da:ns focus 2023: Esplanade to feature 5 weekends of dance programmes over a year

The dance programmes will begin in Apr, 2023 and wrap up in Mar, 2024.

Amanda Tan

Published: 17 March 2023, 3:37 PM

After 17 editions of the da:ns festival, which was first established in 2005 to raise awareness on dance in Singapore, Esplanade will bring audiences to “ the next level of appreciation” with da:ns focus.

It features five weekends of dance programmes over the course of a year, each focusing on a particular theme or genre.

Here’s a brief look at the programmes:

EveryBody (Apr 14 to 16 Apr)

Kick-starting da:ns focus is EveryBody, which aims to convey that dance can be experienced and enjoyed by “everybody” and “every body”.


The idea of the perfect body is one that has been perpetuated in dance. Through EveryBody, Esplanade hopes to bring across the message that all of us have the ability to dance and enjoy dance. PHOTO CREDIT: KEN CHEONG


The opening weekend’s programmes focus on dance with inclusivity, diversity and participation, empowering the diversely-abled dancing bodies and non-professionals. It will include participatory programmes and accessibility features for selected programmes, such as Relaxed Environment, Sign Language Interpretation and wheelchair access.

The No Limits Battle by ILL-Abilities, an international all-star breakdance crew comprising differently-abled dancers, allows participants to battle with some of the best homegrown break-dancers in Singapore.


Drawing inspiration from hip hop culture, the “ill” in ILL-Abilities does not mean “sick” or “unwell”. Rather, it refers to something positive, in this instance the incredible talent and dance abilities of the crew. PHOTO CREDIT: KIEN QUAN


The rule of the exhibition battle is for dancers to spin a wheel labelled with constraints and aids, and face off.

Another event to expect is Let’s Dance! A party for migrants & friends by Migrant workers in Singapore. It’ll be held at the Esplanade Annexe Studio on Apr 16, at 1pm and 4pm.

In this showcase, Singapore-based migrant workers from a myriad of professions and countries will share their stories through a series of dance performances.


Audiences will also get to take home a goodie bag. PHOTO CREDIT: ESPLANADE


Following this, everyone is invited to take the dance floor and show off their own moves, accompanied by a special deejay set playing popular beats from the region.

Body Language (May 5 to 7)

Over the second weekend, audiences can catch two Asian premieres that 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.

The first production is a hybrid of contemporary dance and theatre titled Revisor.

By award-winning collaborators Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young, Revisor showcases Pite and Young taking on an archetypal comic plot inspired by a theatrical interpretation of Nikolai Gogol’s novel, The Government Inspector.

There’ll be two showtimes, one on May 5, another on May 6. Both will begin at 8pm, at the Esplanade Theatre.


Revisor was named best new dance production by the Olivier Awards in 2022 and now arrives in Singapore for its Asian premiere. PHOTO CREDIT: MICHAEL SLOBODIAN


Another work to expect is Come on In by Faye Driscoll. Designed as a space of gathering, visitors may choose a listening station, each featuring a soundtrack spoken by the artist herself. 

Driscoll’s voice offers a series of prompts similar to those she might give to a performer: a guided meditation unfolds with unanswerable questions about self and other, body and world, leading listeners through a choreographed experience into a private dance.

Visitors may also choose to observe as the installation transforms and finds fellow visitors becoming a series of slowly moving sculptures.


This presentation in Singapore marks its first installation outside of the United States. PHOTO CREDIT: BOBBY ROGERS, IMAGE COURTESY OF WALKER ART CENTRE


Come on In will be presented at multiple timings across the three days, at Esplanade Annexe Studio.

CAN – Connect Asia Now (Oct 13 to 15)

Staying committed to supporting local and Asian dancemakers, the third weekend is dedicated to spotlighting contemporary dance works by Asian dance artists.

CAN focuses on distinct voices and creative impulses from the region.

FL/OW – The FULL OUT Weekend (Dec 1 to 3)

An expansion of the previous successful editions of FULL OUT! performances, FL/OW – The FULL OUT Weekend invites street dance lovers to experience the form’s diverse facets through performances, battles and workshops with some of the best local and international artists.

Ballet by the Bay (Mar 2024)

Ballet lovers can look forward to world-class productions of classics and neo-classical works during the final weekend.

Through the ballet presentations, Esplanade hopes to introduce new perspectives on this celebrated form, and also pay attention to diversity, including female leaders in ballet. 

Ticket sales and registration for EveryBody and Body Language are now available.

More information about the programmes for CAN – Connect Asia Now, FL/OW – The FULL OUT Weekend and Ballet by the Bay will be announced at a later date.

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