Message from da:ns team
da:ns festival was established by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay in 2005 when awareness about dance was not widespread. At the time, the festival format allowed us to attract audiences, introduce diverse dance genres, show the different ways bodies can dance and ultimately build a foundation of dance knowledge among our local audiences.
After 17 editions of da:ns festivals, we can say we have successfully built a strong following, and audiences have matured in their knowledge of the artform. We are now ready to bring our audiences to the next level of appreciation with da:ns focus—with five weekends of dance programmes throughout the year, each focusing on a particular theme or genre. The programmes, experiences and activities within each weekend will offer focused explorations and opportunities for counterpoints, dialogues and perspectives.
To kick-start da:ns focus, we open with EveryBody (14 – 16 Apr 2023). The idea of the perfect body is one that has been perpetuated in dance. EveryBody focuses on works created with inclusivity and diversity in mind, featuring dance projects that work with and empower diversely abled dancing bodies and non-professionals. The weekend will include participatory programmes and accessibility features for selected programmes, such as Relaxed Environment, Sign Language Interpretation and wheelchair access. Through EveryBody, we hope to bring across the message that all of us have the ability to dance and enjoy dance.
For contemporary dance, our programming takes a thematic approach focused on concepts and connection. This approach is important as contemporary dance is a constantly evolving and open form, and creative approaches differ vastly. For our first contemporary dance presentation under da:ns focus, we have titled the weekend Body Language (5 – 7 May 2023), focusing on the interplay between dance and text, and examining the dynamics when these forms become the key drivers of a creation.
We also remain committed to supporting local and Asian dancemakers and dedicate a weekend to spotlight contemporary dance works by some of the most exciting and inspiring Asian dance artists. With CAN – Connect Asia Now (13 – 15 Oct 2023), we will be profiling distinct voices and creative impulses from the region and offer CAN as a gathering for connection—within Asia, and between Asia and the rest of the world.
Singapore’s street dance scene is very vibrant and active. After three successful editions of FULL OUT! performances (da:ns festival 2019, 2021 & 2022), we are expanding it further into FL/OW – The FULL OUT Weekend (1 – 3 Dec 2023). During this weekend, street dance lovers will get to experience the form’s diverse facets through performances, cyphers/battles and workshops with some of the best local and international artists. Beyond giving the community a sense of pride and belonging, we’d also like to expand the idea of what street dance can be beyond the conventional. In time to come, we look forward to embracing more movement-based street cultures and subcultures.
Lastly, Ballet by the Bay (Mar 2024) will enthral ballet lovers with world-class productions of classics and neo-classical works. Through our ballet presentations, we want to introduce new perspectives on this celebrated form, and also pay attention to diversity, including female leaders in ballet.
Some of our da:ns focus themes, such as EveryBody, Ballet by the Bay and Connect Asia Now, will be presented annually, as there are opportunities for deeper growth and exploration for these forms and focuses. Weekends such as FL/OW – The FULL OUT Weekend will happen regularly on alternate years, while we will present contemporary dance with a fresh and different thematic focus every year. We also look forward to dedicating weekends to other celebrated forms and focuses, such as flamenco or dance & technology in the years to come.
We are excited by the possibilities that da:ns focus brings. It pushes us into fresh ways of thinking, creating and programming; enables us to attract new audiences and deepen existing audiences’ appreciation for dance; as well as explore connections and threads within a thematic focus, and further more partnerships. Whether you are curious novices or long-time dance supporters, we invite you to join us in this new chapter with da:ns focus!
The Esplanade Co Ltd
About da:ns focus
After 17 years of da:ns festival, Esplanade’s beloved platform transforms into da:ns focus – an exciting year-round season of five themed weekends. Experience interconnected programmes that offer their own counterpoints, dialogues and encounters in a focused exploration.
da:ns focus 2023 consists of the following weekends:
With 17 programmes over three days, EveryBody focuses on dance with inclusivity, diversity and participation, featuring projects that work with and empower diversely-abled dancing bodies and non-professionals. The weekend also offers accessibility features for selected programmes, such as Relaxed Environment, Sign Language Interpretation and wheelchair access. Through EveryBody, we wish to convey the message that all of us have the ability to dance.
Body Language features two Asian premieres by groundbreaking artists that anchor this season of programmes and transport us to the familiar yet electrifying spaces between language and the body. Through this weekend, we explore how various practices and forms of movement, dance, choreography, text, speech and writing meet, and witness the dynamics and possibilities that emerge through these encounters. With a thematic focus that brings together the poetics of different disciplines, we also hope to introduce more entry points for dance to be experienced and appreciated.
A spotlight on contemporary dance works by Asian artists, this gathering focuses on distinct voices and creative impulses from the region.
Go FULL OUT with diverse facets of street dance through performances, workshops, battles and parties! Expand your idea of what street dance can be beyond the conventional.
A ballet lovers’ weekend of classics and neo-classical works. Be inspired by world-class productions and be introduced to new perspectives on this celebrated art form. Stay tuned for more programme information.
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