Dancing across boundaries

Dancing across boundaries
Local dancers and choreographers showcase their talent in Seasons.

Contemporary dance company Odyssey Dance Theatre has been encouraging cross-cultural exchanges with its biennial festival, Danzinc - International Dancers & Choreographers' Residency Festival.

This sixth edition, which runs from May to November, features 50 participants from six countries. They have been presenting professional shows, master classes, artist dialogues, exhibitions and workshops.

Since it started in 2004, Danzinc has expanded from a two-month programme into a six-month residency with six major platforms.

These are the Singapore choreographers' platform, the international collaboration platform, the international choreographers' platform, the community and youth engagement platform, international presentation and residency and the festival finale.

International collaboration is a highlight of the festival, with dancers from overseas partner companies participating in the various programmes such as performances and master classes.

Odyssey Dance Theatre's artistic director Danny Tan says he wants to support "the artists in a larger context" through the six-month programme.

His aim is to help them develop their craft in a more sustainable way, by letting them be part of a longer-term cultural exchange rather than just performing.

"In many festivals, the artists usually come to perform and leave shortly after," he says. "We want to allow them more time to understand the cultural norms in Singapore."

Next month's performance highlights include Seasons, a work by Odyssey Dance Theatre's choreographers, on Aug 15 and Forte In Resonance II, an instalment of Asian-European contemporary works, on Aug 16.

The second work forms the International Collaboration Platform of the festival. It brings together choreographed works by Singaporean artists and Motus Dance Company from Italy.

The two groups had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2012 to facilitate more exchanges of programming and artists between Asia and Europe.

Motus Dance Company artistic director Simona Cieri, one of the choreographers of Forte In Resonance II, says: "The work we did together is not only for the production of professional shows, but also for the growth of young dancers in different countries. We are investing in the future."

While having the international artists at the festival promotes the sharing of cultures and creativity, the local dancers and choreographers also have the opportunity to showcase their talent and originality through the Singapore choreographers' platform.

Seasons was choreographed by Tan and Odyssey Dance Theatre's resident choreographers.

One of them, Calvin Goh, 21, says: "Seasons assembles the profound and distinctive voices of three generations of Singaporean artists."

The music and dance presentation will be performed by the ODT Young Company and a live string quartet from Odyssey Dance Theatre's associate artists.

Tan sees the all-Singaporean work as a new and unique expression of Singaporean contemporary dance.

"Singaporean artists of different arts practice with different interpretations come together to make sense of their Singaporean voices to present a clear artistic style and identity," he says.

Book it

Seasons

Where: University Cultural Centre Theatre, National University of Singapore

When: Aug 15, 8pm

Admission: S$38 from www.ticketbooth.com.sg (student and senior citizen prices available at Ticketbooth outlets)

Forte in Resonance II

Where: University Cultural Centre Theatre, National University of Singapore

When: Aug 16, 8pm

Admission: S$38 from www.ticketbooth.com.sg (student and senior citizen prices available at Ticketbooth outlets)


This article was first published on July 19, 2014.
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