The best of Indian dance

THE Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) returns with the theme POST-Empire. Featuring eight Cultural Medallion recipients and many Young Artist Award winners, the festival explores what comes after empires like colonial regimes, dictatorships and communism.

The inter-generational festival brings diverse ethnic communities together, reflecting the aspirations of Singapore's different communities and supporting the festival's value of being an inclusive society.

SIFA brings together icons of the Indian dance scene in Singapore and Kerala in kathakali performances by Bhaskar's Arts Academy and Kerala Kalamandalam.

Five Indian choreographers are also featured in Dance Marathon: Open With A Punk Spirit! which invites 14 choreographers on a journey to archive their own dances and share these with other choreographers.

Here are some of the highlights of the festival, which runs from Aug 6 to Sept 19.

Smriti Padha (Memory Route)

Kerala Kalamandalam's finest dancers and dancers from Bhaskar's Arts Academy perform choreography by Singapore dance legend Santha Bhaskar, weaving a tapestry of war, revenge, love and peace through kathakali, kalaripayattu (a form of martial arts) and mohiniyattam (a classical dance form from Kerala).

When: Sept 4 and 5, 8pm

Where: Victoria Theatre

Dawn Training, Make-Up and Costume Demonstration

Join kathakali dancers from Kerala Kalamandalam and Bhaskar's Arts Academy in an early-morning practice session.

Gain insights into the unique aesthetics of the dance form in the intricate application of kathakali make-up and the donning of elaborate costumes. When: Aug 29, 5am with breakfast at 7am

Where: Fort Canning Park

Wall Dancing

Choreographed by Padmini Chettur, the dancers assume different configurations within the space, allowing the viewers absolute mobility at all times.

When: Aug 22, 3pm and Aug 23, 3pm

Where: 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road

A Male Ant Has Straight Antennae

This ensemble dance piece explores notions of masculinity through stereotypes, games, touch and relationships. It is choreographed by dance practitioner Mandeep Raikhy.

When: Aug 26 and 27, 8pm

Where: 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road

Eyes Open. Eyes Closed. (a.k.a. Traitriot)

This solo performance, choreographed by Venuri Pereira, plays with multiple existences of the body as a carrier of political and symbolic order, as well as a vessel of resistance.

When: Sept 1, 8pm

Where: School of the Arts Studio Theatre Future Memory

Choreographed and performed by Rani Nair, this solo piece utilises dance, spoken text, film and singing to embrace the possibility of an alternative history.

When: Sept 2, 8pm

Where: 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road

Light Doesn't Have Arms To Carry Us

This performance proposes a way of interpreting music as something to be seen rather than heard. It is choreographed and performed by Preethi Athreya.

When: Sept 3, 8pm

Where: School of the Arts Studio Theatre

For more information, log on to

Get a copy of tabla! for more stories.