Dances of Singapore. A comparative study.contents
IntroductionGlimpse of SingaporeChinese Lion DanceBalletBhangswamSamanTapBharatnatyamGlimpse of IndiaConclusion
INTRODUCTION Dance inIndiacomprises the varied styles ofdancesin the country. As with other aspects ofIndian culture, different forms of dances originated in different parts of India, developed according to the local traditions and also imbibed elements from other parts of the country. Sangeet Natak Akademi, the national academy for performing arts, recognizes eight distinctive traditional dances asIndian classical dances, which might have origin in religious activities of distant past.Folk dances are numerous in number and style, and vary according to the local tradition of the respective state, ethnic or geographic regions. Contemporary dances include refined and experimental fusions of classical, folk and Western forms. Dancing traditions of India have influence not only over the dances in the whole ofSouth Asia, but on the dancing forms ofSoutheast Asiaas well
Dance in Singaporecomprises traditional and contemporary forms.It has a relatively short history of creative, artistic and professional dance. The range of dance reflects the cultural diversity ofSingapore. There is a consistent struggle between the rejection and acceptance of western dance influences and the re-emphasis of ethnic cultures from time to time. The Singapore identity through dance is a challenging one often on an outward looking perception rather than the acceptance and recognition of indigenous/original creativity. Notable non-profit artistic dance legacy includeECNADand Arts Fission Company.Over the last ten years, there has been an emergence of several visual and performing arts groups in Singapore with local and international companies offering both traditional as well as modern performances. There are several well established arts groups, which include the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Chinese Orchestra, Singapore Dance Theatre, Singapore Lyric Opera, Singapore Repertory Theatre and Theatre Works.The annual Singapore Arts Festival has become extremely popular and allows international and local artists to perform in a wide variety of events including music, dance and theatre.
A glimpse into the diverse lands of Singaporean danceHere we have some of the most popular performing arts in Singapore
Chinese Lion DanceThe Chinese in Singapore believe that the lion brings forth good fortune. The lion dance is usually performed on occasions such as the opening of buildings and during the Chinese New Year festival. There are two main forms of the Chinese lion dance, the Northern Lion and the Southern LionFACT: The Chinese lion dance is often mistakenly referred to asdragon dance. An easy way to tell the difference is that a lion is normally operated by two dancers, while a dragon needs many people. Also, in a lion dance, the performers' faces are only seen occasionally, since they are inside the lion. In a dragon dance, the performers' faces can be easily seen since the dragon is held on poles.
BALLETBalletis a type ofperformance dancethat originated in theItalian Renaissancecourts of the 15th century and later developed into concert danceform in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread, highly technical form of dance with its ownvocabulary based on French terminology. It has been globally influential and has defined the foundationaltechniquesused in many other dance genres. Ballet requires years of training to learn and master, and much practice to retain proficiency. It has been taught in ballet schools around the world, which have historically used their own cultures to evolve the art.TheSingapore Dance TheatreisSingapore's nationaldance company, founded in 1988 by the late Anthony Then andGoh Soo Khim. It made its debut in June 1988 at the Singapore Festival of The Arts and received its first arts patronage by the then-Deputy Prime Minister, MrOng Teng Cheong.Its humble beginnings started with a group of seven ballet dancers in a modest dance studio on the second storey of a creaky colonial bungalow onKilliney Road. This studio space was shared by the Singapore Ballet Academy and the SDT's dancers could only train in between the Academy's rehearsal schedules on normal days
BangsawanThis is form of Malay opera that usually depicts Malay myths or tales of love and treachery in the form of dance.
Saman(or dance of thousand hands) is one of the most popular dances inIndonesia. Its origin is from theGayoethnic group fromGayo Luesand is normally performed to celebrate important occasions.The dance is characterized by its fast-paced rhythm and common harmony between dancers. These two elements are key figures of Saman, and are among the reasons Saman are widely known and practiced in Indonesia, beside being relatively easy to learn.The dance is done by a group of people forming a line accompanied by a music player. Originally, the group was exclusively male, but it is now more common to see female Saman dancers.
Tap danceis a form of dance characterized by using the sound of one's tap shoes hitting the floor (or other surfaces) as a percussive instrument. As such, it is also commonly considered to be a form of music. Two major variations on tap dance exist: rhythm (Jazz) tap and Broadway tap. Broadway tap focuses more on the dance. It is widely performed as a part of musical theater. Rhythm tap focuses more on musicality, and practitioners consider themselves to be a part of theJazztradition.The sound is made by shoes with a metal "tap" on the heel and toe. Tap shoes can be bought at most dance shops. There are different brands of shoes which sometimes differ in the way they sound.
BharatanatyamThis old classical dance originates from India and is a combination of music, expression and rhythm accompanied by graceful and statuesque poses.
A glimpse into the world of rich and ethnic cultural dances of Bharat, India. Heres a few of the most prominent , well known dances
BharatanatyamDating back to 1000 BCE,Bharatanatyamis a classical dance from the South Indian state ofTamil Nadu, practiced predominantly in modern times by women. The dance is usually accompanied by classicalCarnatic music.Its inspirations come from the sculptures of the ancienttemple of Chidambaram. It was codified and documented as a performing art in the 19th century by four brothers known as the Thanjavur Quartetwhose musical compositions for dance form the bulk of the Bharatanatya repertoire even today. KathakaliKathakali (katha, story;kali, performance) is a highly stylized classicaldance-dramaform which originated fromKeralain the 17th century.This classical dance form is particularly noticed for dancer's elaborate costume, towering head gear, billowing skirts, and long silver nails. Recent developments in Kathakali over the years include improved looks, refined gestures and added themes besides more ornate singing and precise drumming. Kathakali is performed regularly at festivals in temples, at cultural shows for connoisseurs and also at international events, occasionally in fusion dance experiments. KathakOriginating from north Indian states, in ancient Indian temples Brahmin priests (pandits) used to narrate the stories of gods and goddesses through dance, they were known as ((kathakar)) and the dance came to be known as "kathak". Kathak traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancientnorthern India, known asKathaks, or storytellers.]Its form today contains traces of temple and ritual dances, and the influence of thebhakti movement. From the 16th century onwards it absorbed certain features ofPersian danceand Central Asian dance which were imported by the royal courts of theMughal era. There are three major schools orgharanas of Kathak from which performers today generally draw their lineage: the gharanas ofBenares,JaipurandLucknow.
KuchipudiDating back to 2nd century BCE it is a classical dance from the South Indian state ofAndhra Pradesh. Kuchipudi is the name of a village in the Divi Taluka of Krishna district that borders the Bay of Bengal and with resident Brahmins practicing this traditional dance form, it acquired the present name. The performance usually begins with some stage rites, after which each of the character comes on to the stage and introduces him/herself with a dharavu (a small composition of both song and dance) to introduce the identity, set the mood, of the characdter in the drama. The drama then begins. The dance is accompanied by song which is typically Carnatic music. The singer is accompanied bymridangam, violin, flute and thetambura. Ornaments worn by the artists are generally made of a light weight wood called Boorugu SattriyaSattriya, or Sattriya Nritya (Assamese: ), is one among eight principal classical Indian dance traditions. Where as some of the other traditions have been revived in the recent past, Sattriya has remained a living tradition since its creation by the founder of Vaishnavism inAssam, the great saintSrimanta Sankardeva, in 15th century Assam. Satriya dance performance at Guwahati Rabindra BhawanSankardeva created Sattriya Nritya as an accompaniment to theAnkia Naat(a form of Assamese one-act plays devised by him), which were usually performed in the sattras, as Assam's monasteries are called. As the tradition developed and grew within the sattras, the dance form came to be called Sattriya Nritya. Today, although Sattriya Nritya has emerged from within the confines of the sattras to a much wider recognition, the sattras continue to use the dance form for ritualistic and other purposes for which it was originally created circa 500 years ago.It also has recently become one of the Indian Classical Dances.
Conclusion Singapore may be a young nation but it has a rich multi-cultural dance heritage that stems from the diverse ethnic and racial groups that make up the population. Traditional dances of Singapore usually refer to popular forms of Chinese, Malay and Indian dances with roots originating from their fore-fathers homelands. With roots in Indonesia and Malaysia, dominant traditional Malay dances include the mesmerizing Joget, Asli and Zapin. Besides the revered and popular Indian traditional Bharatanatyam, Bhangra (a song-music-dance tradition from Punjabi) is also fast gaining popularity in Singapore. Tourists can also enjoy traditional Chinese dances which are usually a fusion of various elements from ethnic Chinese folk dances, ballet, modern dance and Chinese martial arts in Singapore. Budding dancers may seek out various dance associations and studios located around Singapore to learn some moves before moving on to their next destination. Last by not least, the extremely popular annual Chingay Parade and the Singapore Arts Festival will also showcase a stunning array of vibrant traditional dances along with contemporary dances, so dont miss them!