The Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT) was founded in 1988 with seven dancers by Goh Soo Khim and Anthony Then. The Company has since developed into Singapore’s premier professional dance company comprising of 37 professional dancers. In 2002, SDT was honoured to have been given the opportunity to grace the official opening of the Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay with the opening performance of Boi Sakti’s Reminiscing the Moon.
A decade on, SDT continues to have the privilege to perform in a world-class performing arts venue, exhilarating audiences with a myriad of repertoires. In the course of each year, the Company performs five to six seasons, with three full ballet performances at the stage of Esplanade Theatre. One of the highlights of the Company’s performance season each year would be the widely popular outdoor dance event - Ballet Under The Stars at the Fort Canning Park.
The Company’s repertoire ranges from classical to contemporary ballet, from renowned choreographers like Goh Choo San, George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, Jiri Kylian, Stanton Welch, Xing Liang, Val Caniparoli, Graham Lustig, David Dawson, Jorma Elo, Edmund Stripe, Adrian Burnett, Edwaard Liang, Nils Christe, Toru Shimazaki and Christina Chan.
In 2009, Janek Schergen took over the post of Artistic Director of SDT. Under his leadership, the Company has made new achievements in the international and Singapore dance arena. Janek is also the Artistic Director of the Choo-San Goh & H. Robert Magee Foundation which oversees the licensing and production of Choo San Goh's ballets and the annual Choo San Goh Awards for Choreography.
SDT also actively reaches out to the public to create greater awareness of dance through outreach to schools with its Arts Education Programme, Dance Appreciation Series (jointly presented with Esplanade Co.), and One @ The Ballet, an initiative to help the public in gaining a better understanding of the different aspect of dance. SDT also created the Scholars Programme which is designed to be a pre-professional programme for student dancers who are seriously interested in the pursuit of a professional dance career.
Message by Janek Schergen, Artistic Director
As of 2013, Singapore Dance Theatre celebrates 25 years as a professional dance company. The first performance took place on 12 June 1988 at Victoria Theatre. That evening began with the perfectly titled work by Goh Choo San, Beginnings. The two founding Artistic Directors, Anthony Then and Goh Soo Khim, had an ambitious and visionary plan for establishing professional dance in Singapore and pursued it ambitiously. The performances you see this anniversary year are the admirable result.
SDT’s performances begin in March at The Esplanade with Coppélia. This charming classical gem of a ballet was first performed by us in 1995 and has made a lasting home in our performance repertoire ever since. In April, we will make our 4th trip annual to KLPAC in Kuala Lumpur to bring them some of the best ballets we added to our repertoire last season. It is a particular pleasure to be able to share our performances with them on a continuing basis.
At the end of May, SDT will celebrate its Silver Anniversary with a spectacular Gala at The Esplanade. We will feature some of the most wonderful works of SDT’s repertoire plus performances from invited guest artists from international ballet companies as a special addition to the evening. We are also planning an anniversary book to commemorate the special moments and dancers who have made SDT what it has become today.
Ballet Under the Stars returns this July with two weekends of performances at Fort Canning Park. The first weekend will feature works in a more contemporary vein. We have invited Expressions Dance Company, from Australia, to be our special partners in this collaborative evening with the work of choreographer, Natalie Weir. The following weekend we will present Giselle, in its complete staging, with all the classical beauty and drama of story at its heart.
Masterpiece in Motion returns to The Esplanade. This is where we offer international repertoire of the highest possible standard to our audiences. Nils Christe’s Organ Concerto and Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena, both from our own repertoire, will be presented. Completing the evening will be the exciting company premiere of George Balanchine’s consummate masterwork, Theme and Variations. It is one of the finest examples of classical ballet repertoire to be found anywhere in the world.
Our children’s season, Peter and Blue, will come back to us in September at Esplanade Theatre Studio with a “birthday party” edition. All of Peter’s friends from his previous adventures will come back to have a huge celebration with Peter and Blue’s Birthday Party.
Passages will now be re-launched as our contemporary season with the concept of featuring more home grown talent. We will continue to present our choreographic workshop pieces at Passages, but this year we will commission a new work from Singaporean choreographer, Christina Chan. Also, there will be a world premiere work by Kinsun Chan, a choreographer new to our repertoire.
2013 will conclude with our full-length production of The Nutcracker in December. The Nutcracker was first presented by SDT in a version created by co-founder, Anthony Then. It is fitting that we come back to this most famous ballet, which, in 1992, was the first full-length work ever presented by SDT.
Also, after 21 wonderful years of having our offices and rehearsal studios at Fort Canning Cultural Centre, we make a move to a new “state of the art” home at Bugis+ at the start of the year. Come see us there in open rehearsal monthly on Saturdays called One @ the Ballet or just stroll by us and look in the company’s windows to see us working in preparation for our seasons on stage. What a tremendous journey these 25 years have been!
Singapore Dance Theatre