M1 Contact Contemporary Dance Festival brings brand-new and distinct dance works in its 9th edition. At the same time, it establishes itself as a critical partner of festivals around the region and internationally – opening a network of platforms for artists to collaborate across countries and showcase new choreography.
This year’s festival starts 9 June and ends 5 August, not the usual dance marathon that leads the audience jogging from one performance to another in the space of a few weeks. Alas, we can take a breather in between shows, have a meal, join one of the many workshops and dance classes and hang out after the shows by Marina Bay.
The festival is subdivided into six different platforms, presenting works across the Esplanade Theatre Studio, Outdoor Theatre, as well as Goodman Arts Centre. Presented by T.H.E Dance Company and under the artistic direction of Kuik Swee Boon, the Festival is moving forward with a younger generation of dance makers curating and choreographing the different platforms of the festival.
Earth presents T.H.E Dance Company two new dance pieces, on a double-bill where East meets West. South-Korean choreographer Kim Jae Duk returns to Singapore to create another work in the company while dance-duo Humanhood returns to the festival, this time – choreographing a new piece, ‘the work reverberates in the style of Humanhood’s fluid movements and symbiotic choreography.’ (15-16 of June)
Dance at Dusk returns to the festival for the second time, taking over the outdoor Theatre at Esplanade with works adapted from T.H.E’s main and second companies’ set against the beautiful backdrop of the financial district and Marina Bay. These performances are free of charge and last year attracted thousands of people to the main arena (22 – 24 June).
Chiew Peishan and Liu Wen-Chun take the lead in DiverCity in an extensive creative process and collaboration with dramaturg Neo Kim Seng finishing with the presentation of ‘Should I Kill Myself Or Have A Cup Of Coffee?’ (19 & 20 July.)
In the tradition of the Festival, M1 Open Stage will be running in the same evenings as DiverCity but presenting a different stellar line-up of international artists each night. From Singapore Albert Tiong, Goh Shou Yi and Marcus Foo, all the way from Japan Mai Kubota and Ruri Mito, while from Israel the seductive choreographer and dancer Gil Kerer performs with Korina Fraiman. South Korea is heavily present throughout the festival with Ryu Jinyook, Kim Hyeayoon and Jung Logyee attesting the ties and efforts to make Singapore a global hub for contemporary dance in Asia. M1 Open Stage reaches out to Italy with Annamaria Ajmone, Spain with Chey Jurado, and USA/Taiwan with Tom Tsai.
Off stage, emphasises a transparent effort on dialogue between audiences and artists, presenting a younger generation of dance artists with new and bold ideas with nine peculiar voices from across Asia. (17 & 18 July)
Independent artist Hwa Wei-An, a sharp dancer with a striking style and an appetite for critical, out-of-the-box enquiry in dance presents a new work-in-progress at Asian Festivals Exchange in collaboration with Kim Ho-yeon and Lim Jung-ha from South Korea. The work will later travel to Seoul Dance Collections’ Global Connection platform guaranteeing the longevity of the ephemeral nature of dance performance which sometimes is short-lived.
Binary – International Artists Showcase (3 & 4 August) closes the dance festival with an impressive double bill of seasoned international artists. Shamel Pitts from Brooklyn presents ‘ Black Velvet’ and Astrid Boons (Belgium/Netherlands) presents ‘Vestige.’ Both artists have worked with the groundbreaking choreographer Ohad Naharin who keeps supporting dancer’s transition into choreographers across the globe, producing some of the most exciting dance work made in the last two decades.