Dance lift-off in da:ns fest

Dance lift-off in da:ns fest
Rian by Irish troupe Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre will be staged as part of da:ns festival which will be held from 11 - 20 October 2013.

SINGAPORE - Watch the Esplanade stage come alight with dazzling footwork and sinuous bodies this October as the annual da:ns festival is staged for the eighth time.

Headlining the 10-day programme this year are three international dance acts: a double bill by Brazilian company Grupo Corpo, Rian by Irish troupe Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre and Gala Flamenca from Spain, directed by Angel Rojas.

The trio of works are presented under the Centrestage banner and will be performed at the Esplanade Theatre or Concert Hall.

For Centrestage, the festival's associate producer Faith Tan looks "for key choreographers, dance companies and large-scale productions that will inspire the audience and dancers in Singapore".

The 30-year-old says that the Centrestage acts this year each brings "a distinct approach to dance that is strongly inspired by their homeland".

She explains: "Grupo Corpo's dance steps feature the unmistakable fire and rhythm of Brazil, while Fabulous Beast dancers perform to rich melodic Celtic music.

"And finally, the Spanish passion is embodied in the flamenco gala which closes the festival."

Aside from those three programmes, there will be six ticketed performances at other venues at the Esplanade as well as a series of workshops - free and ticketed - which will teach the public a variety of dance styles such as swing, hip-hop and reggae.

A festival dedicated solely to dance may have seemed like a tough sell in its early years, but attendance at da:ns has been growing steadily since its inaugural edition in 2006.

Then, it drew a crowd of 50,000. The audience has since grown by 50 per cent to more than 75,000 last year, giving it a mid-sized following compared to the arts centre's larger annual festivals like Huayi, the Chinese arts extravaganza which drew 92,000 this year and 140,000 last year.

Ms Tan puts this in perspective: "While we are happy that the numbers have grown, we are, however, more mindful that it is not just the numbers that matter, but also the depth of these arts experiences and how our audiences can grow with us."

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