Apsaras in dance: Indian classical Festival in Singapore June 8-16

Be ready for a classical feast for the eyes this fortnight with Dance India Asia Pacific (DIAP) 2019 - the eighth anniversary of a festival of Indian classical dance in Singapore.

Organized by Apsaras Arts, the DIAP 2019  comprises of dance training programmes, conference sessions, talks, book readings, film screenings and performances.

It attracts more than 2,000 dance lovers, performing artistes and dance teachers from Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Australia and Sri Lanka, each year. This will be the eighth edition of the dance festival in the Lion City.

Photo from the Inauguration of Dance India Asia Pacific 2018 at the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, featuring HE Jawed Ashraf, HCI Singapore, the Faculty team, partners and DIAP team. Photo courtesy: DIAP
Photo from the Inauguration of Dance India Asia Pacific 2018 at the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, featuring HE Jawed Ashraf, HCI Singapore, the Faculty team, partners and DIAP team. Photo courtesy: DIAP

“With a significant percentage of Singaporeans being local Indians, the country recognises the Indian performing arts as something that is part of the Singapore fabric,” said Aravinth Kumarasamy, Creative and Managing Director of Apsaras Arts.

The 10-day festival kicks off on June 8 with an inauguration ceremony at the Black Box at Goodman Arts Centre where Professor Steve Dixon, president of Lasalle College of the Arts, will be the guest of honour.

The 2019 edition also includes a dance heritage exhibition, titled ‘Credo of a Dancer’. Created by the Museum of Performing Arts, Chennai, India, in collaboration with the Balasaraswati Institute of Performing Arts, this will be an archival exhibition on dance legend T Balasaraswati, one of the foremost exponents of the Bharatanatyam style of classical dance in 20th century India.

The exhibits are drawn largely from the archives preserved by Balasaraswati’s family, students, supporters and chroniclers over the decades.

HE Jawed Ashraf, Indian High Commissioner to Singapore will launch the special exhibition at 1pm on June 8 at Block O, Goodman Arts Centre, in the presence of special guests Ms Santha Bhaskar, recipient of Singapore’s Cultural Medallion Award and Mr Keenie Ting, Group Director of Museums, National Heritage Board.

The event, which began as a spin-off of the UK edition, has gained widespread popularity amongst the Singapore arts community since its inception in 2011.

Created by Milapfest, the UK's Indian Arts Development Trust, Dance India is a dance education programme designed for students, teachers and performing artistes of Indian classical dance.

See Also: DIAP2018: Fireside chat with Padmashri Dr Vyjayanthimala Bali

Anandavalli Photo courtsey: Dance India Asia Pacific
Anandavalli Photo courtsey: Dance India Asia Pacific

Over the course of the festival, renowned dance experts, scholars and choreographers including Aruna Mohanty (India), Dr Sunil Kothari (India), Rama  Vaidyanathan and her ensemble of dancers (India), Mohanapriyan Thavarajah (Singapore) and Anandavalli (Australia) will be visiting Singapore as faculty members for lectures and performing artistes for demonstrations.

Week-long full-day training programmes will be offered to students, professional dancers, dance teachers and dance researchers, such as:

  • Bharatanatyam Dance Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced courses
  • Kathak Dance Foundation and Advanced courses
  • Odissi Dance Choreography Master Class

The DIAP2019 Awards Ceremony on June 14 at Esplanade Theatre Studio will honour artistes who have dedicated their lives to dance. Ms Anandavalli, who hails from Sydney, Australia will be receiving the lifetime achievement Natya Aacharyamani Award while Mr Mohanapriyan Thavarajah from Singapore will be receiving the Bharatha Kala Mani Award 2019.

A special new award, instituted in memory of the founder of Apsaras Arts and Singapore’s dance legend, the Neila Sathyalingam Memorial Award will be given to Ms Seema Hari Kumar.

Ms Indranee Rajah, Singapore’s Second Minister for Finance and Second Minister for Education, will be the guest of honour with HE Jawed Ashraf also attending.

Tushaar Kuthiala
Tushaar Kuthiala – Associate Editor

Tushaar has extensive experience as a journalist and in founding two start-up newspapers. He has developed editorial models for both copy and content, and has written several articles, news reports on a wide range of topics. He is a graduate of St. Stephen’s College and earned a post-graduate diploma in TV Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai. He has worked as a special correspondent based in New Delhi with Daily World, an international media organisation. 


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