youth contemporary dance company, and spearheaded numerous programs and shows to make contemporary dance relevant to the masses.

Ryan has directed and choreographed for several large-scale events such as the ASIA Games (2017), Chingay Parade (2017) and National Day Parade (2016, 2011, 2010), 28th & 27th S.E.A. Games Opening Ceremony (2015, 2013) and the Youth Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremony (2010). Ryan was also invited for four consecutive years to choreograph for the popular series So You Think You Can Dance - Vietnam (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016). He was also Resident Judge on the Mediacorp's reality dance show The Dance Floor Season 2 in 2016. Ryan is now pursuing his Masters in Dance Producing and Management in the UK and working as a Show Director for an upcoming theme park in Shen Zhen, China.


Yarra Ileto

Yarra graduated with a BA First Class Honours Degree in Performing Arts (Dance). Upon graduating, she joined T.H.E Dance Company as one of its full-time pioneer members from 2008 to January 2015. She has also choreographed works for T.H.E Main Company, T.H.E Second Company and several local universities and colleges. Yarra is a professional freelance dance artist, choreographer, lecturer and artistic director. In recent years, she has performed in M1 CONTACT Contemporary Dance Festival, M1 Fringe Festival and ArtScience Late. In 2017, she received the Young Artist Award, Singapore’s highest honour for young people in the arts. In 2020, Yarra graduated with an MA in Arts Pedagogy and Practice degree with Distinction.


Zhuo Zihao

An independent artist since 2016, Zihao’s exploration of how movement can enhance performance has extended his work beyond the dance scene. He's since worked with the disabled community, children, inmates and theatre practitioners. Zihao’s practice covers related topics, such as film-making, photography, set design, production management and music composition for his own works. A culmination of this was Felt Sense (2013), which merged 3D projection with live performance. The 2012 young Artist Award recipient co-produced Dance in Situ in 2015 with the aim of bringing dance to non-dance-goers with site-specific creations. In 2016, his work Being was selected by The Straits Times as one of the best works of that year.

Zihao studied contemporary dance at LaSalle College of the Arts in Singapore and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, both under scholarships. He started his professional practice as a resident artist with Odyssey Dance Theatre from 2000 to 2004 and subsequently as a founding member with T.H.E Dance Company from 2008 to 2016. With close to two decades of practice, Zihao is a known name in the scene, having worked with many renowned artists from all over the world. He is an Associate Artist with T.H.E Dance Company.


WHAT IS CHOREOGRAPHY?

What is choreography? Can we choreograph process?

Three sets of choreographers attempt to answer this question in an experiment that includes tasks, investigations and discussions for over six hours. By tracing and documenting their processes, this video hopes to offer a glimpse into the minds of choreographers, showcasing the nuances of choreography through multiple perspectives and approaches to creating movement and dance.

About the choreographers


Chloe Chua

Chloe graduated as one of the top scorers in the International Baccalaureate Career-related Program from the School of The Arts, Singapore (SOTA) in 2016. As of 2020, she studies at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee under merit scholarship and will earn her degree in the spring of 2021. She has worked with dance faculty members such as Marcus Schulkind, Ruka White, Kurt Douglas, Danielle Davidson and Daniel Pelzig. Chloe has attended dance intensives at The Juilliard School (2016), Batsheva Dance Company (2017/2018) and Nuova Officina Della Danza Summer Program (2019). She is privileged to have had the opportunity to work with esteemed choreographers such as Iratxa Ansa, Catherine Coury and Loni Landon, and to study the repertoire and works of Batsheva Dance Company and Martha Graham Dance Company. In an environment where interdisciplinary possibilities are endless, Chloe enjoys using this to her advantage by building connections and collaborating with artists from other art forms.


Norhaizad Adam

Norhaizad Adam is a dance artist and performance maker based in Singapore. He trained in Malay folk dance under the tutelage of Mr Azmi Juhari. Through contemporary reasoning, he has developed a post-dance artistic practice that observes how concepts of nationalism and traditionalism have affected the Malay body and its behaviour. He continually blurs the rules and transmission of the Malay folk form, thus subverting the way minority identity is constructed and sustained. He explores the strategy of dance performance and its existence within the society and community.

He has presented his works in Venice, Taipei, Paris, Melbourne, Vienna, Bandung and Singapore. Currently he is the Artistic Director of P7:1SMA Ltd, a local dance company centred on agency and pleasure in the social landscape.


ScRach MarcS

ScRach MarcS is the duo Rachel and Marcus, hence the name. They are established dancers in the street dance community in Singapore and constantly push the boundaries of the art form. They aim to make street dance accessible through their unique style and to connect the masses to the genre. ScRach MarcS is a fusion of street dance and contemporary arts that is unlike any other, bringing their audiences the best of both worlds. The duo won Channel 5's The Dance Floor Season 2 and presented to the public a new way of thinking about dance. They are also one of the only robotic/mannequin performing duos in the country. Allow them to bring you into their world through a journey of music and dance.


WHAT IS RASA?

Ever wondered how to describe that transcendental feeling that comes while watching a performance?

In the Indian treatise Natyasastra, the sage Bharata coins a term to encapsulate that very particular experience – rasa. Performed by various traditional dance groups in South and Southeast Asia, this video introduces the concept of rasa using episodes from the Ramayana, a Hindu epic that has had lasting and pervasive influence on the cultural practices of this region. 

LOCKDOWN JOURNALS: CHEN WU-KANG

Re-thinking dance and performance in the pandemic era

Produced by Cinemovement
An Esplanade Commission

In a tiny space surrounded by monitors, modems and a team of technicians, dance artist Chen Wu-kang oversees the production of 14, an ambitious new work that challenges the limits of performance live streaming. Far-removed from his audiences, Chen, the artistic director of one of Taiwan's most sought-after dance companies, HORSE, negotiates the boundaries between technology and art. In a work emblematic of the pandemic era, is the medium truly the message?

14 is available online until 31 Oct 2021, Sun, 11.59pm. Watch it here.

About the artists

Cinemovement
Founded by artist Elysa Wendi and film producer Jeremy Chua in 2016, Cinemovement is initiated as an artist-run platform for artists to explore interdisciplinary propositions between the dance and film practices in a laboratory, residency and artistic research setting. Cinemovement was supported by the National Arts Council under the Seed Grant Scheme from 2017 – 2020. More about Cinemovement here.

Liao Jiekai (Co-director)
Liao Jiekai is a filmmaker and artist based in Singapore and Tokyo. He received his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008, and co-founded film collective 13 Little Pictures upon returning to Singapore. His short and feature films were widely screened in international film festivals such as Tokyo, Shanghai, Torino, Nantes and Buenos Aires, most notably Red Dragonflies which won the Special Jury Prize at the Jeonju International Film Festival. In 2012, he received the Young Artist Award for filmmaking from the National Arts Council of Singapore. In 2020, he received a Master degree for film directing from Tokyo University of the Arts, having studied under film directors Kurosawa Kiyoshi and Suwa Nobuhiro.

Elysa Wendi (Co-director)
Elysa Wendi is a dance artist and filmmaker working between Singapore and Hong Kong. Preoccupied with the abstraction of memory from place, time and biographical traces, Wendi explores these themes in her live and filmic works. Straddling between disciplines, Wendi develops her films with a choreographic eye and performative approach. Her short film 1958 Delivery won the Best Experimental Film award at the 2018 South Taiwan Film Festival, and her film Forgive or Not to Forgive won Best Documentary at Hong Kong Art House Film Festival 2020. She co-founded Cinemovement, a platform for inter-disciplinary film creation together with film producer Jeremy Chua in 2015.

Jeremy Chua (Producer)
Jeremy Chua is a Singaporean film producer and screenwriter. Since 2014, he founded Potocol, a film company focused on development and co-production of independent Asian films. He is an alumnus of EAVE Ties That Bind 2013, Produire au sud 2016, Berlinale Talents 2017, SEAFIC 2017 and Torino Film Lab 2018. He works under Marco Mueller's programme team at Pingyao International Film Festival and has been a programme consultant for Sheffield Documentary Festival UK. He co-founded Cinemovement, a platform for inter-disciplinary film creation together with artist Elysa Wendi in 2015.

Chiu Chih Hua (Cinematographer, Taiwan)
Chiu Chih Hua is a visual artist based in Taipei. Chiu's works are focused on the research of images, which contain static or dynamic, real or virtual material. His previous works capture the urban perspective through a single channel video shooting, inspired by documentary photography. In 2007, Chiu was admitted to the New Media Department of Fine Arts, Master school at Taipei University of the Arts, and devoted his passion in image creation. He then gradually shifts the image from real scenery to model set-up.


ALL OUR DANCING BODIES

When you think of dance, who comes to mind?

When you think of dance, what do you think of? Is it the movement? The music or a story? Does a certain image come to mind? What sort of dancer do you picture? Do you think of yourself as a dancer? In this video, four dancers Jaspreet, Michael, Stephanie and Su go up against preconceived notions of a dancer and his or her body, taking you through their experiences and connections with dance—each of them with a different story to tell. And in dancing and enjoying their bodies, they redefine what dance can be.

About the artists & writer

Jaspreet Kaur
Jaspreet is a founding member of Diverse Abilities Dance Collective (DADC) when it first started in 2018. She most recently was a co-choreographer with Eva Tey, and a panel speaker for SEEDS 2021, a new initiative created by Maya Dance Theatre with DADC to bring disability arts to foreground. She also danced in Speaking With Hands, DADC’s first production, working with Liz Lea from Canberra, Australia with the support of Asialink. One of her first steps into the professional sphere was through Small Steps, co-choreographed by Shahrin Johry and Hafeez Hassan, which was featured in 2013 for Release 2.0 by Maya Dance Theatre. She then went on to perform the piece for Momentum by Republic Polytechnic in 2013, and for Bold Festival in Canberra, Australia, in 2017. Recently, she danced in Saarang Festival 2020 in Chennai, India, while co-leading DADC for an exchange with Down Syndrome Federation of India (DSFI). In 2020, Jaspreet was involved as the organising committee of Purple Parade, and also represented DADC to perform for President's Challenge 2020.

Other than performing, Jaspreet also has 16 years of work experience in a kindergarten, which she applies in her dance classes for children at The Artground and Pathlight as a dance instructor, together with main trainers from Maya Dance Theatre. Jaspreet was a speaker for the UN Conference on World Down Syndrome Day in 2014 and for Having a Say Conference 2018 in Geelong, Australia. Soon, she will be starting a series of articles for DADC, sharing about her thoughts and experiences as an artist and self-advocate.


Stephanie Burridge
Like so many dancers of my generation, I was inspired by the 1948 ballet movie ‘The Red Shoes’.  My Russian ballet teacher embodied the magic, passion and theatricality of the dance world and at the age four and a half I performed in a giant tutu on stage at the Theatre Royal in Hobart, Tasmania; Australia’s oldest working theatre. My dance journey continues with many twists and trajectories along the way over several decades.

Stephanie was the Artistic Director of Canberra Dance Theatre (1978-2001) and was awarded the first Choreographic Fellowship at the Australian Choreographic Centre and a Canberra (ACT) Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the arts. She has choreographed for television, opera, musical theatre, and gymnastic floor routines for Australia across three Olympic Games.  Her current work focuses on inter-generational dance with recent performances in Singapore and Australia on stage and via digital platforms.

She has lived in Singapore for over twenty years, lectures at LASALLE College of the Arts and Singapore Management University and is a dance critic and writer including Series Editor for Routledge collections Celebrating Dance in Asia and the Pacific, and Perspectives on Dance, Young People and Change, Series Foreword by Sir Ken Robinson. Her most recent publications are the Routledge Companion to Dance in Asia and the Pacific: Platforms for Change  (ed. Stephanie Burridge).


Michael Wong
Michael Wong, a former Civil Servant, started with jazz ballet during his NUS undergraduate days under the tutelage of Ms Teresa Pee, and later received classical ballet training under Ms Sylvia McCully, and did Chinese Dance under Mr Zhou Lei and Ms Ding Hong. He has performed in numerous productions by the Sylvia McCully School of Dancing, the Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT), the Theatre Arts Troupe and the NUS Chinese Dance. He has performed overseas in Switzerland, Korea, Mauritius and China.

His choreographies have been presented in SDT’s Passages Choreographic Workshop, Ballet Under The Stars pre-show segment, NUS Arts Festival and various productions by the Sylvia McCully School of Dancing, the Theatre Arts Troupe and NUS Chinese Dance. He enjoys travelling around the world to watch dance performances.


Su Mon Myat Aung
As a Burmese who grew up in Singapore, Su had not been in touch with Burmese cultural arts until 2016 when she became one of the founding members of Kumudra Myanmar Arts & Cultural Association. Kumudra is a cultural organisation made up of young Myanmar individuals living in Singapore who have a passion to perform, and are keen on promoting Myanmar tradition and culture to both Myanmar and international communities in Singapore.

Since joining Kumudra, Su has performed traditional Burmese dance in many occasions held across Singapore, including ASEAN ARTS OF WONDER, AFCC, and Singapore Street Festival. Su's dance journey did not just stop at dancing as she frequently devoted herself in training and teaching Burmese dance to the keen learners together with other members from Kumudra. Besides being a full-time civil engineering planner/designer, she is also a passionate dancer of other genres such as modern dance, dancehall and afro.


Bernice Lee (Researcher & Writer)
Bernice is an artist, performer, writer, and dance practitioner. She is co-director of Derring-Do Dance with Faye Lim. They are known for their Rolypoly Family and Body Smarts Through Movement Arts programmes.

Bernice sees art-making as a form of social activism and roots her labours in improvisation, playing in connection between thought, feeling, and movement. She can be found playing as @bleelly on Instagram. Bernice began to dance domestically as part of her online movement practice #ghosting. It was her way of remaking her roles as “wife” and “working artist”. Now a new mother, she has recast herself as MAMAMILKMACHINETM.

From 2011–2017, she performed and created with Maya Dance Theatre and Frontier Danceland. Bernice has a joint practice with theatre practitioner Chong Gua Khee, manifest as Tactility Studies. Tactility Studies: Hold to Reset, was part of Singapore International Festival of Arts 2021. An Associate Member of Dance Nucleus (2018-2020), Bernice holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) in Dance from The Ohio State University. She is an MA Fine Arts candidate at Lasalle College of the Arts. For more, visit bernicelee.xyz.


LOCKDOWN JOURNALS: EISA JOCSON

Rethinking performance and dance in the pandemic era

Produced by Cinemovement
An Esplanade Commission

Dancer and Choreographer Eisa Jocson relocated to the idyllic countryside after completing the first presentations of Manila Zoo. She spends her time surfing and being in the wild. Reflecting on "live-ness" of nature and water, she discusses her working relationship with technology to create an experience of collective spectatorship in the time of pandemic.

About the artists

Cinemovement
Founded by artist Elysa Wendi and film producer Jeremy Chua in 2016, Cinemovement is initiated as an artist-run platform for artists to explore interdisciplinary propositions between the dance and film practices in a laboratory, residency and artistic research setting. Cinemovement was supported by the National Arts Council under the Seed Grant Scheme from 2017 – 2020. More about Cinemovement here.

Liao Jiekai (Co-director)
Liao Jiekai is a filmmaker and artist based in Singapore and Tokyo. He received his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008, and co-founded film collective 13 Little Pictures upon returning to Singapore. His short and feature films were widely screened in international film festivals such as Tokyo, Shanghai, Torino, Nantes and Buenos Aires, most notably Red Dragonflies which won the Special Jury Prize at the Jeonju International Film Festival. In 2012, he received the Young Artist Award for filmmaking from the National Arts Council of Singapore. In 2020, he received a Master degree for film directing from Tokyo University of the Arts, having studied under film directors Kurosawa Kiyoshi and Suwa Nobuhiro.

Elysa Wendi (Co-director)
Elysa Wendi is a dance artist and filmmaker working between Singapore and Hong Kong. Preoccupied with the abstraction of memory from place, time and biographical traces, Wendi explores these themes in her live and filmic works. Straddling between disciplines, Wendi develops her films with a choreographic eye and performative approach. Her short film 1958 Delivery won the Best Experimental Film award at the 2018 South Taiwan Film Festival, and her film Forgive or Not to Forgive won Best Documentary at Hong Kong Art House Film Festival 2020. She co-founded Cinemovement, a platform for inter-disciplinary film creation together with film producer Jeremy Chua in 2015.

Jeremy Chua (Producer)
Jeremy Chua is a Singaporean film producer and screenwriter. Since 2014, he founded Potocol, a film company focused on development and co-production of independent Asian films. He is an alumnus of EAVE Ties That Bind 2013, Produire au sud 2016, Berlinale Talents 2017, SEAFIC 2017 and Torino Film Lab 2018. He works under Marco Mueller's programme team at Pingyao International Film Festival and has been a programme consultant for Sheffield Documentary Festival UK. He co-founded Cinemovement, a platform for inter-disciplinary film creation together with artist Elysa Wendi in 2015.

Dennese Victoria (Cinematographer, the Philippines)
Born in October 1991, Dennese Victoria is an artist living and working in the Philippines. Working across photography, moving image and installation, her work touches on truth, memory, personal history, and the exchanges that occur between herself and those that are reached by the forming and the sharing of her work. Receiving a degree in Journalism from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila in 2012, she has since worked as an educator, cultural worker, and cinematographer, including filming for Shireen Seno’s second feature, Nervous Translation.


AND SO WE DANCE TOO – A FEATURETTE

Migrant workers on their lived experiences

The migrant community in Singapore is oftentimes as distant from the public eye as the workers are from their families, friends and cultures. From the strict movement protocols that they follow to their living conditions and mental health, the events that transpired this past year have surfaced a different experience of the pandemic for them.

Their conversations and stories are shared in and so we dance, a work commissioned by Esplanade's da:ns festival in 2021. This social project wove their life experiences and stories into a devised performance using dance as a medium, revealing their strengths, vulnerabilities and hopes for the future. At times reflective, emotional and playful, and so we dance was created in collaboration with dance choreographer Dapheny Chen and community theatre practitioner Serena Ho, shedding light on the lives of the people behind Singapore’s largely invisible workforce, who are part of our community.

This featurette brings us through this journey, documenting their resilience and dedication.

This piece is a patchwork of lived experiences—a celebration of universal moments that provide us with intersections, and an investigation of the idiosyncratic that makes us unique and human.

Serena Ho, Dramaturg / Co-Director of and so we dance

About the filmmaker & artists

See Joo Teng (JOOTZ), Documentary Filmmaker
Jootz’s foray into photography and filmmaking was kindled during his days as a street dance performer and educator. His ability to adapt the lens from the performing arts to the visual arts has equipped him with a unique skill set to approach his craft through different perspectives. Intrigued by the art of storytelling, he constantly experiments with different mechanisms to reinforce the building blocks of his practice. Jootz’s works are shaped by the stories he encountered over the years through connecting and engaging with people from different walks of life. His films seek to not only exhibit realism but also provide the space for imagination and reflection. Most recently, he has worked with the Esplanade team for da:ns festival 2020 – Open Call, Moonfest – A Mid-Autumn Celebration 2020 and Huayi – Chinese Festival of Arts 2021.

Dapheny Chen, Choreographer / Co-Director
Dapheny Chen is an independent dance artist who negotiates between the roles of a choreographer, performer, educator and manager.She is concerned about the provocations, connections and criticality that arise from making and viewing dance. Breaking away from her conventional dance training, she examines socio-political ideologies to navigate the possibilities of contemporary dance, while seeking to create alternative nodes of experience and entry points as conversations for change and knowledge. Her practice embraces the multiple facets of choreography and dance that change with time and state. While acknowledging the agile and transient nature of processes involved in creation, she breaks down previous definitions of the form to reform new experiences. Dapheny graduated from LASALLE College of the Arts. She has since danced with Ah Hock and Peng Yu (2004), L.A. Dance Connection (2003–2008), Frontier Danceland (2010–2011) and Re:Dance Theatre (2012–2015). She is trained in contemporary dance, ballet, jazz, hip hop and salsa.

Serena Ho, Dramaturg / Co-Director
Serena Ho is a director and facilitator. She started her career as an actor and has since worked at many schools and theatre companies. She is also a teacher at School of the Arts (SOTA). She derives joy from collaborating with various communities. She enjoys work that is based on real life experiences and aims to realise new forms of empowerment through process work in classrooms and rehearsals.


About the performers

Arlene Cabelin
My name is Arlene Cyril J. Cabelin, and I was born on 8 November 1971 in Manila, the Philippines. I currently reside in Singapore, working as a domestic worker. When I was living in the Philippines, I attended the Central Colleges of the Philippines, where I attended high school and eventually attained a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. I like biking, dancing and swimming, and I try to participate in these activities while in Singapore. I also try to improve and upgrade myself by attending courses at Aidha, a non-profit organisation that provides financial literacy and self-development programmes for foreign domestic workers. I plan to continue improving her skills and expanding my knowledge while in Singapore, so that I can start a business of my own when I return home.

Jocelyn Mompal
I’m Jocelyn Mompal and I was born in the Philippines. I have been working in Singapore for nearly 20 years. I came to Singapore to work as I wanted to achieve my goal of providing a better future for my three children. I like both dance and drama. I have attended financial literacy and computer skills classes with non-profit organisation Aidha and graduated from their programme in 2009. In 2014, I was chosen by the organisation as their Deputy Campus Manager to help run their education centre. Now, I am undergoing leadership training to increase my confidence. I feel that my 20 years of working has been worth it as I have achieved my goal. I have built my own house and my children have completed their studies. I look forward to returning to the Philippines to reunite with my family and to work on my business there.

Lolita Galon Torayno
My name is Lolita Galon Torayno and I am 36 years old. I am originally from the Philippines and have been in Singapore for seven years. I enjoy working here as I like the culture. In my spare time, I enjoy watching movies, listening to music and going out with friends. I also like trying and experiencing different types of food. I like beaches, I love animals, and I really enjoy traveling and taking photos. I enjoy walking as exercising. I am friendly and family-oriented, and I am the person who always tries to be in good spirits. I consider myself a fun person and different from anyone you know!

Wiwik Susanti Lestari
I am 38 years old and a divorcee with two kids. I have been working in Singapore for roughly ten years. I work here to give my parents and children a better life. I want to provide a better environment for my children to grow up in and to get a good education, so they have a brighter future. I also wish for my parents to be happy for the rest of their lives as they get old. That is my biggest wish: happiness for my family.

Wiwik Tri Winarsih
Wiwi Tri is from Kediri, East Java Indonesia. She has been working in Singapore as a domestic helper since 2004. She developed a passion for theatre and writing since she was very young. She is a member of The Birds Migrant Theatre, a theatre group by migrant workers in Singapore. Beside writing and acting, she wanted to explore more about stage performance. Dance is not new for her, but to dance at her age now is a challenge for her and she believes nothing is impossible in this world as long as one works hard on it.

Sukempi Widya Hastuti
Sukempi Widya is an Indonesian, working in Singapore as a domestic helper. She has a passion for performing stage dramas. She has been performing in choirs and has danced on a few occasions. She is a member of a dance group which was one of the finalists in We Got Talent a competition organised by Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST) a few years ago. She has liked to dance and perform since she was young. She loves to read, watch drama, and listen to music.

Deni Apriyani
Deni Apriyani is from Indramayu, Indonesia. She has been working as a domestic worker in Singapore since 2013. Her hobbies include watching comedies, drawing weird characters, as well as writing and reading. She loves being kidnapped by the depths of her mind.

Omar Sakib
I am from Dhaka, Bangladesh. I have been living in Singapore for more than a decade. I am a Safety Professional.During my free time, I would love to go to the beach and swim, hanging out with friends and family, holding BBQ parties and learning new skills. I also enjoy creative pursuits, volunteering, social activities and traveling. I am grateful and a responsible person. I am good at letting people know they matter. I look for positivity in all things. I treat others the way I want to be treated. I believe in myself and I follow my heart. Dance triggers positive energy in me and brings good vibes. It helps improve my emotional state and reduces my perception of pain. Basically, dance is my cure for sadness.

Sugi Mustiarjo
Sugiarti Mustiarjo is from Central Java, Indonesia. She loves photography and hiking. She has joined the local hiking community and explores Singapore’s wildlife while listening to the history of Singapore. She finds that writing drains her brain from the over flooding of words in her mind. Otherwise, they would be stuck in her mind for days, weeks or months. She loves her dog Rufus to the moon and back.

Islam Taufiqul
When I come home from work, I enjoy that time very much. I do a little exercise, and at the same time I cook something to eat. I talk to my family and cook dinner at the same time, and take a bath after. I also like watching movies and dramas. Sometimes, I go around on my bicycle. When I have more time, I like to go outside to eat and travel.

Kader Mohammad Abdul (Zilani)
My name is Kader Mohammad Abdul (AK Zilani) born in Comilla, Bangladesh. I came to Singapore in 2010 when I was 18 years old and worked as a construction worker. In my free time, I love to read and write and I aim to be an inspiring social activist and human rights defender.I like to be alone in my free time. I like to sit by a lake or park and listen to heavy metal on high volume with my headphones.However, sometimes I do expect companionship, meaningful and intelligent companionship. Someone with whom I can sit and talk tirelessly for hours about the life cycle of a dung beetle who lives its entire life in a pile of poop.

Haque Wizamul (Nizam)
I like to spend my free time listening to music and watching dance videos. I also like humanity. In my home country, there were many opportunities and audiences for me. However, in Singapore I have few platforms available and most of my audience are friends on social media. As long as these friends give me good comments about my dance, that is my happiness.


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