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Art in the time of COVID-19: A guide to da:ns festival 2020

Credit – da:ns festival

It’s no secret that the Arts scene in all its shape and form has taken a huge hit during the time of COVID-19. With all the safety measures in place to ensure the safety of patrons, the idea of a dance festival might not seem plausible. But it’s through these trying times that perhaps our creative spirit shines brighter than ever.

We’ve already seen how three of Singapore’s theatre bigwigs pivoted for an unexpected collaboration, The Pitch. Following in the same spirit of creative pivots is this year’s da:ns festival 2020. From 12 October 2020 till 31 October 2020, da:ns festival has commissioned and will present some of the most respected and celebrated dance artists from around the world to put up a showcase unlike any other.

With the help of technology and SISTIC Live, this year’s festival invites you to rediscover dance, movement, and choreography in new and unexpected ways. For those wondering, SISTIC Live is SISTIC’s new streaming platform that allows you to stream productions online so you enjoy unparalleled access to live entertainment anywhere.

So, if you’re new to dance, don’t fret. We’ll let you in on all the right moves for maximum enjoyment at this year’s da:ns festival.


1. The Escape Game

Credit – s**t kingz

Here for an encore after their debut performance last year, is Japanese group s**t kingz with The Escape Game. This Japanese group is known for blending comedy theatre with silky dance moves that are sure to whisk you away.

This year, s**t kingz premieres their very first dance film at the festival. The Escape Game shoots for comedy gold in this wild dance adventure that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Dates and times: Premieres 23 October 2020, 8 pm on SISTIC Live and runs till 31 October 2020, 11.59 pm

Price: S$15 per pax

2. Dancing at Dusk – A Moment with Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring

Credit – © polyphem Filmproduktion

If you only have time for one programme, let it be this one. Dancing at Dusk – A Moment with Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring is a riveting and stunning film that captures the last rehearsal of Pina Bausch’s iconic The Rite of Spring as the world descended into lockdown. Very relatable, we know.

The rehearsal is filmed on a beach in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal and features 38 dancers from 14 African countries. Watch their haunting and magnetic performance set against the backdrop of the setting sun—it’s striking, stirring, and definitely a performance you won’t forget.

Dates and times: Premieres 12 October 2020, 8 pm on SISTIC Live and runs till 31 October 2020, 11.59 pm

Price: S$12 per pax

3. Friedemann Vogel – Incarnation of Dance

Credit – Film Still from Friedemann Vogel – Incarnation of Dance

I do relish a documentary and here we get a glimpse behind the curtain with Friedmann Vogel. If you haven’t heard of him before today, after this film, you’ll know all about this superstar of the ballet world.

Directed by Katja Trautwein, Friedemann Vogel – Incarnation of Dance documents Vogel’s life for over 6 months in 2018 as he embarks on his world tour. We are offered an intimate look at the important figures that shaped Vogel’s life and the sheer celebrity of his reputation.

Dates and times: Premieres 12 October 2020, 8 pm on SISTIC Live and runs till 31 October 2020, 11.59 pm

Price: S$12 per pax

4. The Intervention of Loneliness (Lockdown Edition)


Credit – The Intervention of Loneliness (Lockdown Edition)

An audience-collaborative performance and one for our times, The Intervention of Loneliness (Lockdown Edition) re-examines the idea of intimacy and touch in our pandemic-stricken world.

In Ming Poon’s seminal 2019 work, Dance with Me, he travelled to different cities asking strangers to slow dance with him. This lockdown edition sees him doing the same thing—except this time, it’s slow dancing with strangers over popular video calling software, Zoom.

It is an experiment about human relationships, society, and asks the perennial question: When we have to remember how it feels to hold someone in our arms, how do we still make sense of ourselves and the world?

Dates and times: 16 & 17 October 2020, 8 pm on SISTIC Live (Zoom)

Price: S$15 per pax

Hold on, it gets better. Sign up as an Esplanade&Me member for free, and get S$5 off any da:ns festival programme. There are different tiers to your Esplanade perks, so do you check them out here.

In a time where the world seems bleak and grey, let this year’s da:ns festival show you that joy still exists in these seemingly dark times.

*This post is brought to you in partnership with da:ns festival


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